Friday, February 4, 2011


Sunday, April 1, 2007 YANGTZE RIVER & WUHAN

Jim didn't feel too well last night but did join us for dinner and ate mostly bread. His back has been fine since the initial problems at the beginning of the trip; but he must have eaten something that disagreed with him for lunch yesterday. And it was a very special dinner complete with lemon pie for dessert. By the way; silverware was used by all unless you specifically requested chopsticks. After dinner he went to bed and I tried the Internet one last time, without any real success; and then watched the first two acts of the crew talent show. I heard this morning that it was really good; complete with costumes, magic tricks and more. Even our Gene got up and did a dance when it was time for the tourists to perform. But we both needed sleep more than party time.

Up early this morning with luggage in the hall by 7 am. We had a leisurely breakfast and then collected our hand luggage for the departure. By the time we left at 8:30 the rain had begun. Our luggage was transported up the hill by porters who carried two and sometimes more on the traditional pole over the shoulder up a rather steep incline to our waiting bus. We rode up the hill on a cable car.

On the bus and rolling; the rain began to come down in earnest as we headed over to see the Three Gorge River Dam Project. Difficult to take photos but after a view of the actual locks and dam we went to the building that houses a large model of the project and also has lots of souvenirs for sale. By this time it was lightening and thundering and then the wind began to whip the umbrellas inside out. Not the best day to see the dam project. We heard that Beijing has been having vicious sand storms from this same system; people are having trouble driving the storm is so severe in Beijing.

Everyone finished their shopping and then we were off on the road towards Wuhan. The road took us over and through the mountains; one of the many tunnels was over two miles long. Jim had some problems as the bus ceiling decided to leak right over his seat; fortunately he was sitting by himself and could move over. After about forty-five minutes we changed to a larger bus for the remainder of the six hour trip. The bus from Wuhan is not allowed to go to Maoping to pick us up….government regulations. At one of our bus stops the girls enjoyed a quick lesson from the experienced ones on how to use a “squat” toilet; some have been waiting in long lines for the western toilet and many times there are none to be had.

After the switch we ate our box lunches that the cruise ship had packed for us and dessert of candy from Jo’s bag of surprises. Then we napped and enjoyed the countryside as we drove to Wuhan; a large industrial city with a population of eight million that is ranked fourth among the cities with the most universities. There are many foreigners in this city as many different things are built here by foreign countries; for example the Citron automobile is built in this city by the French with cheap Chinese labor and nearly all of the taxi cabs are Citroen vehicles. By the time we’d arrived in Wuhan the rain had nearly stopped completely except for drizzles here and there. We are in a business hotel for the night and leave at 7:15 am in the morning for the airport and the flight to Hong Kong.

Some interesting notes from our dam guide “Max” and Jo:

The Three Gorge River Dam will be the largest dam in the world when it is finished.

The city around the dam uses Camphor trees to help control misquotes in the summer.

This site was chosen because 1) ground is granite 2) the river is very wide here giving them more room to built the hydroelectric units and locks 3) there was an existing island in the center of the river that helped in the building of the coffer dam as the beginning of the project.

It takes approximately two and half hours for a ship to go through the series of five locks. It doesn’t handle ocean liners as they are too large.

More facts about China:

I found out the fourth city for the Olympics in 2008: Qingdao plus Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

Chinese use several methods to fish: Nets, Cormorant Bird with a ring on it’s neck, and poles. Dynamic is sometimes used but that is dangerous.

How many cups of tea should you have: two……if they offer you a third one they are telling you that it’s time to leave.

Wuhan is known for raising turtles. Turtle meat is very popular in China and the wild turtle meat is considered the best and is very expensive. Even the farmed meat is about $5.00 a pound. They raise them in ponds with lights on to keep the water warm at night.

We heard some jokes from Max and Jo:

Why did the orange stop running down the hill? It ran out of juice

The Panda has two desires: 1) take a color photo and 2) get a good night’s sleep (to get rid of their black eyes)

And with that I’m going to close this journal with the final note that Jim purchased his paint brushes today at the souvenir stand overlooking the dam; remember when he negotiated himself out of getting them earlier in the trip.

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