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At Sea En Route to Hong Kong


Xi'an modern square

Our hotel in Xi'an

Pit #3 a work in progress, the command center

Lunch bathroom at Terra Cotta, you have choices

Noodle Warrior, he would have had a bow

Pit #1 Infantry soldiers

Entrance sign

Beer #9 at the Wyndam lobby bar

Entrance to Xi'an first night dinner museum

Had cocktails at the museum entrance

Shanghai building lights up at night

Hainan Airlines ticket Xi'an to Shanghai Pudong airport

Door

Night view from ship

Butlers all greeted returning passengers

North 30 degrees 32.008', East 122 degrees 56.182' Heading 151 degrees SE at 16 knots. 48 degrees and partly cloudy with China smog haze.

Since the last post we have:

1. Spent two days at sea mostly cold en route to Shanghai

2.. Entered the Huangpu River and motored up it a long way to Shanghai

3. Flew from Shangai to Xi'an (She-an) in central China

Huangpu River from Hainan Airline

4. Visited a museum and the Terra Cotta Warriors

5. Flew from Xi'an back to Shanghai, now en route Hong Kong

Nearing Shanghai bridge

Cold day at sea with ice cream served on deck

Two days at Sea from Ishigaki to Shanghai: Many many ships at sea surround us as part of the vast China fishing fleet trying to feed a hungry country. Don't know how there could be any more fish, otherwise uneventful.

Sailing up the Huangpu River to Shanghai: We were due to dock at the small pier in downtown Shanghai at 8:30 am. Most cruise ships have to dock about 30 miles away and bus it into town but we are small so docked right downtown amid the massive buildings of Shanghai including the second tallest building in the world the Shanghai Tower which is 632 meters (2073') tall. We were on deck by 6:00 am to see the sights of the river.

The ship was sounding its large horn a lot as traffic on the river was chaotic and robust with ships of all sizes going every which way. At one point we were up front on top and their was a lot of honking and we looked over the starboard side to see a barge so loaded it was within a few inches of sinking almost hit our ship! The Captain came out below us for a look at the barge and shook his head. He looked up at us then and said "oh boy it's just getting started".

Shanghai is what China calls a first tier city and holds 24 million people. It's somewhat divided into the inner ring, the middle ring, and the outer ring by ring roads. Condo's are only purchased, not rented. They do not own any land though, only the central government owns land. When you buy a condo new it has a 70 year lease on the land. Nobody seems to know what happens then. Buying a condo here means you buy a shell only and then have to add your own wiring, walls, plumbing, etc. Our tour guide Kiko grew up in a typical condo home of 117 square feet with 10 people in it. Shanghai Disneyland opened last year and is the 2nd largest in the world and vastly popular with the kids. Shanghai boasts a maglev train that travels at a speed of 431 kilometers per hour (267 mph). They have a large bus, subway, train system etc. We took a bus from the pier to Pudong airport in Shanghai for our flight to Xi'an on Hainan Airlines. This was an included trip to central China for all the world cruisers. Security is very tight at Chinese airports. They screen you walking in the door and bags go through x-ray at the door as well as a non metal detector wand that touches every bag. Then on to check in which was easy then real security where they go through everything and then step up on a stool and they metal detector wand each and every person. We had a 30 minute walk to gate 95 at this huge airport. Our Boeing 737-800 had two sets of 3 seats and was a bit cramped but the chicken rice lunch was almost edible. Our tour guides thought we might not like the plane lunch so they got us all Starbucks bag lunches. I looked at my sub like sandwich and it looked to me like it was raw bacon with potato salad and something? else. I ate it, starving. Three hour flight 850 miles to Xi'an good. Picked up local tour guide Sisi inn addition to whole way tour guide Kiko and got on another bus for an hour ride to the hotel. That night they had a dinner for us at a Xi'an museum that was nice. The real highlight was to be the next day Terra cotta warriors. The sight of the warriors was found by a farmer trying to dig a well during a drought in 1974. It is the burial sight of Emperor Qin (Ching) dynasty who was the first to unify the country 2,000 years ago. He had the warriors built for his tomb in 220 BC. Good old Ching had almost a million personal slaves and over 3,000 concubines. He was a busy fellow. Like many cruel dictators he came to a bad end during a peasant uprising. Ching was feeling ill and had many herb doctors try to heal him. If it didn't work he had them killed. The last one said here, try this new potion, mercury, it will fix you right up. Of course it killed Ching. After his death the peasants revolted and killed all of Ching's family and eventually the leader of the uprising started the next dynasty, the Han. During the uprising people set fire to the site of the Terra cotta warriors and that is why they are in poor shape and must be restored. Sisi tried to explain that there are three types of Chinese, Noodle people who eat wheat noodles and are skinny, rice people, and pancake people who are fat. Depends on the part of China where you live.

Xi'an is a second tier city, more like a village with only 3 million people but growing by leaps and bounds. there are literally thousands of high rise condo's going up everywhere. We saw vast train tracks leading to vast train stations with no trains. It's all waiting for future people in vast numbers. There are highways half done everywhere. Who every says Chinese growth is slowing has not looked at the landscape of China, it is in a word, vast. I predict Xi'an will be 30 million in a few years. They recently were building a new road to the new airport in Xi'an and found another several thousand warriors buried. I rode down the elevator with the Wyndham Grand hotel manager and he told me every excavation in Xi'an finds some buried artifacts. They mostly get covered up before somebody sees. We almost missed our flight from Xi'an, all 100 or so of us but we made it just before door close. Hard to understand whats going on in the plane when its all in Mandarin.

48 degrees this morning and there are so many Chinese fishing boats there can't be a fish in the sea.

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