Yangtze River Trip

Chongqing Travel Blog

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Three Lesser Gorges
In a country with a land mass of 9,596,960, it's no surprise that you spend a lot of your time travelling China, well, travelling. After the overnight train journey followed by a five-hour bus journey that took us to Yichang,we then had a two-day river trip down the Yangtse followed by another five-hour bus journey before another one the following day. It wasn't long before it all became quite tiring.
The river trip itself was good fun. I should stop saying this because it's getting repetitive, but I was, again, surprised by the standard of accommodation. Apart from the stench of cigarette smoke and urine, our living quarters onboard were pretty good. A rickety old air-conditioning unit, although frustrating, proved critical as we headed towards Chongqing, where temperatures in summer often reach 43C (the reason it is known as one of the three 'oven cities'.
The boat we visited the Three Lesser Gorges on
) That said, the whole of our full day onboard was spent sheltering from the pouring rain outside.
Despite the best efforts of environmental groups, when the Three Gorges Dam is completed, the Three Gorges themselves will be submerged under water. I couldn't believe this, having heard that they were such a national icon and all, but after the river cruise through the gorges, I would have to say I can see why not.
We awoke at 5:30 to see the first of the Three Gorges. To be honest, if we saw it, we weren't aware. This was to be a recurring theme. The scenery is fairly spectacular at times (steep, mountainous terrain often dwarfing the boat), but there is no climax, no main event, no money shot. Perhaps we left feeling a bit disappointed because we were naive to think that we would get one.
Three Lesser Gorges

I chose to do one of the optional boat excursions that we caught in addition to the boat we inhabited. It was to see the Three Lesser Gorges, taking you closer to the landscape down one of the tributaries running off the Yangtse. Despite the ear-drum torturing loudspeaker blasting out Chinese, it was worth getting off the boat for seven hours for. Mind you, I was so tired from the 5:30 start that I fell asleep on the return journey. Western people are still a novelty to a lot of Chinese - even the ones wealthy enough to afford to travel - and so iy wasn't much of a surprise to find the natives lining up to take my photo as I woke from my slumber. It appears that a Westerner asleep is very photogenic. Maybe somewhere in China, in the near future, I might appear on a mantelpiece.
Dinner. Not really!

Once we arrived in Chongqing - late in the day - we visited Ciqikou Ancient Town, dating back to the late Ming dynasty, and containing several Chairman Mao-era houses. Now overrun with a tourist market and people selling you pointless stuff, it isn't as authentic as you might hope. The highlight was the Chinese feast provided by one of the local families, who even let us look around their home, given to them for free in the 70's as China went under cultural reform. For this reason, it is little surprise that their views on Mao somewhat contradict most people from the West. It was here that I had the pleasure of experiencing pig's stomach for the first time. It was actually pretty good. Don't be like that - sausages are no better.
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Three Lesser Gorges
Three Lesser Gorges
The boat we visited the Three Less…
The boat we visited the Three Les…
Three Lesser Gorges
Three Lesser Gorges
Dinner. Not really!
Dinner. Not really!
Up close
Up close
The final stage
The final stage
Lanterns in ancient village
Lanterns in ancient village
A cave
A cave
Chongqing
photo by: FK27