Yangtze River - a three day cruise by Mark Sukhija

17th July 2009

The President 6 docked for a shore excursion

Aboard the good ship President 6. We spent three days aboard ship down the Yangtze River on the good ship President 6 - a romantic name I know! The days going down the Yangtze were a relaxing way to spend some time not really doing very much. The excursions were a bit of a mixed bag - with Shennong Stream Boat Tour really standing out as something we'll never be able to again to Fengdu - a "Leicester Square Experience" on the Yangtze.

Gate at the entrance to Fengdu

Our short trip to Fengdu can only described as a trip on "The Great Conveyor Belt Of Tourism" and, for the most part, a complete sham. Largely destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, what is here is a class in Restoration - rather than preservation or conservation (as with the ancient city in Rome ) Our guide was very cagey not only about the effects of the Cultural Revolution on the site but what was original, what had been replaced, what was restored and whether the site had been relocated as a result of The Three Gorges Dam Project (of which she, like others, was suitably proud) Armed with such little cultural / historical information and being herded into shops at the behest of our guide did little to satisfy. I'm not a historian, but I'm not a f***ing idiot walking wallet either. A complete "Leicester Square Experience" on the Yangtze. Our guide was also confused as to whether Fengdu had been relocated as a result of the The Three Gorges Dam Project or not. Not impressed by this shopping extravaganza.

The boat people rowing their boat
The Shennong Stream Boat tour was one of the more fascinating parts of the trip. The Shennong Stream is off one of the tributaries of the Yangtze River and the boat poeople once took cargo up the stream and the tributaries, their skills at trackers guiding boats were necessary in the shallow waters. The Shennong Stream will soon be flooded and their housing has already been relocated. The life of the boat people as we (and they) know it will be finished as the Three Gorges Dam floods this stream and tributary.

The entrance to the White Emporer City
The White Emporer City was a much more satisfying experience than Fengdu - somewhat surprisingly. Our guide was generally informative, although hesitant to discuss the effects that the Three Gorges Dam has had or will have on the White Emporer City. The bridge over the river has been the main access point for the White Emporer City since the dam was planned to retain access to what is seen as an important culutural and historical monument.

We disembarked at Yichang having gone through the locks of The Three Gorges Dam itself and spent the morning visiting the dam itself. The shoip elevator is still under construction, although the main dam itself has been completed and the area is now being flooded. With 32 generators producing 700MW each, the Three Gorges Dam is the largest electricity generating appliance anywhere in the world and also provides flood protection. The environmental impact, however, has not gone unnoticed or been uncontroversial.

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Further reading

Chengdu - trip to the Wenshu Temple - Travelogue from our afternoon in the Wenshu Temple in Chengdu

Chengdu - three day stay in Chengdu - Travelogue from Chengdu, including the Wenshu Temple during our 18 day trip to China

Visit to Chongqing - Travelogue from our time in Chongqing during an 18 day trip to China

2008 eclipse in Nunavut, Canada - Information on and about the 2008 total solar eclipse section in Nunavut, Canada

2008 Solar Eclipse Path - Path information for the 2008 total solar eclipse, including an orthographic view

2008 Total Solar Eclipse - the post-mortem - Total Solar Eclipse in 2008 - post-mortem

2008 Total Solar Eclipse travel information - Travel ideas for the Total Solar Eclipse in 2008

Barnaul - Getting to and from Barnaul

Nadym - Getting to and from Nadym

Nizhnevartovsk - Getting to and from Nizhnevartovsk

About Mark Sukhija

Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook