Yangzi River




There is different ways to spell this rivers name, Yangsi, Yangse, Yangtze etcetera. Anyway, the most correct name is Chang Jiang, simply meaning the "long river". It's not just Chinas longest river but also one of the longest rivers in the world. Myself, I only traveled a small part of the river, from Yichang to Chongqing.









Boat tickets
So, the only point of going to Yichang was to get a boat ticket to Chongqing, a tour of about 500 kilometers upstream. Accidentally, me and a British guy I just had met, we met a travel agent on the street. He help us to get a hotel room and tickets for the boat tour. He was a interesting guy because he studied both English and German at the same time as he was working. Not many Chinese speaks German. That's also the reason why he approached us, he wanted some one to speak to. I paid 520 Yuan for four days on the river, third class. Not really cheap, but also not expensive.

Three Gorges
Between Yichang and Chongqing is a area called the Three Gorges,  San Xia. The  hilly landscape is known for it's beautiful sceneries and it's one of the most common themes in traditional Chinese painting. 

Dorm beds
Had a third class ticket with a dorm bed, a nice clean room with a shower. I shared the room with five Chinese people. No one spoke English, but anyway. We tried to communicate, laughed together, kept track of each other, and had dinner together. 



Three Gorges Dam
Just north of Yichang City is the new giant Three Gorge-dam being build. The worlds biggest dam project ever. Once finished in 2009 the whole gorge will be flooded. The water level will be increased with 40 meters.  Maybe the dam will help control the repeatedly flooded river system. It is also supposed to produce 10% of the nations power needs. Well, we will see about that...

Through the lockers
Already on the first day of the boat tour we went through the lockers at the Big Dam.  It was a bit disappointing as I never got the chance to see the actual dam construction as we went straight through the lockers. All I saw was just big concrete walls. We went trough five lockers in a row. Each had an elevation of 20 meters which made in total a difference of 100 meters in water level.



The blue haze
It's a bluish haze around the river system adding an magic touch to the sceneries. I had to wear sunglasses as the reflections from the water and mist created a strange unfocused light. Actually, when I think about it, the whole China seems to be hazy.

It is also quite cold inside the gorge. Due to the hills the sunlight don't reach the water level until the mid of the day or never at all.







Smaller Gorges
On the second day we moved over to smaller boats and sailed up one of the smaller gorges. It was the Shen Nong River. Nice sceneries. Besides, I saw two monkeys and three cranes on the riverside. Wow, almost a Chinese safari!








This is the hydrofoil that takes you faster up the river. Yichang-Chongqing in just eleven hours!

But what is this?










We spend an afternoon in the Wushan. It's another of those big river cities, lying on the slope of a hill. It's must be more hilly than San Francisco.

The building nearest the river side looks almost abandoned. This area will probably be drowned within a few years. But there still lives people. We took a cab into the center. At the central square they were preparing for celebrations of the National Day. Dragon dance, aerobics, and marching bands.  

We got of the boat at Wanzhou, a smaller but similar city as Wushan. Steep slopes from the water level up to the street level. Just to get of the boat there was a new built stair, around 40 meters high to climb with the full backpack. The chinese must be experts on building high stairs.


Preparing for celebrations at the Wushan central square. 
Dragon dance, aerobics, and marching bands.  

This stair must have an elevation of 100 meters. 
I hate stairs! But I am getting good on climbing them.



One of the frightening ghosts at Fengdu

The Ghost Temple at Fengdu
I did a special cruise to the a famous tourist sight, the Ghost Temple at Fengdu.

The cruise was very interesting but not in the way I had expected. It was not a tourist boat but a regular ship. The Boat was very crowded and dirty, specially the toilets. And no showers. As it was time for the National Holliday a lot of people was going home to their families. I met a lot of students on boat and they were eager to speak English. Most of them had never met a waiguoren, a foreigner.


The ghost palace. It's focusing on evil ghosts and stories 
from the daoistic hell. Didn't know there was a hell.









Early morning
The boat was supposed to reach Fengdu at 7 am, but at 4.30 a.m. they woke me up. Kwai, kwai! Hurry, hurry! and they just throw us of the boat.  Stairs of course. Maybe an elevation of 50 meters to reach the ground level. It was heavy rainfall and completely dark and me and some other tourists had to run with all package up the stairs and about one kilometer away to the village. 

Abandoned hotel
At the village we were left at an abandoned hotel. Obviously they wanted us to wait here at this hotel. We had no idea of what was happening. Anyway, at 7 o'clock the guide came, we had our breakfast and got the tour to the Ghost Temple. It all worked out as planed. But still in a terrible rain.

Paying tribute to the Buddha, hoping for better weather. 
Cost me 10 Yuan and it didn't work.


At the top at Fengdu was a Daoist Temple. Before entering you had to do "Putting the foot in the box"-thing.








Ghost town
The whole Fengdu is actually a real ghost town. Kind of spooky place. All the buildings seems to be abandoned, just empty shells, and the street vendors is here only here to serve the tourists. Of course, this place is going to be drowned within some years.







 More ghosts.