Yangtze
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Yangtze
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Highlights of Yangtze River

 

April 1, 2000.  Our cruise initiated in Chongquing where we boarded our boat after dinner.   We fought our way through the porters who crowded us and grabbed at our luggage just so that they could make some money off of us.  The dock was quite rickety anyway so it made for an interesting boarding. 
Front View of our "Cruise Liner"Aft view of the Victoria Pearl at dock


This was the first cruise of the season so many of the crew were new. Some were practicing their English on us - their text books left a lot to be interpreted.  The boat was only half full (75 people instead of 150) which made it more comfortable for all of us.  There were all nationalities on board. We hooked up with several couples from the US: San Antonio and Los Angeles; and shared meals with them throughout the cruise.  

Across the River are old houses and MonasteryWaterfront with the cruise ships

 





April 2.   We spent the first night on the boat dockside at Chongquing. Early in the morning we take off down river. It is a cloudy day so our last images of the city are gray and smoggy.     


Last view of Chongquing as we cruise down the Yantgze

The Yangtze is China's longest river and the third longest in the world.  It originates in southwest Qinghai, moves through Tibet and seven Chinese provinces before emptying into the East China Sea north of Shanghai.  Our four day cruise embarks from Chongquing and moves downstream to Wuhan. 

Rational for the increased interest in cruising down the river is the fact that in 2003 the new Sanxia Dam (Three Gorges Dam) will be completed and the backup of the river water (135 m) will start to cause many of the existing towns and the major gorges to be flooded.   


River markers indicating flood levels
China has already undertaken major construction of new cities in anticipation of moving inhabitants of the lower banks to higher ground (+175m). Over 1300 cities that currently contain more than 1.3 million people will be underwater in less then ten years.  

China publicly uses this project as a means to showcase its intent on moving its country to alternative power sources besides coal.  In reality the amount of power to be provided by this dam will never be cost effective or satisfy the demand of its large population.

During our first day we stop at the major city of Fengdu. Historically this town is associated with the devil and demons and it is where numerous temples containing  sculptures of devils exist on the mountain. 

View Upriver from FengduCloser Look at Fengdu

Tower and Lift to the Ghost City

Town of Fendgu

There is a Ghost City situated above Fengdu and accessible by means of a chair lift. The Ghost City is so garish that it suggests an amusement park rather than a monument to the departed. 

 

Guarded Entry into the City of DeathMore Demons

Demons of the Ghost TownGhosts and Deamons

Interior of Ghost City TempleRecreated Temple of Ghost City



Through Entry in Ghost Town

Looking down from the Ghost City, the countryside is very lush and serene.


View from Ghost City down stream of YangtzeView Across River from Ghost Town

The Buddhist temple with its larger than life sculptures creates an uncomfortable aura to the site. Across the mountain is another temple "White Face of a Monk" which is built seemingly to be tumbling down the countryside.  


Entering Into the First GorgeOne of the new bridges constructed due to the river flooding


April 3.  We pass through the first and shortest (Qutang) of the famous Three Gorges for which the trip is known. Sheer walls and sharp rocks denote the danger that this region once brought to those moving through the canyons in earlier times.  Our view was limited due to the early morning fog or smog so we did not get a good of view of the cliffs.  

Abandoned House which will be Flooded


We stop a few miles down at Wushan for a tour of the Little Three Gorges.  Here we disembark from the cruise boat, take a bus through town and then board smaller touring boats for an afternoon excursion up the Daning River.  This trip into the smaller and more intimate river valley provided a view of China that we had not experienced previously.  

Boats used for tourists are important to this regionTourists and Livestock are moved along the river

Entering the Little Three GorgesMore of the Little Gorges River Valley

Type of Tourist Boats Used On Our Day TripYoung Boys Beg Money From Tourists

 


Young kids begging for moneyClassic river boat made out of local materials

The countryside was lush with neatly tended farms, animals and people working diligently tending their crops or flocks. We passed markets where people gather to sell or trade their wares or to pass them on to traders who would take them downstream on the Yangtze.  The water was clear and the air was clean- a first since we had arrived in China.

  Little Three Gorges FarmFarmers watched by a baby boy



Market Day on the Little GorgesLots of Trading and Selling of Goods and Produce

Block Houses with Truck Gardens are very commonFarmers tending herds and raising crops

Another group of tourists checking out the marketAncient Footpath constructed along the Gorges Wall


Geologic Formations side by side political markings
Stopping at one of the small river towns, we came upon a group of school children during their recess. They were very curious about the digital camera.
Children walking home from schoolChinese School Recess

 



Note the Red Bandanas on the ChildrenThey found us very curious



Upon returning to our boat, Jon and I crater in our first (and only) bout of sickness.  The boat parked in the town of Ziqui and we had a sleepless night.  


Looking down at our boat from Fengdu


April 4.  We are weak but we struggle up on deck to watch us pass through the second gorge (Wu).   The third and longest gorge is the Xiling Gorge which follows quickly after Wu.   Located at Sandouping is the site of Sanxia Dam which is our destination by bus to take us directly to the visitor's center.    

The dam site is a massive infrastructure. There are lean-to shelters constructed in the shadows of the concrete pours where workers are living.   This is a linear dam (not a compression arch) which spans the entire river.

Sanxia Dam site



Further down the river we enter the Gezhou Dam.  We head into Lock #3 and within 30 minutes we have been lowered 30 feet. Upon completion of the Sanxia Dam there will be 3-5 such locks along the river.  We continue our journey down river throughout the night.

April 5. We are scheduled to dock at Wuhan at noon and disembark. Upon arrival we dash for the airport and fly to Tunxi.  This evening we stay at the Tunxi International Hotel.  During dinner we spoke with several travelers who had just returned from Huangshan (the Yellow Mountains -our destination for the next day).  Although the president of the Congo was staying at the hotel, we did not catch a glimpse of him.   

  


 

 

 


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