Today was the start of the cruise down the Yangtze. First, we had to get from Chengdu to Chongqing - a city about 350 kms away. As we had booked the cruise as a tour, they threw in the ride to Chongqing (on the bus though). We were picked up at 9:30, and taken to the bus station (well more of a back street really). We were last on so were up the back. He took off after 5 minutes (even though the bus wasn't full) and drove to the outskirts of town. We parked here, waited and then were told to go into another bigger coach (obviously margins are tight so load factors are important!). The coach still wasn't full so we went via another town on the way to pick up more passengers. At this point we wished we had just made our own way to Chongqing - nothing is ever for free! The bus eventually got there - he speeded up when full. We arrived in Chongqing where we were to be met - nobody there. A quick phone call, and 5 minutes later a lady appears with a sign of my name and directs us to our own bus. We get to the tour office to sort out tickets - we find we have another hour to kill. We needed to eat so dashed up the road to find a place with nothing in English - when we asked what there was, were taken to a tank of carp. Eventually, we got something by going through the phrase book. The meal came to 42 yuan with beer (£3.40) - and we were just about to go on a 5 star luxury cruise.We went back to the tour office, where a man with a bamboo pole was there with our bags attached. The pole went over his shoulder and off we went. There were lots of similar porters carrying stuff to the ship - the scene was like something out of the 19th century with Chinese coolies. We got on board the boat and watched the river traffic - very colourful in the dark with all the buildings and ships lit up.