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Day Eight - Yangtze River Cruise

Yangtze River Cruise in Chinese

Gezhou Dam, Chinese Medicine, Xiling Gorge, Three Gorges Dam





I slept very well on the ship, but I woke up several times during the night and went out on the balcony to see if I could see anything. One time we were sailing right under a lovely suspension bridge.

Suspension Bridge at night

Another time, we were next to some tall mountains, but it was so incredibly dark. Then the captain or someone in control turned on some search lights and shined them on the sides. There was a staircase leading somewhere.

Searchlight on stairway

We had been told that we would be going through the first dam around 6:00 A.M. This was not the big Three Gorges Dam, but the smaller Gezhou Dam. I had planned on waking up at 5:30, but when I awoke at 4:30 there was so much to see that I just had to get up. We were passing a city - the Xiling District of Yichang - and of course, another bridge.

City at Night
Gezhouba Sanjiang Bridge in front of a new suspension bridge
Gezhouba Sanjiang Bridge in front of a new suspension bridge


I couldn't stand just having the one-directional view from my balcony, so I got dressed and headed up to the Sun Deck. There were people already on the banks of the river. I think they were fishing. And, of course, it's still raining.

Bank of the River
Bank of the River

It was good thing I got up when I did, because we arrived at the dam earlier than scheduled. We started entering the lock at around 5:30. It was an amazingly tight fit!

Port side
Port Side
Starboard Side
Starboard Side

Once the doors closed on the lock and the water starting filling in, it only took 10 minutes to get enough water to raise our ship almost 20 feet. It was amazing that they could move that much water that fast.

Inside the Lock
Part of the Gezhou Dam
Lock Doors and Tower
Lock Doors
Lock Doors
Lock Doors
Lock Doors
Lock Doors
The Lock
The Lock
The Lock

Once we got to the upper water level we could see over the fence into the park. There was a guy doing his morning exercise. And on the other side was a large sculpture.

Exercise in the Park
Sculpture

The Yangtze River (Cháng Jiāng) originates in the Tibetan Plateau and flows 6,300 kilometers (3,915 miles) across China, through eleven provinces, emptying into the East China Sea near Shanghai. It is China's largest river and the third-largest in the world, after the Nile and the Amazon. It is the longest river in the world to flow entirely within one country. The source of the Cháng Jiāng is the Tanggula Mountains in the Tibetan Plateau in the Qinghai Province. The Cháng Jiāng has played an important role in the history of China. Many tribes have lived along the river and human traces can date back for two million years. Many villages, towns and cities have been built along the river. The difficulty of crossing the river made natural borders of kingdoms. There is rich culture to be found all along the river.

In the old days, river travel was not easy. The Cháng Jiāng had wildly fluctuating levels and some very dangerous parts. It was not possible to sail upstream in the summer months because the winds were not strong enough to fight the surging waters. So men would literally pull the boats by slinging a rope around their bodies and crawling through the mud. The three gorges dam has done a lot to calm the waters.

Our 4-day trip takes us up the river for 653 km. And we will pass some very interesting things along the way.

Map of our Yangtze River Cruise

This is a beautiful area and there is much to see.

Huang Bai He Bridge
Huang Bai He Bridge

Huang Bai He Bridge
Huang Bai He Bridge

Looking back at Gezhou Dam
Looking back at Gezhou Dam

Luozhu Temple
Luozhu Temple

Luozhu Temple
Luozhu Temple

Swimming Club.
Swimming Club. Sign reads: “Swimming prohibitted near the lock approach waters
— Three Gorges Maritime Bureau”

Building on the River bank
Boats on the River bank
China Maritime Safety Administration Facility
China Maritime Safety Administration Facility

Waterfall
Small Bridge
Building on the mountain
Building on the mountain
Scene along the River
Scene along the River
Scene along the River
Sign Reads: “Emergency Berth”
Sign Reads: “Emergency Berth”

A statue of general Zhang Fei of the Shu Kingdom at the Drum Beating Terrace
A statue of general Zhang Fei of the Shu Kingdom at the Drum Beating Terrace

