The Three Gorges...Cultural Trip

Written by Nov 19, 2005 05:11
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Three Gorges...

Cultural Tour to The Three Gorges

The scenery was spectacular.
I bought a couple of books about the Gorge and the Dam project so have spent this morning reading about where I have been and learning all about this amazing river that I have now seen.
The start was by expressway through a very prosperous rice country all in water, and totally deserted, because of the vacation.
Large houses dominated, and I worked out that each house had so many paddy fields and the tiny cottages had just one or two. The houses here, all over the total area travelled, are exactly the same..white rectangles of either two or three stories..some looking more prosperous than others but all exactly the same. Tried to find out whether they are government owned/built with no success, but it fascinated me that rich and poor live in the same dwelling basically and right next to each other.
(The houses were built by the Government and after 1990, houses and land are being sold to people who can afford to buy them.)
The lowest level is like 2 garages in size, and sometimes shops
are run at this level too.
Sometimes the top levels have no windows so I worked out these were the poorer tenants. or the houses were being lived in whilst being constructed.
After the water fields, there were fields which had some rice at the seed stage. Every so often an old man was cutting and arranging in piles of cut rice. He used a sickle.
Ploughing is done with a single buffalo and a plough and the man walked along behind in the mud. Very picturesque but I did not get photos as the car sped along at a furious pace and it rained steadily, so most of the shots I did get are very misty.
There are many tolls and toll gates..5 or 6 of 20 yuan a time...maybe the poor don't use tolls.
Excellent roads all the way. Got hopelessly lost in the first place and arrived late after asking directions, many times, and going through some spectacular mountainous scenery past almost the same houses, but with tiny gardens along the strips, and along the road. Planted cabbages, beans and herbs mostly and one tiny patch was a complete rice crop..all 10 metres by 1 metre of it.

Stayed in the mountains...overlooking water, then the next day went for a ride on a boat on the Yangzte. Spectacular scenery..just like the fiords of NZ actually...took many photos, but the weather was dull. At times, the rain actually ceased, but never for very long.
Went to an island and into some caves which freaked me a bit as I have a fear of caves ,and the interpreter did not understand what I tried to tell her. Grin!! The caves had some extraordinary carvings of dragons and a huge scorpion.
Another cave had maidens bathing and figures.

Then we went to another island and the others walked up the cliff to a cave where some dejected monkeys were tied in chains. I stayed below and talked to the dancers and bought toys.

The cultural performance was interesting..young people
did several dances to very loud playing of cymbals and a drum
accompanied by tooting of a horn and loud singing.
It was colorful and very jolly and here my camera gave up which was rather sad.

After lunch went white water rafting.
This is a fantastic maney making venture.
Tourists pay for the boat, then have to buy a cheap plastic poncho and
pants so 'they don't get their clothes wet.'
I refused to go as I
know there is no way one can raft without getting wet. My group took off shoes on my advice and bought cheap thongs and plastic shoes. Off they went, and I have two photos only... two to a rubber dinghy.
At the end..they were all soaking wet through and the traders were ready with cheap pull on pants and t shirts to sell to the wet, hopefully rich tourists. I laughed and laughed! What a racket! One japanese business guy looked extremely funny in his business shirt and tie wearing cheap stretchy,blue, windcheater type pull-on tight leggings and blue plastic sandals.
It was bitterly cold too but not raining.

The toilet is on the ground and sometimes two or three open toilets together. I am getting used to squatting and wonder how I would have gone when I had the troublesome knee at the beginning after my fall at the ferry Terminal at Hong Kong.

That night we stayed in a very luxurious hotel at Yichang.

I did enjoy the Three Gorges Trip.
It was a wonderful experience.

Maggi Carstairs

(Note: This would all be under water now with the flooding of the dams. You can see the photos I took on webshots: )

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