Traversing the East China Sea is probably not on everybody’s to-do list.
Although it is probably on the list of the Chinese and Japanese so they can park themselves on the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands with signs of protest. Uninhabited islands are perfect for a good fight.
But for us Americans on an Italian cruise ship, this trip was merely a way to escape China and explore a new place during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
However, we failed to consider that 90% of our fellow passengers would in fact be Chinese.
And so our cruise was a little out of the ordinary.
Congee and stinky tofu for a midnight snack. Rows of empty pool chairs on a sunny deck. Jostling for access to the open buffet. Land excursions dedicated exclusively to shopping malls. A Michael Jackson impersonator show packed with camera-wielding admirers. Smoking everywhere, especially in non-smoking areas.
The list goes on.
But we didn’t care. We were out at sea, out of the city, loving life (and cocktails). And finally, we were in groups and tours exclusively for Westerners.