We immediately left Chongqing that late afternoon and cruised down the Yangtze River, which is considered good luck in Chinese culture. This is the longest river in China and the third longest river in the world. It begins in the mountains above Tibet and has 700 tributaries that feed into it. It travels east over 3,600 miles to the sea.
Last night, all night long, we heard lots of ships moving past us on the river. We sat on our balcony and watched all kinds of boats and barges pass by. There is much commerce on this river.
When we got up, we moored near the city of Fengdu. This is known as the ‘ghost city’ because it is mentioned in two ancient stories about the underworld. They said that in the old days some ships would not moore here because of this superstition.
Some people took an excursion this morning to see a temple up on top of a mountain. Our guide warned us that it required a lot of walking and over 500 stairs.
Both Chuck and I and all of the Georgia Tech group decided not to do it. Our legs are weary because we walked about 5 miles a day on this trip. It cost 300 yuan to do this excursion, about $40. Chuck said he would pay them 300 yuan not to do it.
There is a doctor on board running the spa; and he specializes in Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, acupressure, and other methods. I have had both acupuncture and acupressure done in the state, somi went to see him this morning, My shoulder bothered me the entire trip. I hurt it moving all the lawn furniture etc. during preparations for hurricane Hermine.
It was a great acupressure massage, and afterword he did a short demonstration aboard ship for many passengers to show them how this form of Chinese Medicine works. He told us about the main, collateral, and minor channels of Qi (energy) in the body.
We have not entered the three gorges yet. The countryside here is mostly the tops of mountains. We see where there has been terrace farming throughout the region. This part reminds us of Peru.
All of this area though is blanketed in either smog, smoke, humidity–we’re not sure. We smell smoke, and we see what looks like some fires on distant hills.
We call these ‘hills’, but they are probably mountains. Our ship cruised on the Yangtze River through where the big Three Gorges Dam flooded this area, even though the dam is still almost a hundred miles south of here. We know that we are probably looking at the tops of mountains, but from our current vantage point it looks like they are hills.
Finally, we reached SheBaoZhai to do an excursion to see the Red Pagoda. This is a 12 story pagoda built in 1816 which simply rests against the rocks behind it, not secured in any why. It was built by the locals.
The Pagoda is a lesson in what happens when a dam is built and The reservoir behind the dam displaces people. Before it was built, the locals climbed a mountain to reach the pagoda and its gardens for their place of worship.
But after they completed the Three Gorges Dam, this area was flooded; and the people moved up the mountain so that now they are on the same level as the pagoda.
Unexpectedly, The flood waters threatened the Pagoda, and the central government stepped in and built a wall around it in order to protect it.
To get to the pagoda which now sits on an island, we crossed a pedestrian suspension bridge. What an ordeal that was.
The signs said not to rock the bridge, but no one said anything about bouncing. Groups of kids passed by in a hurry jumping and bouncing all the way across. The whole thing rocked and rolled.
We laughed and said that no way would OSHA let anyone buid this bridge in America. There were times when it did feel unsafe. Someone joked and said that they heard that they only lose a tourist a year on this bridge.
Chuck and I climbed all the way to the top of the 12 story pagoda, including the super heaven levels. It was quite a climb, and it was hot as heck.
At the top was a temple and courtyard garden.
Even though the temperature remained around 80 to 88°, the humidity level was high. It seemed much hotter here on the Yangtze River, sultry and hot.
After we got back to the ship and after dinner, the crew of the Princess Anna did a historical fashion show for us. The fashions were from the different Chinese dynasties.
Of course these were the fashions of the emperors, their people including their wives and concubines. It was very interesting, and the women’s clothing was absolutely beautiful.
They also did five or six fashions of some of the minority peoples, such as Tibetans. A couple of them looked like Chinese cowboys.
Chuck and I enjoyed sitting on the balcony watching the southern side of the Yangtze River bank go by. When this part of the river flooded, the central government moved all of those displaced people up to higher ground. They moved 1.24 million people.
In the evening you see whole cities and towns pass by on the banks of the Yangtze River. Some are brand new. There are several large suspension bridges built over the river, too.