Our second day on the river takes us to the Wu Gorge, Shennong Stream and Qutan Gorge.
10Apr – Yangtze; Shennong Stream; Wu Gorge; Qutang Gorge
Our experience on the Yangtze has been quite fabulous. Our guides local and today’s guide, Kitty, is charmingly sweet. From our river cruise boat, we board a smaller boat to take us up a tributary of the Yangtze, Shennong Stream. Before the dam was built, this stream was very low most of the year with water levels about knee deep. To carry goods up and down stream, the small wooden boats were pulled along the river by boat trackers. Each boat has 5 oarsmen who work very hard for $5CAD each for the roundtrip journey. Now that the stream has risen so much, instead of pulling the boats, the trackers use very long oars. Along the stream, we see one hanging coffin in the crevice of the rock; it is a mystery as to how they managed to get the very heavy coffins down a sheer cliff and into the small openings. We are also treated to a song by Kitty who has a lovely soprano voice. We have tried to upload video to youtube, but it appears that the site is blocked by China; so is Facebook.
Kitty, like many of the guides, is quite happy about the changes brought about by the dam. Instead of homes with no running water or inside toilets, no electricity or central heating, they now have newer homes with all modern conveniences. The young women who are the guides typically focussed on how much they like their new bathrooms. A way of life is changing here, as it is all over the world. Unfortunately, the millions of people displaced by the dam had no choice in the changes.
In the afternoon, some of us took part in the White Emperor City excursion. In Chinese it’s called Baidicheng. According the legend, It is said that the area was once surrounded with a white mist, giving it a rather mysterious yet serene look. It has also been said that someone saw a white dragon, the symbol of an emperor. The warlord Gongsun Shu thought this was a fortuitous sign, and declared himself Emperor of Chengja. He founded the city and called himself the White Emperor. The temple dates back almost 2000 years.
This evening, after another lovely buffet meal, we are treated to a show focussing on traditional costumes representing all of the dynasties.