Xi'an, An ancient City, beginning of the Silk Road, and location of the world famous Terra Cotta Warriors
and our 3 day River Cruise trip to the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze


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It was actually raining on us (well, a slight sprinkle) when we arrived at the great wall city of Xi'an. This did not stop us from being
presented with individual keys to the city and given a really warm welcome in an ancient tradition. That was completely unexpected and
was perhaps the most colorful and wonderful individual cultural event of the entire trip.

The Terra Cotta warriors. An army of over 8000 full sized, quite individual and unique, terra cotta statues, taking 700,000 workers to
complete over a 39 year period, was produced around 200 B.C. by emperor Ying Sheng.

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Shown is but one of 3 major pits. Their existence was discovered by a few of farmers digging a well in 1974. It is perhaps one of the
greatest archaeological discoveries of all times, its very existence unknown--lost to history--until then. Further searches in the area have
been put on hold, we are told, because the local populace fears that further exploration might make discoveries which could literally
undermine/destroy the present city. Enough is enough!

BigGooseThe "Big Goose" Pagoda, built in mid-600 A.D. is another world famous Xi'an attraction, unusual in that it is a Buddhist temple.
(Explore this great link for LOTS of info!)
And, another merchant stop to purchase jewelry, statuary, etc.Xian 5

Chongquin

From Xi'an, another flight to Chongquin where our lovely guide,
"Windy" took us to see an artworks and then boarded us on our
River boat.

 

Many modern Chinese girls, by the way, have adopted Western names.
Windy chose hers because she liked the idea of the wind going
everywhere. Most are able to select their own names, but some are
simply assigned by teachers and stick!

 

Here Caroline and Windy pose for me as we enter the ship and say
goodbye to her.

 

Bar

 

 

 


And here's the ship's bar and entertainment area where I spent a few
minutes of the cruise. This is also an area where Internet connectivity
was available for a paltry $7 for the entire cruise! Great!

On the left below some wild monkeys can be seen along the river bank on a
side excursion (we are in the sub tropics, after all). Yeah, you'll have to look
really, really close--perhaps drag the shot to your desktop and open it. On
the right is a shot of a rock formation that we are told is one of the most
written about (poetically) outcroppings in China. Something about a
Princess climbing a rock.... Uh, huh. I've done a bit of research and can't
come up with anything.

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Before engines were introduced on the Yangtze, a culture called Trackers hauled heavy cargo craft upstream, pulling them by ropes. The pathway
shown cut into the solid rock in the picture to the left was made by these trackers so they could haul cargo even at high water levels. They were the
lowest of the low, the poorest of the poor, and many died falling or being dragged to their deaths from the cliffs. Soon all traces of this group will
be forever lost to the rising water behind the Three Gorges Dam.

trackersSatelite

A careful look at this farmer's home along the river shows a satellite receiver! His home, too, along with most of his farm will soon be covered
by the rising waters, which will reach some 175 meters above the original river bottom.

GuanyinThe Thousand Hand Guanyin Dance was presented for us by 11 of our
ships young crew members. It was quite beautifully done. Originally
meant for a single observer (the emperor or high official) it is best and
most magically viewed from the absolute front. For a really beautiful
video see it performed by a much larger group of girls. Amazing. Just
click on the link above.

Dam

It was very foggy outside the morning we got to the 1.2 mile Three Gorges Dam so Photos didn't turn out well. Here's a shot I did take of
the model at the dam. It has a 5 lock dam sequence-a left and right series to accommodate both up and down river traffic, and a single elevator
for relatively small ships. There are a bazillion pictures of this controversial dam are available on the net. I took over 90 pictures while on the
Yangtze but because many people still have dialup connections, I've decided not to use any more of them to save download time for viewers.

 

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