Cruise on Yangtze
We reached Chongqing at noon to board the cruise in the evening. We drove past the roads of the city. The city is built at the confluence of Yangtze and Jialing rivers. When you travel across the city, you notice that the city is not built horizontally but rather vertical. I was amazed by the construction of flyovers and bridges built on top of one another . The way the cars sped across those bridges felt as if I am watching some bridge craft game. We had some time to spare, so the driver took us to Chongqing zoo to see the giant pandas. When we reached there I saw the keeper throwing some fruits on the ground and hurriedly rushed to the den. We stood there watching at the empty garden for a while. Slowly I heard a sound coming from the den. The panda looked reluctant and walked towards the crowd. He didn’t seem happy with the keeper, but seeing the fruits laid on the ground he bent his head down and walked towards the food. Slowly he looked at the crowd where I was eagerly waiting for one good shot. I could clearly sense that he was not in any mood of socializing. He grabbed his food and started munching least bothering about the audience. One of the group members tried to shout to grab his attention. Getting disturbed, he looked at the crowd for one last time and turned his back on the audience and continued munching the fruit. The rest of the photos were all facing his back 😦
After a bad date with Panda, we had our dinner and boarded our cruise. This was my first trip on a cruise. The cruise journey was for two nights on Yangtze river. Yangtze river is the third longest river in the world. The rooms inside the cruise were pretty decent if not luxurious. Announcements were mostly in Chinese. Before embarking on the journey, the captain of the ship gave his speech again which lasted for around 20 minutes. Most of the tourists on the cruise were Chinese. There were activities and programs at night to entertain the guests. One of the activity which I enjoyed was on Chinese alternate medicine, Acupuncture. Importance of cupping and acupressure techniques were shown during the program.
The next day morning we reached Fengdu Ghost City located on Ming Mountain on the northern bank of Yangtze River. Its literally not a ghost city but the place definitely looked abandoned with ancient temples. As per the legend good spirits go to heaven and evil ones go to Fengdu. They also have some crazy tests on which you can get your character certified right on the spot based on your performance. Crazy demonic statues are lined up each of them getting punished based on the severity of evil deed conducted. We returned back to the deck and strolled around for the rest of the day.
The next day morning I woke up with the announcements from the crew in Chinese. The best highlights of the cruise is when you view the 3 gorges and the gorges dam. They periodically announced as we passed across each of the gorge Qutang, Wu and Xiling. As we progressed, the waters transformed from murkier muddy water to clear green in color. We traveled amidst the steep mountains sandwiched on both sides. I saw cliff side burials high upside of the gorge. At one tributary we were transferred to a smaller boat to see mini gorges where the river narrowed significantly. The boatman put on his traditional hat and paddled across the jade green water. As the boat went deeper and deeper inside the gorges, I sat and admired the sheer beauty of the nature and the stillness in the surrounding atmosphere.
After the boat trip we returned back to the deck. The same evening, the captain of the ship again gave some speech in Chinese with a glass of Champagne in his hand and raising a toast on the success of the voyage. We disembarked the cruise the next day morning in Yichang and proceeded to see China’a prestigious project The Three Gorges Dam. The three gorges dam is the largest hydro power station in the world with an annual energy output of 84.7 billion kilowatt hours. We can see a panoramic view of the whole dam by climbing on the viewing platform. They also have a memorial garden which displays exhibits used during the construction of the dam. The dam serves flood control purpose along with power generation and navigation. The ship locks will allow large number of ships to pass upstream and downstream to transport the goods from Chongqing to Shanghai. But the down side to this was many people were relocated because of this project.
Three Gorges and boat ride excursion along with the dam was indeed a great trip. We boarded the bus and headed towards Wuhan airport to catch our flight to Shanghai. Yangtze Cruise trip was no where close to the cruise journeys you watch on movies like Titanic but considering the number of days and the cost, it was really worth it.
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