A statue of general Zhang Fei of the Shu Kingdom at the Drum Beating Terrace
A statue of general Zhang Fei of the Shu Kingdom at the Drum Beating Terrace

A statue of general Zhang Fei of the Shu Kingdom at the Drum Beating Terrace
A statue of general Zhang Fei of the Shu Kingdom at the Drum Beating Terrace

Roadway cut into the mountain
Roadway cut into the mountain
Mountainside
Riverside Village
Boat along the river
Cruise Ship along the river
Mountainside
Mountains
Mountains
Barge along the river
Waterfall
Village along the river
Village along the river
Boats along the river
Bridge along the river
Mountains along the river
Village and boats along the river
Village of Shang Xi Tuo
Village of Shang Xi Tuo


It's now 7:15 A.M. (yes all of those photos were taken before 7:15!) and finally time for breakfast! It's going to be a long day!

There were two shore excursions this day, but according to Zhang Lu, they were not suitable for wheelchairs. So we stayed on board the ship. The first excursion was to the Tribe of the Three Gorges. There are two ancient villages here at the juncture between the Longjin Brook and the Yangtze River. Here you can find Ba Culture and Chu Culture. Apparently you travel back along the stream, but some of it is visible from the river.

Tribe of the Three Gorges Brookside Village
Cable Cars at Tribe of the Three Gorges Brookside Village
Tribe of the Three Gorges Brookside Village
Tribe of the Three Gorges Brookside Village
King Ba Palace
King Ba Palace

Tribe of the Three Gorges Brookside Village
Tribe of the Three Gorges Brookside Village
Tribe of the Three Gorges Brookside Village
Tribe of the Three Gorges Brookside Village

For those staying on board, there were several activities available in addition to a few shops and artisans. There was a morning lecture about Chinese Medicine so we decided to attend. It was given by Dr. Ryan Wang - the ship's doctor. He told us how Chinese medicine looks at the entire body rather than just an isolated area. This ancient system of health care is based on a concept of “balanced qi,” or vital energy, that is believed to flow throughout the body. Qi regulates a person's spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance and is influenced by the opposing forces of yin (negative energy) and yang (positive energy). Disease results when the flow of qi is disrupted, causing the yin and yang to become imbalanced. Some of the different methods of treatment are herbal and nutritional therapy, restorative physical exercises, meditation, acupuncture, and remedial massage. It was an interesting lecture. At one point he called for two volunteers. Nearly everyone raised their hands! He handed out some paper with drawings on them for us to see. They didn't copy too well, but here they are anyway.

Acupuncture Chart
Acupuncture Chart

Reuben still has occasional pain from having the shingles in 2013 so we made an appointment for him. I'm having hot flashes that have not gone away or lessened for 16 years. So I got an appointment too. We shall see!



Xiling Gorge

Xiling Gorge in Chinese

Xiling Gorge is the farthest downstream of the three gorges. It is also the longest at 66 kilometers. There are many reefs and oddly shaped stones just under the surface which makes it the most dangerous of the gorges. Over the years many boats have sunk here, but thanks to the Gezhou Dam and the Gezhouba Water Conservancy Project, these waters have been calmed considerably. Along this section of the river are many famous springs, streams, stones and caves.

Xiling Gorge Map

As we traveled through Xiling Gorge, there were many villages, mountains, streams and activities to see along the way.

Village of Feng Xiang Shu
Village along the river
Buildings hanging off the mountain
Village of Long Jin Xi
Village of Long Jin Xi
Village of Long Jin Xi
Village of Long Jin Xi
Watch the men working with the boat

Village of Long Jin Xi
Watch the men working with the boat

Village of Long Jin Xi
Mountain along the river
Villages of Shaijingping and Liantuocun
Liantuo Highway Bridge between the Villages of Shaijingping and Liantuocun
Liantuo Highway Bridge between the villages of Shaijingping and Liantuocun

