Saturday, December 17, 2011

Culture Corner: Summer Holiday 2005 - Part II

This is the river city of Chongqing, the only city in China I visited that wasn’t flat as a board, and the starting point of my Yangtze River “cruise”.  The Yangtze River I believe is the third largest river in the world and it’s a bit muddy from all of the sediment stirred up by the farmers along its length - oh, and also because it’s considered a giant flowing rubbish bin by a large number of Chinese people.  Up close there is not only a mocha color to it, but all manner of floating objects… shoes… empty noodle bowls… strange brown amoeba like things (that might take over China someday if they continue to be allowed to mutate)… plastic bags… more shoes… lots of shoes…
I love this photo.  Waiting for the passenger ferry I was to embark in the evening, the dockside came alive with little eateries and makeshift restaurants.  The aura of the dim lights on this steaming hot night was great, as was the food.
Throughout the night and in the fog of morning heat and humidity, the passenger ferry down stopped at little towns and villages to drop off people and pick them up - people whose only connection to the world was through the Yangtze as no outside roads lead to their communities.
And despite all of the negative things I heard about the giant Three Gorges Dam project, including its submerging of some of China’s more significant sights, I still found the gorges to be quite beautiful, though I don’t know what they looked like prior to having +/- 50 meters submerged.  You can use your imagination like I did.
After going down a portion of the Yangtze in a passenger ferry, I took an incredibly packed train complete with clucking chickens to a remote area called Zhangjiajie, which features many things, including weird rock formations like these above.  
After Zhangjiajie I took a space ship to Saturn and…  Ha!  (I know, I know, bad joke...) Above is a scene from Yellow Dragon Cave, purportedly the largest cave in Asia and another interesting part of Zhangjiajie.  This was only one of the few times I liked the Chinese penchant for gaudy neon lights. 
Despite my bad joke, it truly felt like I was in outer space the couple of hours I spent wandering through the immense caverns of this cave.  So large, there was even a boat ride on an underground river that took you back to the entrance after you'd hiked the many kilometers deep inside the cave... I think it was a boat ride...
As a whole, I spent a couple of days camping in Zhangjiajie, after which I went to…
 …the Yangtze port city of Wuhan.  Take a moment to take in the variety of enterprises the dock workers in this photo are engaged in.  There are quite a few.  My favorite is the man curled up, sleeping on the top of the bus to the left.  The man sprawled out on the wheelbarrow comes in a close second.
 Some houseboats on the Yangtze in Wuhan.  If you can’t tell, Wuhan was ridiculously hot and humid.  A form of torture for this northlander.
The last place I visited on my trip before returning to Nanjing for a few days and eventually the U.S. was Yellow Crane Tower, a place Chinese of old used to go to say goodbye to friends and family.  Aww, wasn’t that sweet of you…

(If you missed it, Part I was here.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment