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Yangtze River Cruise
(click on thumbnail for full-size image)

Our four day cruise along the Yangtze River was beautiful, but tempered by the ever-present reminders of the imminent flooding once the Three Gorges Dam is completed. All along the river, large white signs were posted for "135m" and "175m" indicating the flood level in 2003 and 2009 respectively. Besides wiping out some of the beautiful scenery, many of the towns and cities along the river will also be underwater. I'm also quite concerned about the almost-extinct Yangtze River Dolphins whose few remaining numbers inhabit the river.

Honestly, the Three Gorges themselves were a bit of a letdown. My expectations had been set too high by the unrealistic portrayals in traditional Chinese scroll paintings. While the mountains were majestic, they didn't assume the mythic proportions and shapes I expected. Also, virtually all of the hillsides have been deforested and any land even passably usable has been terraced and turned into farmland.

Our cruise ship, the Victoria I, with a capacity of 190 passengers

The huge Three Gorges Dam Project, under construction

A common, surreal image: a dilapidated old town soon to be submerged, just below empty, shiny new buildings making up the future new town

One of many villages to be flooded - look for the two white signs marking the flood level

Scenery along the Three Gorges area

The area is almost always misty, giving the area a mystical quality

Tracker paths from the old days when men had to pull boats up the river

Picturesque cliffs along the Yangtze

A traditional "hanging coffin" in the cliff wall (middle of photo)

We took a day excursion on a smaller boat along the "Little Three Gorges"

There, we saw macaques scrambling among the rocks

Goats wandering by the river

Copyright 2001 - Ann Mei Chang