Once again, the Fiery Filly found herself packing. Well, she never really unpacked, but her saddlebags were rearranged and she was on the move again to her final destination within the Dragon’s Lair. This time, she was travelling with Monkey and instead of flying, they were going to ride on a boat up the Great Yellow River.
Gingerly Filly boarded the boat. There were so many people who were on the boat that they were everywhere. Monkey went before her and at times angrily shouted at people to make way for the Filly. After a time, they made it to the Filly’s stall. Monkey made sure Filly was comfortable and then, like before, disappeared and Filly was alone.When I arrived in Shanghai, I was put up for two nights with my interpreter and then we boarded a ship going up the Yangtze River to the city of Wuhu – a three day boat ride. The boat I rode on was very similar to the one in this photo:
As you can see from this photo, people are everywhere. I quickly realized that if such a boat were to undergo a disaster, there would literally be no way to know how many people died because there was no way to know just how many were actually on the boat. Once all the cabins had been filled, there were tickets sold for stairs, so the stairwells were filled with people. You wouldn’t be able to escape if there had been a disaster.While I was afforded a cabin upon this boat, it was by no means a cabin like one would have on a Princess Cruise line. This cabin was minimal in accommodation and sparse in furnishing. I was told to stay in the cabin unless Eugene came to get me, because the stairwell people didn’t have the same appreciation for foreigners as did he. I had begun to notice that people would stare at me, but I hadn’t really paid that much attention to it. Especially in the city, because it wasn’t something that happened everywhere I went. I would learn that was to change. And not everyone who saw me would be happy to greet me.
What one must understand about the People’s Republic of Mainland China is that they have been isolationist for MANY hundreds of years. There are some peasants in smaller villages who could go their entire lives, even now, without seeing a foreigner. In those more backwards areas, anti-foriegn sentiment was a strong thread, woven into the fabric of the people during the cultural revolution.
I was a foreign guest. Unlike the other teachers who had come, I did not have an English degree. My degree was in broadcast journalism. Therefore, without realizing it, I was under higher scrutiny because of my perceived occupation. Journalists were not highly looked upon, even now. To them, journalist was just under the occupation of spy. I believe because I represented expression and the Chinese aren’t as keen to endorse such freedom, as seen recently with internet search engines and search parameters under scrutiny questioning the freedom of thought and the ability to question authority. And anyone who enters into the country is under surveillance. If you don’t think so, that is only because you aren’t aware of it.
You will begin to notice in the photos, that the background is always white or yellow, depending on the weather. That is due to the high amount of pollution in the air. The sunsets are literally yellow, like sulpher. The Yangtze itself was a dull yellow-gray. It is considered one of the most polluted places on earth. I understand they have attempted to change this, but it will take many years to reverse what has already occurred.We passed under the Nanjing Bridge on this trip and then continued forward towards Wuhu, past the Anqing Pagoda
and eventually arrived in the Port of Wuhu.
I had finally come to the end of my journey. Or was it just the beginning…..?The boat pulled into the small city port of the City Under the Moon in the Dragon’s Lair. Monkey was soooo excited. He had not seen the City Under the Moon for 2 years and his wife and baby were waiting for him. Filly left her stall and headed for the barn that was to house her for the next year. When she arrived, the animals already in the barn were there to welcome her – a MidWestern Buffalo, an English Mare and a Texas Appaloosa Mare. These were to be her companions for the next year.