14Cruising Down the Yangtze on the Snow Mountain
During the first weekend in November, three friends and I boarded a small cruise ship in Chongking, on the bank of the Yangtze River. Our ship, the Snow Mountain, set off downstream, a couple hundred miles west of the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, bound for the Three Gorges.
The Snow Mountain was small compared to cruise ships in the U.S. It accommodated approximately one hundred guests and about half as many crew members. Onboard were passengers from China, Germany, Denmark, the U.S., Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Our cruise director, Tom (a.k.a. “Tom Cruise Director”), was overly fond of dam jokes — “We’re going on the dam tour, which makes you the dam tourists!”
The small crew who ran the ship by day doubled as the evening’s entertainment. The waitresses were dancers, the chef demonstrated tai chi and the chief engineer played a three-stringed Chinese instrument. The absolutely lovely waitresses were rather unfortunately named for items on the bar menu, including "Ice Cream" and "Cappuccino."