Monday - November 4th - Yangtze River Cruise

We arrive in port at 4:30 am. The ship's twin beacon lights turn off just as I ready to take a picture of them.

It's breakfast at 5:30 am and everyone's ready to go to the excursion to the White Emperor City founded during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD).

A ferry takes us to the city and after disembarking, Seth looks at the steps going up to the city and decides to just hang out. There are porters who will carry tourists in lawn chairs, but Seth isn't interested, though Chie-Mie and I sense a missed photo-op.

Looking down from the White Emperor City

Chie-Mie likes to counts the number of steps one has to climb on these excursions, I lose count but 800 steps sounds good to me. Even the guide is huffing and puffing as she climbs up the stairs.

Morning mist at the White Emperor City

At the top is a ski lift to the museum and temple complex. Even if we wanted to climb the rest of the way to the top, we don't have enough time. Our guide, Chie-Mie and I bully Earl into taking the ski lift. “C'mon, Earl, you've come this far, you have to go with us the rest of the way”.


The ski lift ticket has view of White Emperor City and Qutang gorge

The museum has a wooden coffin representative of the many that were found along the Yangtze cave cliffs from the ancient Ba people, along with other goodies. There are Tang poems inscribed on tablets and other artifacts. Our guide reads a poem in Chinese so that we can hear the music of the language.

View of the first gorge of Qutang from the White Emperor City

Back on board, we sail through the first gorge of Qutang which is depicted on the five yuan note.

Sailing through the gorges

We have early lunch at 11 and then run outside to see the Wu Gorge which is enchanting with its various shapes. I get incredibly trigger happy with my camera.


The afternoon excursion is to Shennong Stream. We again take a ferry and then board little skiffs in groups of 15. The boatmen use bamboo cane poles to push us upstream along with 4 men pulling the boat along on the shore.

Our guide tells us that the boatmen used to go naked being in the water all the time. They now are civilized and wear shorts and t-shirts. Too bad. The stream is clear and looks wonderfully inviting. It is quite warm here and the pebbles are very pretty.

The boatman jumps out of the boat to help pull the skiff off the rocks and gives Chie-Mie one of the pebbles. Our guide explains that the pebble has a flower pattern on it and therefore to be prized. Lucky Chie-Mie. We are treated to Chinese folk songs as the boatmen pull us along the stream. Earl's enthralled.

Our boat mates

It's time for dinner, then it's a rush to get off the boat and catch a bus to the hotel. We climb through four other boat's crew cabins and galleries to get to the bus, passing incoming food bags of greens and grains. We spend the night at the four star 3 Gorges Hotel. It's a real treat at this point in our trip.

View from 3 Gorges Hotel

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