|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.
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.
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.
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.
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
We got of the boat at Wanzhou, a
smaller but similar city as Wushan. Steep slopes from the water level up
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
Dragon dance, aerobics, and marching
This stair must have an elevation of 100
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.