Yichang and the Three Gorges

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June 13th 2008
Published: June 15th 2008
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Xiling GorgeXiling GorgeXiling Gorge

Surprisingly, my favorite gorge shot was taken on the stroke of midday from the minibus back to Yichang (which we took to avoid hours of dull backtracking).
We safely arrived in Yichang, a fairly nondescript town with what seemed a disproportionately large Red Light District (we were looking for an internet cafe, honest). Our plan was to book a Yangzi river cruise to Chongqing, but in the end we opted for one which would return us to Yichang. The main reason was that this was considerably cheaper (by a factor of three in fact). The disadvantage was that it was a cruise designed for Chinese tourists, not Westerners.

Despite the low cost, our six-bed cabin was, as ever, furnished with China's favorite two items - a TV and aircon. However, we did have to pay a little extra for the VIP lounge, which contained the only viewing area located at the prow, and the only vaguely comfortable seating. A worthy investment. Much of the trip was spent in utter confusion, and I soon became used to Chris' constant exasperated rhetorical declarations of "What's going on?" Two tour guides who spoke a little English tried their best to help us - one would anxiously try to explain our options whilst the other stood by offering moral support. Nevertheless, we often had to rely on intuition and blind luck
Cultural ShowCultural ShowCultural Show

This interesting show was followed by a walk through what can best be described as a "Traditional Chinese Village Theme Park" or something.
to get us to the right places at the right times.

We made a number of stops along the way, many of which were clearly aimed at the Chinese. These still often proved interesting, and I think perhaps we saw some worthy sights which most Western tourists would miss out on. Of course there was a long stop to admire the might of the Three Gorges Dam, which we viewed from a range of angles.

By far the best excursion was a trip on a smaller boat along the Daning River, to view the 'Little Three Gorges'. With a narrower waterway and shearer cliffs, these were easily the more impressive in my opinion. Throughout the trip, a guide droned on in Chinese, and for once I felt we had an advantage in not knowing the language - there just can't be that much of interest to discuss! At the end of the cruise we switched vessels again to navigate - would you believe it - the "Mini Three Gorges". A pointless addition, as the boat was cramped and uncomfortable, and the (I assume) splendid views were blocked by the boat's roof.

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


Twisted MetalTwisted Metal
Twisted Metal

No idea what these bits of metal were, or even where exactly we were at the time. The dam can be seen in the background.
The DamThe Dam
The Dam

As an engineer, this close-up view of the upstream side of the world's biggest dam was tremendously exciting for me.

At another cultural show, these performers blasted a raucous fanfare on these ancient instruments.
Little Three Gorges (no. 2)Little Three Gorges (no. 2)
Little Three Gorges (no. 2)

For me the most spectacular of all the gorges.

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