Yangtze: Three Gorges Dam
We began this day with a 1 AM call from our daughter back in NYC – telling us there had been an earthquake in Chengdu. We are a few hours away from there and thankfully have not been impacted by this deadly quake. Chengdu is where the famous Chinese Panda Preserve is located, and a popular spot to visit. News reports indicate the Pandas are OK; it was only about five years ago they were severely impacted by another quake where 87,000 residents were killed.
Still chilly and now foggy, we set off to see the Three Gorges Dam. Building the Dam has been a huge project resulting in the relocation of 1.3 million Chinese locals, and the flooding of dozens of villages and historic areas along the Yangtze River. The Dam was completed in 2009, and has been providing electricity for many parts of China. Plagued with controversy and problems, we heard stories of both sadness and triumph surrounding the project.
We visited the Three Gorges Dam Exhibition Center and then a beautiful park for a better view of the dam. But fog and pollution, or some combination of both, made it very difficult to take a good picture of this massive structure, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world. They say the Dam creates its own micro-climate, but it seems to me that pollution is a huge factor.
We then traveled downstream, through the remaining (eastern) portion of the Xiling Xia gorge towards our final destination of Yichang. Yichang was very grey and didn’t hold much promise for anything of real interest. It is a small Chinese city by comparison-only 1.3 million residents that has grown up due to the work on the Dam. The one thing notable were the lovely private homes being built – the first of their kind we have seen in China. The avenue and parks along the river would be lovely on a clear day –if and when that ever occurs. . . .
Off to the airport for our Shanghai Air flight to Shanghai. All I can say about our arrival in this beautiful, modern metropolis – is, wow. The view of the Bund at night from our room on the 27th floor of the Shangri-La Pudong is amazing. Can’t wait to see more!
Tip of the day: Get off the ship, do not pass “go”, do not collect $100, just get to the airport and leave ASAP.