Villages of Shaijingping and Liantuocun
Village of Liantuocun
Village of Shaijingping
Village of Shaijingping
Village of Shaijingping
Village along the river
Mountains along the river
Mountains along the river
Village along the river
Village along the river
Boat and Village along the river
Village and Mountains along the river
Village and Mountains along the river
Agricultural Village along the river
Agricultural Village along the river
Agricultural Village along the river
Power line tower along the river
Along the river
Mining along the river
Fishing along the river
Village of Ba Hu Dian Cun
Village of Ba Hu Dian Cun

The second excursion of the day was the Three Gorges Dam Project. The Three Gorges Dam is the world's largest hydroelectric power project. However, it was very controversial while in the planning stages. It was going to relocate 1.24 million residents and flood 13 cities, 140 towns and 1,350 villages including some important cultural sites. However, there are positives as well. The hydroelectric generators reduce China's dependency on coal which means that the annual production of 84.6 billion kilowatt hours of energy will be clean energy. The dam calms some of the previously treacherous waters and allows for large ships to travel up and down stream for the first time. The Dam also helps control flooding which in the past killed thousands of people and caused millions of dollars in damages. The excursion was a tour of the Hydroelectric power plant.

As I mentioned earlier, Reuben and I didn't make this excursion so I have no photos to show.

During this excursion is when we had our appointments with Dr. Ryan. He interviewed us both and then looked in our ears and mouths. He then took our pulses and came up with diagnoses for each of us. First he took Reuben into the treatment room and I stepped out on the sun deck to look around. Then he called for me and I went into the treatment room. The room was semi-dark and cool. It felt very calm. He had me lie down on the exam table and pull up my trouser legs. Then he told me to relax and breathe deeply – in through my nose and out through my mouth. I wasn't falling asleep, but I was extremely relaxed. That alone seemed like a good thing. I could tell that he was moving around the area, but I kept my eyes closed. Then he spoke to me and asked me if I felt anything. I only felt relaxed. Well, during that time he had put many needles into both legs from the knee down. I was so surprised because I truly was unaware of any of them. He had me rest there for around 20 minutes I think. I really don't know. Then the needles came out - never felt that either! I was instructed to turn over on my stomach and remove my shirt. He then applied cups to my back and used a suction device to pull the skin up into the cups. I could certainly feel that, but it actually felt good. I was told to lie there and relax. I have no idea how long I was there, but I can't remember ever being so relaxed and calm. It was lovely. Then his assistant came in and removed the cups and gave me a massage on my back. After that he told me to turn over and he began to massage all of the soft areas of my abdomen. He was quite vigorous and I felt like my organs were being rearranged, but nothing hurt. Whether any of it did any good or not, time would tell, but it was a totally pleasant and enjoyable experience. Reuben told me later that they did a similar process for him. We made appointments to continue the treatments the next day.

By now it's almost dinner time and we are arriving at the locks for the Three Gorges Dam. Of course there was another bridge. Completed in 1996, the Xiling Bridge is 900 meters between the two towers. It's a gravity-anchored suspension bridge that was built primarily to assist in the building of the Three Gorges Dam. The total length of the bridge is 1,118.66 meters.

Xiling Yangtze Bridge connecting Sandouping and Letianxia
Xiling Yangtze Bridge connecting Sandouping and Letianxia
Xiling Yangtze Bridge connecting Sandouping and Letianxia
Xiling Yangtze Bridge connecting Sandouping and Letianxia

And here are the locks of the Dam as we begin our approach and passage. It will take us 3.5 hours to pass through to the other side. But it will be too dark to see most of it.

Three Gorges Dam
Three Gorges Dam
Three Gorges Dam
Xiling Yangtze Bridge from the Three Gorges Dam
Entering the lock of the Three Gorges Dam
Xiling Yangtze Bridge from the Three Gorges Dam
Xiling Yangtze Bridge from the Three Gorges Dam
Staircase at the Three Gorges Dam
Measurements inside the lock at the Three Gorges Dam
Doors closing in the lock at the Three Gorges Dam
Xiling Yangtze Bridge from the Three Gorges Dam

Click here for Postcards of The Three Gorges



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Irma Hale
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