Fifty-Five The Journey Goes on to Yichang

  

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The VIP lounge is a great idea. We have a chance to relax on leather couches and many can catch up on our sleep. The constant drone of announcements keeps interrupting the relative quiet of the space. I left the lounge for a while and walked around. I wanted to find a cup in which I could make my coffee in as we are going to be doing this a couple of more times. I found a cheap one that closes securely. I think it will be good enough for my purpose and cheap enough that I won’t regret throwing it out. The station is relatively large. There are many shops selling virtually the same thing the only difference being the location of the products and the price. I did find a shop a bit out of the way that I suspect was a bit cheaper. There are also restaurants and little kiosks selling a variety of food and products. It was good to explore a little bit. There will be time to sleep when I get on the train. 

  

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We are traveling on one of the fastest trains in China. The speeds reach 250 to 300 km/h and the fields roll past us at a great pace. We are passing through a wide valley that is farmed extensively. You can see the farmers tending to their crops their round triangular bamboo hats contrasting with the green surroundings of the green foliage. The rice fields are pools of water that stretch far out into the distance. It looks like this is a productive valley. 

  

Tiredness has left me now. I am just starting out the window mildly listening to the conversations around me. Most people are sleeping while the train keeps rolling along the tracks. We should be there at around 1230 and then it’s a taxi ride to the hotel.

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The mind drifts and analyze the past and the future while firmly here and now. The speed and the scenery bring about romantic notions of what I want life to be. Are there regrets? Not really just hopes that things could have turned out differently. Wishing doesn’t make it so and manipulation is not really the way to go either. I have tried to suppress such thoughts as much as possible. I want the slate to be as clean as can be. I have roots in many places now but I want a seed and watch it grow. The countryside here is beautiful. Peoples lives may appear simple and quaint. Tending to the fields in tune with the seasons and living out a peaceful existence that may be laboured but healthy. There is no way I’ll have a life like that as it’s lived in the confines of a city with abstract concepts put into form. My hands are callused not from labour but weights used for excercise. Those are receding as I go further along on this trip. My landscape is not nature but buildings and people contained within it. The buildings here with their simple shapes make me think of that life and of the way I navigate through it. I should be greatful that I have seen such variety and that within these confined spaces there is space to explore and create more of what really holds me there; interest. Without something to fascinate and the feeling of purpose to anchor me the roots are weak and the shoots that grow easily swayed by the passing wind. These may scatter without another element in this equation fertilizer. The active part of farming the tending of the crop in order to make it grow into the best that it can be. It is not just the individual but the community around them that determines that success. Each has a role in every character and nuance of the whole metaphor.

  

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I took a nap after we had something to eat and the small tour of our immediate surroundings. The taste to price ratio was extremely high with this meal although I didn’t get exactly what I wanted from the menu. They ran out of beef. 

  

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It’s getting close to bedtime actually it is bed time. Tomorrow morning the day is starting really early at seven thirty. We are going to visit the Three Gorges Dam on a boat and it’s Norway Day. A couple of the girls are really excited for it so we will be along for the ride with them as they celebrate their national holiday. 

After my nap we were supposed to meet up at seven but that got pushed back until eight. We were meeting up to go and have another meal. They were barbecued skewers of beef and pork as well as some oysters. There is a market close to us along a road. Since I had an hour I decided to go for a walk along the rivers edge. There is an impressive bridge there that just beackoned to be photographed. I walked for a half hour in one direction to make sure I could get back in time. 

The sun was setting although I couldn’t see where due to the mist in themountains. There were a lot of people there doing the same thing walking and hanging out. The river is a central point of the city and the grounds around it are manicured especially those beside the road. I felt like a celebrity sometimes as people keep taking pictures of me. The people are friendly. 

  

Walking back I climbed up to the walkway. The climb up from the riverbank is along what once was used as a flood barrier. Since the dam has been built that is no longer needed but it remains as a sign of what once was. I saw some people dancing in a line and the sound of what I thought were firecrackers but it was people with whips. I was watching this old man spin the whip around letting off a satisfying sound. He invited me to try it and being a beginner it didn’t go too well at the beginning. I hit myself a coue of times in the head but I did get the hang of it eventually with the man’s tutelage. There were big groups dancing further down the road in the park the video will follow later. 

Once I got back to the hotel we soon left to have our meal. It was pretty cheap and we had fun all talking together at our table. The food wasn’t he greatest but as a late night snack it was alright. The night finished off with some card tricks and a game of Pig that I lost. 

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