|WATERS OF THE YANGTZE
|Before engines were introduced into river traffic along the Yangtze, MEN pulled cargo up the
low flowing river. Called "trackers", they lived and died in horrific ways, often falling into the
gorges from heights, but leaving their footpaths along the river banks until the Three Gorges
Dam covered their "tracks".
|HANGING COFFINS, 2,000 YEARS OLD: still a bit of mystery as to how they got there as
they are several hundred feet down from the top of cliffs. Best idea: wood beams
wedged into face of cliff, with surface over them to allow coffins to be moved. The
higher up the cliffs the coffins were placed, the more important the person. They have
not been opened.
|AND IN THE END, IT WAS STILL THE RIVER
WHICH EMBRACED US...TO OUR DELIGHT.
|WHEN SPRING FLOODS OCCUR IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS, THE
WATER WILL RISE TO ITS PLANNED LEVEL, 175 METERS ABOVE
|As the river rises, traditional farms and villages are flooded, and extensive efforts
have been made to relocate population to new homes and to let farmers continue
working the land. Recently, China abolished farm taxes. While the state owns all
of the land in China, it leases farmland to farmers for 70 years and it can be "sold,
transferred, inherited" so long as it remains farmland. Developers not allowed.
|FOOTPATHS from the top of the mountains...old paths link to
new waterways. Our guide reported that it took him 3 hours to
walk down to the river from the top of the rim.
|In the good old days, the only way people could travel up and down the Yangtze River
was on a sampan. One could not walk the land to a city or village. Today, power boats
make commuting to market or job much more plausible, and the construction of multiple
bridges over the Yangtze will allow people to traverse both sides of the waterway.
We were told several times, that after the Cultural Revolution, China was so bereft of
engineers and skilled architects that no one knew how to build a bridge or a dam.
Expertise was imported, at first from Russia, then later from the U.S. and Western
Europe. Now, China knows all about building, but every project draws upon world wide
sources of material, equipment, design and technology.
|Ancient calligraphy important to the Chinese was cut out of the rock which was going to be
flooded, and moved up the walls of the cliffs. It was carefully reinserted so as not to lose these
valuable national treasures.
|OUR FRIEND, DAN, WAS WILLING TO GUIDE
THE BOAT WHILE THE OTHER MEMBERS OF
THE TOUR APPLAUDED.
|FISH FARMS ABOVE; LIVING AND WORK BOAT BELOW