Our first night aboard our Victoria Cruise Ship, we were given a champagne reception and attended a wonderful fashion show after dinner.
We think of them as costumes, but we are reminded that each garment was the normal attire for Chinese citizens of the aristocracy during the eleven Dynasties represented.
The various models danced and sang period pieces from the particular dynasty they represented.
Our own puritan ancestors were pretty stodgy dudes by comparison. Learning about the various periods as the colorful fashion show proceeded, via a narrator with impeccable English…wow! What a gig!
The ship carries us upstream from Chongqing (pronounced shawn-keen) to Yichan, (e-shan.) There is a certain amount of dead time aboard a cruise and we have tai chi lessons after breakfast and view an acupuncture demonstration as we float along. Then, we get our first view of a sampan. Not the old type of sampan but a modern one with a motor.
The Yangtze is a highway moving raw materials to various cities over hundreds of miles.
The Chinese call this Bye-Bye Bridge, because it will soon be underwater. I wanted to see the famous river and the three gorges before they were inundated by water from the dam.
Families here have farmed the steep sides of the Yangtze for hundred’s of years. They don’t understand why the government is flooding them out and forcing them to evacuate from all they’ve ever known. They have never had electricity and they must sacrifice for the people who will benefit from the electricity this dam will produce.
This farmer could at one time walk to his neighbor’s farm. Then he could boat to his neighbor’s farm. Now his neighbor is underwater and his own buildings are partially flooded. Many older people hate it and hang on to all they’ve ever known for as long as they can. One Chinese worker aboard ship loves it. She has a new apartment in Wuhan (oohan) City where she has more space. She now lives with three people in 120 square meters. In her old house she lived with an extended family of eight in 400 square meters. She has electricity and, she can own her apartment.
These caves, once unreachable from the river , were the refuge of Japanese soldiers during WWII. They escaped to these caves and lived for years before they were discovered. Now, our guide marvels that you can actually see into them. There are ancient bodies buried in some of the caves from an unknown past as well.
The steep canyon still has some beauty left and I’m grateful to have had a chance to see it before it disappears. To their credit, the Chinese government has taken extensive pictures of the canyon before the flooding began so people can see what it was once like.
As you look up into the clouds, its hard to imagine that most of this beautiful canyon will be underwater very soon.