File photo of the ship named Dongfangzhixing (Eastern Star) which sank Monday night in the Hubei section of China's Yangtze River. (Photo/China Daily)
Wu Jianqiang, 58, and his wife had saved for months to afford their first long holiday. However, their trip of a lifetime will now forever be tainted by the tempestuous winds that caused the the ill-fated Eastern Star to capsize , and left Wu hospitalized with no idea if his wife is alive or dead.
THE LAST SUPPER
Together with six friends, Wu and his wife boarded a train in Tianjin on May 27 for the nine-hour journey that would take them to the eastern city of Nanjing, where they would begin their cruise along the Yangtze River.
Wu said he and his wife were delighted with their forth-deck cabin.
"It was so well-equipped. It had a wash room, a writing desk, and a locker. Our two beds were beside on either side of large sliding windows," he said.
Time seemed to fly as the couple basked in the beauty of China's longest river, which they watched drift past their cabin's large windows.
On the afternoon of June 1, the passengers were given the opportunity to explore the ancient battlefield of Chibi in Hubei Province and watch an opera performance.
"The tour guides asked us to return to the ship by 4:30 p.m., but the ship did not leave until 6:00 p.m., as some people were late getting back," he said.
He remembers the food that evening as the best served throughout the whole trip.
"There was plenty of rice, stewed fish, green bean, and fried tomato and eggs," he said. "My friend, we called him Old Wang, turned to me, smacked his lips together and said: 'I have still been hungry after the other meals, but this food is so good!'"
"I remember looking at my wife, she was also really happy, and who knows, that could have been the last meal we had together," Wu said, his voice breaking as tears ran down his face.
After dinner, the couple chatted with their friends on the top deck before retiring to their cabin to catch the seven o'clock evening news.
"The weather forecast said there would be heavy rain in Wuhan," he said,referring to the provincial capital of Hubei.
He recalled looking at the rain hitting the cabin's windows and thinking that at least the wind was not too strong.