The Yangtze Gold 3, home to about 400 travelers, was wonderful. The cabins were comfy and there was a spacious top deck, which provided a great place to hang out and play cards. Here we are playing “31”, a game we learned on a trip in South America.
This beautiful stained glass-like ceiling over the lobby seemed perfect for someone to come crashing through in a James Bond movie.
Of course selling alcohol was how they made their money on the cruise. The most reasonable package included the local beer. I think many folks on the boat agreed.
There were shops on the boat. I never saw anyone in them. Maytag sales women. (This reference is to a television ad that ran forever in the U.S. about the poor Maytag appliance salesman who never got any business, since the products are so fantastic.) The fellow in the lobby demonstrating (and I assume hoping to sell) artwork with Chinese letters took his fate like a man. I never saw him look up at any passersby.
They offered Mahjong lessons on the boat. It looks like an incredibly complicated and fun game. We were too busy to take advantage of it, but maybe someday.
All our meals were served buffet style except one, the Captain’s Farewell dinner.
In the boat dining room the fifteen in our group were split into two tables. We were seated with the six Canadians, the other seven (Australians) sat at another table. It was the eight of us together from then on.
The Yangtze River
- When the river was dammed, 1,335 villages were submerged. Residents needed to be relocated to the city suburbs, or near the river.
- The Yangtze is 6,300 kilometers (nearly 4,000 miles) long; the third longest river in the world.
- Where the river once measured 2-3 meters, it now runs 100 meters in winter, and 70 meters the balance of the year.
Day one of the cruise through wide, still waters, we stopped by “The Red Pagoda”.
Before walking across the above bouncy, swaying bridge to the Pagoda, we found a representative sculpture of the year we were born. Kevin and I were both born the Year of the Tiger. (Not tellin’.)
Close up of the pagoda and a certain someone enjoying the excursion.
From high up in the pagoda we could see our boat.
Mr. Good luck
Amazing that I have such a big smile after my camera had just been accidentally dropped. Luckily, it survived so I could bring you all this fun!
Mandy was our sweet guide. Some guides were better at English than others. (Not casting any aspersions…check out my Chinese!) But, the result was we had some laughs (just like they did with us, I’m sure). I swore Mandy reported to us that one of the women important in the life of the Pagoda “married a mudhole”.
I questioned why the trees had dropped their leaves in the spring. She told us when the leaves fall depends on when they were planted. Sounds incredible…but she seemed sure. Okay.
There were many little booths selling clothing, food, and trinkets. This is where I bought my “I Climbed the Great Wall” t-shirt. I thought I did a good job bargaining, but Merri told me she got hers for an even better price. Oh well.
That night we were introduced to the crew and danced our fool heads off.
They gave us all plastic clappers which ramped up the fun.
Roger volunteered to participate in a mystery competition. Check it out. He lost.
The next morning the loudspeaker blared very early. We had arrived at the Qutang Gorge.
Later in the trip we went through the second, the Wu Gorge.
As with many in this blog, these photos don’t do justice. It was breathtaking.
Luckily, we got to take a small boat tour of Goddess Stream, an even narrower gorge formed by a tributary of the Yangtze.
Alyssa, our guide for the Goddess Stream, was a fountain of information. (She was cool.) Alyssa learned English from TV and radio. Many of the young people we met learned that way. She was from a small “willage”, known as “Longevity Willage”. Here are some interesting things we learned:
- In that area they live on corn, potatoes and sweet potatoes, but still have an abundance of very, very old inhabitants. (Sounds like Frank McCourt’s book, Angela’s Ashes, where the poor Irish subsisted on bread and tea)
- The monkeys that once resided on the river banks needed to be re-located, since they threw stones to people on boats as gifts. Un uh!
- The locals fish by submerging a net in the water, shining a light at night so the mosquitoes will be attracted, which attracts the fish. Whoosh… caught up and retrieved in the morning. Brilliant.
- The children walk a total of four hours a day uphill and back down to go to school.
- Just in that area, 400,000 who lived on the mountain needed to be re-located in 1997, but they got new houses, new furniture and even TVs. (Someone knew how to ease the pain.)
After the Goddess Stream, we made our way through the Xiling Gorge
One of the highlights of the cruise was a tour of the Three Gorges Dam, and the 5-stage Ship Lock, which we viewed from a lovely visitor center
A view of the locks through the bus window.
As usual, folks were offering trinkets and goods as we got off the bus for the Three Gorge Dam tour. Someone did spring for this most creative, and affordable six pack of beer.
This dam is the world’s largest hydroelectricity project and employs 40,000 workers. It is absolutely incredible. That night we got to go through the locks. It takes 3 ½ hours to pass through all five locks and there is no charge. And I thought the Soo Locks in Northern Michigan were something. Wow!
Our last day on the boat we took the optional tour to the quite Disneyesque Water Village.
There were people posed in boats and playing music.
We watched the reenactment of a historical marriage ceremony. Traditionally, engaged women would cry for three days immediately before the wedding ceremony. (We didn’t sit there for three days, but witnessed a fellow traveler snagged from the audience to participate.) Colorful costumes and fun.
There were beautiful waterfalls and sculptures. (This one’s for you, Dan.)
They use cormorants to fish with by putting a rope around their neck just tight enough so they can’t swallow what they catch. Seems mean.
There was even a reenactment of coffins stashed high up on the hillside in a cliff.
These Chinese gals were having fun hamming it up for the camera.
This was Disney so, of course, they had live animals. The macque monkeys came down from the cliffs to feed and entertain the crowd. And in one case we witnessed, almost swipe a fellow’s glasses off his face.
Although tempted, I did not take these fellows up on their offer to carry me back to the boat. It was only 30 yuan but I wanted the exercise.
Although the Water Village was a bit cheesy, it was interesting and amazing to witness what the Chinese can pull off once they put their minds to it. This tourist attraction was built in just a couple years.
At the Talent Show on our last night on the boat, we witnessed something I have never seen. What happens on the Yangtze stays on the Yangtze, until Mary puts it on her blog.