China, October 14,2014 Shanghai to boat
As we left Shanghai we had another learning/buying adventure. In the silk factory we learned about the life cycle of a silkworm to the finished silk product. 70% of the silkworm cocoons are made into silk and 30% are hatched and create another generation. Silk production was a Chinese secret for over 3000 years. The legends as to how the secret was smuggled out of the county vary; a princess smuggled it out in her headdress as a gift for her husband the Prince of
Khotan, refugees smuggled them, or monks took them out in their Bamboo walking sticks. Silk is still an important product of China. We first viewed rugs, as always Eileen’s taste is elegant, she set her eyes on a $14,000 rug that was maybe 16 inches long. The rest of her shopping was spoiled. After rugs it was clothing and scarves.
Traveling on the highways, which are perfect, you become aware of the number of cars that exist around the cities. A 1000 cars a day come into China, to accommodate them all you may only drive on Monday,Wednesday and Friday,if you have a even license plate, odds drive on Tuesday ,Thursday and Saturday, Sunday is for everyone. BMW is the preferred method of transportation, Bus, Metro or Walking.
On the bus we headed for Yichang to board the boat. Before boarding the boat we stopped at another park along the river. We saw a bride and groom having their wedding pictures taken, a group of older ladies practicing a dance with drums and scarves and three young men launched a drone. As we drove through town we saw several restaurants with the staff out in front doing their exercises before opening.
After lunch we boarded the boat. The boat houses 350 passenger, a medical center, a spa, two dining rooms, bar, game rooms, karaoke and many little stores. When we sailed on the Mekong the boat was much smaller. Our group eats 2 meals in the VIP dining room and has access to the VIP lounge for internet.
Boat day 2
I woke up early and went to the deck to do tai chi and take pictures. After breakfast I went to a lecture on Chinese medicine, I volunteered for the acupuncture demonstration. Later I signed up for treatment for my sinuses. When in Rome do as the Romans. It has been a very interesting treatment and experience. Regardless of the outcome I was the only one able to sleep through the late night movement through the locks.
In the afternoon we visited the site of the Three Gorges Dam. The construction of this dam was very controversial. The US and Canada were supposed to provide technical support but they withdrew from the project in 1993. Like the Aswan Dam there are a million pros and cons for the building of the dam. Thousands of people were relocated. They were given money to build new houses in new towns. The environmental repercussions are the same from theHuron River to the Yangzi, change in wildlife, elimination of species, silt build up and in some cases down stream the current is so slow the sewage is not moving, causing the build up of huge cesspools, loss of historical sites and excellent farm land. The size of the dam is smaller than the Hoover Dam, however the reservoir is much larger. The Hoover Dam generates 1345 mega watts, the Three Gorges generates 18200 megawatts.
In the evening we had the Captain’s party and traveled through the lock.
Day 3 boat
The haze hangs over all the mountains creating, from your point of view, mysterious photos or crummy photos.
We docked in Badong and traveled by small boat up the Shennong Stream. The landscape is as you see in fine Chinese paintings. This is a area where many traditional medicines are harvested. The mountains are steep, there is little room for footpaths along the base. People travel by sampans.
There is always entertainment on the boat. This weather has been cooler and damper than any weather we have had.
Day 4 last day on The boat
Our excursion today was to a Relocation Family and a kindergarten. The family talked about the advantages of the relocation. We saw a small garden in the back of the school. We were told it is an illegal garden because it has been planted at the wrong elevation according to government standards. The students at the school were having their singing and dancing time when we arrived. They are to cute for words. It almost made me lonesome for the classroom.