|My tutors on board the Jin Jiang|
Then down to the lounge and the amazing discovery that nothing, I repeat nothing had been changed. The huge mosaic motif behind the stage area was as it had been since the first day the ship was commissioned: the carpet, the lounge seats, the curtains were all purely vintage Mariposa and reeked of Yankee opulence. Only the passengers and crew were so very different.
|JIN JIANG OF THE 90'S|
|MARIPOSA OF THE 60'S|
Where I paraded in impromptu fancy dress as a tramp, I was now entertained by a Chinese pianist of note and a Hong Kong comedian. Piano and mural were the same.
My dining companions in the foreign passengers restaurant were three others, all American. Four westerners amid a passenger list of Chinese Americans, Japanese, and mainland Chinese. I badly wanted to join the latter in their vast noisy dining room.
The smells and chatter of China pervaded the air, garlic, earthy loam, musk and the aroma of herbs and of life itself. The Jin Jiang made steady but slow progress, bare river banks gave way to old wooden house boats left rocking in our wake; then to shacks and low buildings, until the city itself began to emerge through a haze and with it came the clamour and complexity of urban life.