Wuhan and the Yangtze River  

Not much to see here, the Crane Temple and we settled in the "Beidou" cruiser and departure for our cruise on the Yangtze.

First stop at Yueyang and went ashore to see the Yueyang Tower. Many of the sights we saw were of towers that were built on hills as look outs for enemies and most were built in the same manner. The water is very dirty and it seemed to get worse as we traveled up the river. Welcome banquet this evening.

The first thing we saw on the river was the new dam they are building. Chongqing will become the leading inland sea port of China after its completion. They someway are going to build a contraption to lift ships 60 stories to enter the man made lake, which will be 300 miles long. Millions of people must be moved, as all of the cities built along the river will be flooded. They are building new towns hundreds of feet above the old towns, sometimes on the tops of mountains with new roads and bridges hanging in the air like some mirage. It was especially spooky at night as we walked the decks of the ship and saw these sights in the moonlight.

Continuing the cruise through the upper Yangtze, we visited the 230-foot Gezhouba Dam at Yichang. With three locks and 21 power generators, it is currently the largest dam in China. We now begin our passage through the Three Gorges. First is the Xiling gorge, a long winding passage through rushing rapids, landmark caves, and temples. The next day we went through the Wu Gorge with the Twelve Peaks soaring above us.  Then we continued to Wushan and boarded small boats for the trip up the Daning River to see the Three Small Gorges that will be covered with water when the new 60-story dam they are building is finished. This river was the only clean one we saw and the scenery was fantastic. Fields of corn everywhere, I didn't realize so much corn was raised here.

The boats held about 80 people and there was a partition between the tourists and the oarsmen, two, on the front of the boats. They had a large ore that they used to direct the boats around the rocks and also around the steep curves in the river. I became friendly with the crew while waiting for the rest of the group to get back into the boat, gave them chewing gun and chatted away and secretively asked them if I could ride in front with them. They said, "Of course, as long as I held on and didn't fall out!" After everyone was on board and saw me in the bow with the best seat in the house, several tried to get out of the boat. The guide said "No!" Everyone has to stay in the same seats they had going up the river. I could stay in the front because the oarsmen said I could. This is another example of how to take advantage of a situation and have an experience no one else has. The trip back was fantastic, wind blowing in my hair, waves breaking against the bow and spraying over us as the oarsmen directed the boat through rough waters! Another great day! Back to the ship and we continued through the last of the Three Gorges, spectacular, sheer cliffs thousands of feet high, mist, and mystery.

We landed at Chongqing and took a tour but it rained and was told her sister city is Portland because it rains all year round.

Important! As the biggest dam in the world is being built, Chongqing will become the premier inland seaport. As we visited Chongqing, they were building huge high rises to accommodate the new inflow of products and businesses associated with shipping that will happen. Its sister city is Portland and we could see why, it was cool and rainy, they said it rained most of the time. Everything was very green but rather depressing. We visited a farmers market in the middle of town and the meat was cut and placed on wooden tables with flies and bugs all around. Rain fell through the center atrium of the building so mud was tracked everywhere. But the people were very friendly and would laugh at us as we checked out the produce. There were eggs piled up on the floor maybe two feet high!  There were all kinds of herbs and soups and thousands of packaged products in cellophane whose contents were unknown. Many sellers had their feet propped up and were snoozing. We wondered how they ever made any money; each vendor had around 15 square feet and was jammed on top of each other. The building was about six stories high and each floor was like that. I suppose it is like shopping anywhere, if you know what you want you usually know where to go to get it. A great experience!

Went to see the Pandas at the zoo but they were all ill but one and that one was asleep. The only thing we saw was its butt hanging out of a doorway! We had a farewell dinner on the boat and transfers to the airport. Then we took a short flight to Xi'an and checked in to the Hyatt Regency, 5 Stars, in the heart of the city.

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