10.30.2005 10:00am   神農溪 and Little Bamboo Gorge
Connie: Today's off-ship excursion is a side-trip up ShenNong (God of Agriculture) Creek. The indiginous Ba people, who refer to themselves as TuJia, make tourist dollars by giving guided tours in the narrow (5m) creek in PeaPod boats. These boats are narrow and long, and can seat about 15 people in addition to the crew of four or so boatment. These boats while going upstream is rowed, poled, and finally tracked (pulled with a rope) by boatmen who are very lean, tough, and wiry in their strength, with ruddy, healthy faces belying their age. The guide told us the oldest working boatman is 62. It must be the clean air, clean water, and healthy living. They are certainly very poor by our standards, but are we really happier with our American dollars, our Nordic-Tracks, and our Super-Size menus?
Interestingly, the boatmen used to do their work in the nude, because they are in the water half the time. However, when we got there they were all dressed (sort of), in shorts or trunks.
The side-trip was very good, because from the cruise ship one only sees the river-banks from pretty far away, but in a peapod boat in a narrow stream, the rock formations, ferns, and tiny white cliff daisies are almost within reach. It was like being inside a big bonzai.
Sheven: I got sunburned. I'm wearing two pairs of pants, two shirts and my winter coat, plus we were in the shade of huge cliff at all times. How? No wonder all the Chinese girls were trying to sell me hats. I was turning bright red!
I am inspired today. I was explaining the formations and lithologies to people as if I knew what I was talking about. Connie: I don't know, she was pretty convincing. I was impressed.
Our boatmen had the misfortune to get a group of all Westerners, so this boat must have weighed more than the others filled with Chinese tourists. I felt like we should (or I should) get out and help them pull or row the boat. The long, thin peapod boats are solidly built of wood, and the skilled boatmen kept it slicing beautifully and smoothly through the water, even with more than a dozen giant foreigners in it.
10.30.2005 6:00pm Pass through Ship-Locks at the
Click on the link to learn more about the Dam.
10.31.2005 Tour of the Construction Site of
10.30.2005 6:45am (Sheven: Sleep? Vacation?) Enter the First Gorge:   瞿塘峡
10.30.2005 8:00am Enter the Second Gorge: 巫峡
10.30.2005 4:30pm Enter the Third Gorge:   西陵峡
Sheven: Our timing is good, in this decade at least. Because China has only recently opened to tourists and before it gets too commercialized, developed, overrun by Western influence. Before the Yangtze River Project floods everything. Before we go to war with China over oil and energy. I bought a dam project pamphlet of propaganda, and it says no endangered species live where it will be flooded. Right. All the archaeological sites along the river are soon to be no more, and the archaeologists are desperately working to salvage what they can in a race against the rising water levels. The will not be adversely affected by the lowering of water level below the dam, no 'natural' vegetation in the innundated area.

Enter content here

Click on thumbnails to see images writ large.