Wuhan and the Yangtze River Journey
From Xian, we flew to Wuhan and the start of our Yangtze River Journey. Wuhan has one of the most incredible museums in China in the Hubei Provincial Museum with artifacts from the tomb of the Marquis Yi of Zeng State (around 433). What makes it so remarkable besides all the wonderful artifacts that were found intact was the fact that the Marquis was an music lover and had entombed with him, the entire orchestra of musical instruments that were used at the time including a complete set of the Imperial Bells. While there, we had the pleasure of hearing a full size replica of the bells in concert and in fact, these same replica bells have toured the world including a stop in Indianapolis where we heard them for the first time in 1989.
Here is where we boarded our Yangtze river cruise boat, the Victoria3 for the trip up the Yangtze to Chongqing They Yangtze river nearly divides China in half north to south and nearly a third of the population of China lives near the river. It starts in the Tibet plateau in the west and runs to the East China Sea near Shanghai. It is the third longest river in the world at 6380km and third largest by water volume.
The Yueyang Tower on the shores of Dongting lake (the third largest fresh water lake in China) is a small tower but a very important one in China. Inside are two very famous poems by a poet and one by Mao.
The Yangtze is often called the "Road to the Sky" because of its source high in the mountains of Tibet at the "High and Appointed Mountain" on a plateau that is 6621m high.
Near Yichang, we went through the only working set of locks on our trip at Gezhouba. When the 3 Gorges dam project is completed, there will be two other sets of locks to traverse. The first of the three gorges that we traveled is the Xiling, the longest one at 40 miles.
The Three Gorges Dam project in China is probably the most controversial project undertaken in years. When completed in 2009, it will be the world's largest dam measuring 606 feet (185 meters) high and 6500 feet (2335 meters) long. These pictures show it well under way. The Dam will raise the water level here 325 feet, it will flood 632 square miles of terrain including 13 cities, 140 towns, innumerous villages, and displace over 1.3 million people. A massive disruption that many today still say is foolish, unwise, and dangerous. According to the Chinese government, the real benefit will be to control the severe flooding that takes place quite often on the river. That flooding killed 4,000 in 1998 and 140,000 in 1934. Another casualty will probably be the Yangtze river dolphins who are heading for extinction. Go see larger panoramas of either 794x180 (48K) or 2151x477 (295K) pixels in size.
So, from here, now More of the Yangtze River Journey.

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