Yangtze mementoes: Part 4

The 3 Gorges Dam and the Xiling Gorge, Yangtze. May 30th.

It was a bone-racking bus ride right in the middle of the night from Zhangjiajie to Yichang, where we board our Yangtze cruiser, but I managed still to sleep through much of it, except for an abrupt stop in one of the villages along the road. My sight was blurry through the bus window – I could only make out some cotton shirt-wearing locals standing outside a run-down wooden house and a lorry carrying huge chunks of logs parked outside it. Accented Mandarin reverberated, sometimes in shouts, into the bus. Someone in our tour group said, “Let the locals settle it among themselves,” and gestured another from trying to head to the bus door, but before long, we were back on the bone-racking road. Our tour guide, who is a Tujia, informed us that there is no other road from Zhangjiajie to Yichang – they are still working on it. Darkened scenes of mud houses with plains of blackness stretching into the vast dark horizon behind them seemed to be conjured up in some dream and before I knew it, we were in Yichang. It had been a 6-hour ride.

The reward came the next morning as I woke up to pastel-like bluish hues fading into the distant foggy air. Our tour guide on the cruiser was a graduate of the Wuhan University Department of English. Our 1st stop – 3 Gorges Dam. The bit of engineering loomed over us and beyond like a big gray troll resting on the Yangtze. Street vendors selling old books about the river called out to us. The tour guide on land led us like a military commander along the dam and through the concrete maze of a park adjacent to it – a monument, a miniature plan of the dam, a huge rock dug out of the Yangtze riverbed. Hours later, we would roast in the noon sun to witness the passing of our cruiser through the ship dock in the dam, where the Xiling Gorge was already standing before us in the distance like a valiant warrior guarding the Yangtze, with its khaki-colored walls of rock rising above us and a ribbon of white slithering at their feet right above water level.

The 3 Gorges Dam

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~ by musafiremes on June 17, 2007.

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