Saturday was a travel day into the interior of China. First, we flew for two hours on a China East airline from Shanghai to Wuhan, whereupon we boarded a bus and traveled another six hours until we reached our river cruise ship, the Victoria Katrina, in Maoping. After a quick night of sleep, we arose to eat breakfast and depart on a tour of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. The largest dam and water conservation project in the world, the Three Gorges Dam took seventeen years to construct. The main purpose of the construction was to control the river of the severe flooding with its corresponding loss of life that had occurred throughout the centuries on this third longest river in the world that has over 700 tributaries. Next, the river is a source of hydroelectric power, providing three percent of China’s power for its nation of 1.4 billion people. Since the dam would hold back a huge volume of water and thus raise the level of the river, the government, which owns all property in the nation, relocated millions of people to new cities created above the new water levels. The Chinese are naturally proud of this marvelous feat of engineering.
In the afternoon we visited the Tribe of the Three Gorges in the Xiling Gorge. The tranquil and serene setting that was attained via foot featured a crystal clear river/stream and a beautiful waterfall surrounded by towering forest-covered hills. Old water mills and wooden fishing boats intermingled with intricately carved wooden buildings. People in colorful clothing representative of the local tribe were interspersed along the pathway, some singing, some playing Chinese musical instruments. It was a 2 1/2 mile walk, but the weather was pleasant and we were mesmerized by the beauty as we learned about the culture and customs of the indigenous Tujia people. Arriving back at the cruise boat, we enjoyed a good Chinese dinner. Too tired, Kathy and I skipped the captain’s reception and evening entertainment and went to sleep in our small but comfortable suite. WEG