After some more dumplings and some noodles (massive meal for £1.50) we headed back to the bus and the ENTIRE way for 6 hours this annoying Chinese woman spoke so loudly into a microphone for the group of Chinese tourists in front. Rob didn't have any headphones so I think he was on the verge of going insane!
When we arrived at the boat it was surprisingly nice. We did an Egyptian Nile cruise a few years ago and the boat was very comparable with small but comfortable cabins, private bathrooms, western toilets (thank God) and an onboard bar with dance floor and karaoke machine (more on that later). We headed to the top deck for the view over the towns bordering the river....
After a few beers on the top deck and playing a few rounds of 'Presidents and Arseholes' which is an excellent game our guide taught us, we headed to our cabin looking forward to a lie in. Unfortunately, some genius had decided it was a great idea to play Chinese panpipe music throughout the boat as a wake-up call for people who really didn't want it at 6.30am until 7am. Following on from this we had exactly half an hours sleep before we awoke to a Chinese man looming over our bed brandishing bottles of water. We did manage to get back to sleep though and nearly missed the first gorge but when we did get to top deck the view was amazing and the gorges are really scenic.
For the rest of the day we lazed about on the deck taking in the scenery (very nice to have a day of watching the world go by) and playing some more card games. Me and the girls decided to partake in some pampering and got facemasks.
When getting ready for the 'liberal party' on the boat, I wanted to dry my hair so Rob went down to ask for a hair dryer. He replied with 'the woman needs to come down after washing her head'. Basically, the hair dryer wasn't allowed to leave reception so I had to dry my hair in front of a Chinese family in the lobby who thought it was funny to take selfies with me in the background. NOT COOL.
After getting ready, we all headed to the restaurant on board for dinner which was surprisingly decent. After that we went for drinks in the bar (sneaking in our pre-bought lager) and were greeted by a Chinese man in a string vest belting out some karaoke numbers.
Of course, after a few beverages and an impromptu purchase of a bottle of tequila between us, we all got caught by karaoke fever and sang a few numbers ourselves including classics such as Lucky by Britney Spears, Help and Hey Jude by the Beatles and Africa by Toto (there wasn't a great selection).
The night does get a tad hazy after this but from what we can remember there was a group Macarena, some befriending of Chinese locals including Emily's roommate Bonnie and some hideous singing.
The next morning was an early one with a 6.30am start (ouch) to disembark for the long day and night of travelling ahead (total: 30hours on two trains and two buses) to Yangshuo. On the way we visited the three gorges dam and following a very rocky bus ride I'm quite ashamed to say I lost some of the contents of my stomach in the dam.
We had a four hour break between a bus and a train and we found a Chinese cinema in some strange town that we were in. The only English film was Jurassic Park 3D and that killed a couple of hours. Note: in China, accepting a call mid-film, shouting, talking and throwing popcorn is all completely acceptable. After grabbing a pizza for the road, we got back on the bus to the station and continued our long journey......