We woke up this morning to find our travelling bedroom was somewhere else - it was docked at Badong to be precise. It's not particularly picturesque but the huge collection of large buildings, built close to and above the water's edge, are quite new. There is some local pride here in the fact that Badong is a 'famous tourism city', full of scenic nature spots.
We disembarked 'President No. 7' on to a smaller tour boat for a shore excursion to Shennong Stream via Xiling Gorge. Before the construction of the Three Gorges Dam there were many beaches and rocky shallows through here but now, of course, it's flooded and the steep sides of the mountains dip straight down into the dark green waters. 400 hectares of farmland were inundated and almost 49,000 people had to be re-settled from this one area alone. A huge task.
We Gabriola Islanders were not terribly impressed to hear that, before the Changjiang Bridge was built in 2004, people often had to wait one or two hours for a ferry to get across to Badong. So? And your point is??? That's perfectly normal here. But we WERE impressed to learn that if the River was flooded and the ferry couldn't sail, passengers had to wait ten or more DAYS to get to the other side! There'd be a riot if that happened to Gabriolans!
The Gorge was beautiful - the mountains down to the water are green and the dark green water clearly reflects the mountains. Jade-like.
Hanging coffins dating back 2000 years used to be placed in niches along the cliffs above Shennong Stream. The coffins were made of Chinese Nanmu log - a kind of wood that doesn't rot, but even so there are now only three of these left but we actually cruised by one. The object of suspending these coffins (which weighed several hundred kilograms) was to show respect to elders by placing their remains as close to heaven as possible. (Memo to offspring: No need to do that for me - I'm afraid of heights!)
On returning to our ship Bruce had an appointment with the Acupuncturist to see if it would help his pains at all. They also 'cupped' him and he ended up with what looked like 8 or 9 octopus 'suckers' on him. I'd post pictures, but in the interests of protecting sensitive souls..........!
Resuming our stately cruise we entered Wu Gorge followed by Qutang Gorge. Hard to tell where one ended and the other began, but that's what was written in the itinerary. It was still very beautiful.
The "Warm Prompt" (Hot tip) on today's schedule stated:
"Because of the special geography and climate, many flying insect at night, distinguished guests, please close the balcony door to bed at night, thankyou!'