March 24 - 29: Chongqing and The Yangzi River

We arrived in Chongqing very late on the night of the 24th of March. A convenient, airline-owned bus took us from the airport to about 3 km from our hotel. When we hopped off the bus, a cab driver offered to take us to our hotel for 30 yuan. Knowing that our hotel was not more than 3 km away, we refused his offer. We hopped in another cab and the driver said that he could take us where we wanted to go for 25 yuan, but he then refused to take us to our hotel because he said that the entire street was under construction and that he would not be able to take us there. He said that he would take us to another hotel that he knew of. Nancy insisted that we go to our hotel and that he use the meter. He refused, so we had to climb out of that taxi. Finally, we found a very nice taxi drive who took us to our hotel, the Chongqing Guest House, for the night. Using the meter, the fare was less than 10 yuan. Lesson number 1 of travelling in China: do not listen to cab drivers who claim that they can't take you where you need to go, and offer to take you somewhere else for a higher price.

After a good night's sleep, we headed out to find a boat to take for our Yangzi cruise trip. We opted to take a Chinese passenger boat instead of a foreign-run cruise ship. The cost difference was large and we thought that we could meet some Chinese people on the Chinese boat. After our plans were made, we spent the day walking around Chongqing. Unlike many cities in China, there are no bicycles in Chongqing because the city is extremely hilly.

Doing laundry in hotel rooms is a necessity when you're travelling for more than a few days. Nancy has a technique all her own for air-drying socks.

A Chongqing market. Super fresh meat and produce for sale.

A colorful street in Chongqing.
The Chaotianmen dock on the Yangtze River.
Some cruise ship being loaded for its voyage.
This is the Tour Ship of the East, the ship in which was our home for just over two days.

We boarded the boat that evening. Our first-class berth on our ship. We had two beds, a tv, a bathroom with a shower, and a few little lamps.

Our room was very dirty, as was the entire boat. The above photos were taken to demonstrate the condition of the carpet. Notice the dirt and mold along the edges. We nearly break out in hives just looking at these photos; we've done our best to forget that room ...

We awoke at 5 am in order to partake in this tourist attraction at Fengdu. The cheaper boats such as ours do not have the luxury of planning good times to arrive at tourist destinations, so we either had to get up very early in the morning, or go out late at night (when it was dark and not much was visible) each time the ship docked.

According to legend, crossing this bridge in three steps while holding hands is supposed to ensure that we will have a long happy life together. (hope Nancy understood the chinese saying correctly)
Here we go down the Yangtze River. Remind you of any movies? Any iceburgs?
The banks of the Yangtze ...
Vendors line the walkway from the dock to the town providing many needed services.
A town that we passed while sailing the Yangtze.
Relaxing after a busy morning of tourist attractions. Bryan spent most of the trip reading Charles Dickens' "Nicholas Nickelby".
More farmland. Seems every bit of arable land is used.
What's going on?! Our anchor was stuck to this other boat's anchor for over three hours! Everyone was a little stressed.
We arrive at the first of the famous three gorges (Sanxia). This one is named Qutang.

Beautiful, but a little hazy ...

Here's an image of the second of the three gorges. This one is named Wu.

We made a long stop so that we could tour the three little gorges, flanking the Daning River, a tributary of the Yangzi River. We all disembarked in a small town, took a bus that roared through the town and brought us to the dock where we boarded a much smaller boat.

Us in our boat. The view from the boat.
There was a shallow area where we disembarked and walked. The boats looked alot like salmon fighting their way upstream.
Nancy loves farmland.

The Three Gorges Dam Project is being undertaken at this time and is expected to be completely finished by 2009. It is located not too far upstream from Yichang, the end of our journey. When finished, the dam will be 1.3 miles long and 610 feet high. It will create a resevoir of 385 miles long upstream from the dam. When the dam is finished, the water level is expected to rise up 175 meters, thus totally engulfing the Three Gorges and with it thousands of acres of rich farmland, historic monuments, cities and villages. The entire route that we travelled will change immensely after its completion as entire cities will disappear. This will displace over around 1.5 million inhabitants.

Here's a hill showing how high up the water will go.
Check out the cave.



More beautiful scenery. We think that the above is a particularly nice photograph.



Life along the shores of the Yangtze ...

More awesome farmland along the way.

The streets near the Daning River.

Last glimpses of the Yangzi River before nightfall.

We went through the last of the three gorges, the Xiling Gorge, after night fall. Later that night, we passed the construction site of the Three Gorges Dam Project. It was hard to get a good feel for the scale at night, but it definitely looked huge.

Back to: Yangshou (Part II)

On to: Wuhan

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