Excursion on The Yangzi River

Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
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Trip End Jan 25, 2009


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Monday, April 3, 2006

The Yangzi River is China's longest river and at 6300km is the third longest in the world behind the Nile and Amazon Rivers. For this tour, we would venture between the towns of Fengjie in Sichuan and Yichang in Hubei. During the tour, we explored the three gorges, regarded as some of the great scenic attractions of China. It definitely rates up there amongst some of the best scenery I've seen on my travels. Amonst other things, the Yangzi River was a 'must see' during my time in China.

The dramatic scenery and waters of China's greatest river were inspirational to many of China's painters and poets, and the distinct rock formations and cliffs of the Three Gorges continue to inspire.

By 2009, when the mega-project Three Gorges Dam is completed, the gorges will be part of history, 1.5 million people will have been displaced and southwestern China will never be the same. It is for this reason that I prioritised visiting this region of the world at this time. The project started at the beginning of this decade, and the water is at an average depth of 156m. The water will raise to approximately 175m, thus washing away many of the low lying villages which, no doubt, will provide an additional tourist attraction in the decades to come. But I'm glad that I've had the opportunity to see the gorges in their natural state.

I was shocked to hear that the government is flattening several mountains to make way for elevated villages... whilst many people are being displaced to major cities (thus losing their livelihoods), many towns are being erected at higher grounds. We had an opportunity to view one massive town, which has been erected in the space of 2 years. If I ever come back to China, it will be interesting to see the progress made.

During the day, we hopped on and off many boats to view the gorges up close and the villages and towns along the Yangzi's banks. We also had an opportunity to see the three major gorges: Qutang, Wu and Xiling. During this journey, we travelled approximately 200km along the Yangzi. The boat ride was smooth and fairly enjoyable, and not too cramped. But I would so much prefer to be doing this cruise with a friend or partner... sharing a room with Bryan is not quite doing it for me. He is a very negative, bitter and pessimistic old man who is very difficult to share with. To some extent, he is affecting my whole attitude... it is so lucky that I have Rachel, Judy and Ari to laugh with, for they are making this tour.
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