25 July 2011

Cruising on the Yangtze

We just finished a week-long cruise down the world's 3rd longest river, the Yangtze.
The river is at it's low point, as indicated by the water line in the Three Gorges. This area was dammed over ten years ago, displacing over 1.3 million people.
The Three Gorges Dam is China's biggest engineering project since the construction of the Great Wall. It ranks as the world's largest concrete dam.
We took a day excusion to Huang Shan, the Yellow Mountain. The bamboo forests, granite peaks, and twisted pines were simply breathtaking.
The mists added to the ambiance, as did the padlocks young lovers lash to the chain railings as a symbol of their eternal love. Although we recently celebrated our 35 anniversary, we were without a padlock.
The ship's crew treated us to several shows -- by day they're waiters and cooks and in the evening they sing and dance.
We sailed downstream from Chongqing to Shanghai, passing a mix of newly built cities, terraced farming areas, and industrial development such as this coal port.
The Yangtze already transports 70% of China's shipping, and these boats under construction will add to the 2 million vessles currently licensed on the river.

We enjoyed a farewell dinner with fellow travelers -- two French women (one teachs in French Polynesia) and a couple from the UK (he operates a high-end whiskey packaging business in Shanghai and his wife is a retired physician). Gan bei! (Chinese Cheers!, literally "bottoms up").