Tianjin (Beijing), China

Monday April 2nd, 2018


What I so enjoy about being on a cruise ship are never ending of images, both those of the mind, and those of the eye and at times a combination of both. For instance;

This morning as we were sailing for the port of Tianjin through a dense all encompassing fog, I decided to visit the Crow’s Nest. It was early morning , the lights were off and I had this beautiful gathering space to myself. Instead of siting in a comfy recliner, I walked forward towards the windows and leaned against a stanchion. Nothing except the forward running light was visible, until I glanced upward at the barely visible, fog cloaked, full moon! Shifting my eyes forward, there seemed to be the lights of a coastal city slowly coming into view, yet as I stood there, there appeared this hulking big, fully loaded, container ship! WOW, it was like a ghost ship sailing by on our port side, and as quickly as it appeared …. it was gone. A couple of minutes later I shifted my position to starboard, maybe twenty feet, and as I gazed up to look at the moon once more …. it too was gone! Reality or a dream?

Now for one of the eye captured, by the camera;

Throughout the Volendam we are blessed with beautiful floral sculptures such as this one gracing the entrance to the Ocean Bar dance floor. The florist uses dead branches painted starkly white with flowers with their stems nourished by attached water capsules. Magnificent!!

Now for my post for this day.

Our Excursion for the day as explained by our tour company; China Highlights:

The guide will pick you up in the morning, and escort you to Dule Temple, which will take 1.5-2 hours drive and will spend 40-60 minutes in sightseeing. Then will take 1 hours drive to Huangyanguan Great Wall and spend 1.5-2 hours in sightseeing. After the Great Wall there will be another 1 hour drive to Qing east Tomb and 1 hour sightseeing. At last guide and driver will escort you back to your cruise.

How did the excursion go?

Though our guide Tony and his driver Mr. Dom, we just a bit late, it was not an indication of the professional manner in which they conducted themselves during the next ten and a half hours.

After confirming with us, Tony and Mr. Dom, decided that it would be best to change the order for today. So for the next three hours we motored through countryside, villages and small industrial areas, via a combination of narrow farmland roads, mountain ‘twisters’, to very modern super highways.

And there it was; the Huangyanquan Great Wall, with a village nestled in the valley below. Though the visibility was not the best …. we were there, practically all by ourselves, compared to the way it was on our visit in 2007.

Because we were over 70 years of age …. admission was free!!!

While Barbara was focused on capturing images of this structural masterpiece, I took the opportunity to ask Tony more about his life, and his life situations, as consequences left him to be raised by his grandparents. I was impressed as how this he worked through the process and has turned out to be a fine, very accomplished, young man.

After almost two hours spent navigating our way up and down steep stone access ramps (stairs), we departed for a short drive to a local restaurant for a sumptuous typical Chinese lunch, though it was more like a banquet!. Tony and Mr Dom we surprised when we requested that they join us for this feast. Obviously not the usual protocol.

After a visit to ‘the Asian style facilities’ (WOW), we continued onward to the Qing east Tomb.

Because (quoting the brochure) Qingdongling is honored as the “Most innovative genius masterpiece of the humans” by the world heritage experts of the United Nations …. it would take more that a day to take in all it has to offer. Since we were on the edge of exhaustion, during the first part of the tour, the unanimous decision was made to abort and proceed to Dule Temple.

I felt that since the we were approaching the Temple closing hour, we should just get stared on our long drive back to the port and our cozy ship …. I was overruled!

Barbara and Tony dashed for the entrance before it closed – what they saw …. haven’t a clue, as I spent the time on the steps of a branch office of a national bank, listening to its intermittent burglar alarm calling for help!

Thankfully, MR. Dom and Tony found the most direct route back over hi speed (120 kph) super highways, as by the time we arrived, the orange sun had long set amongst the pollution of the western sky.

Tony Lee, your were an excellent guide.

Mr. Dom, your skill, and patience as a driver was a pleasure to experience, and there were times when ‘I felt your pain and frustration’ .

Jack W Cummings – Far East Adventure 2018

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