Shear rock face cliffs and jagged peaks were the norm along the Da Ning River making for some spectacular scenery. While there were no level markers indicating how high the DA Ning will rise when the dam is completed, you could imagine that much of this scenery, including the small rocky beaches where we stopped, would be flooded forever. The landscape of these Lesser Three Gorges will forever change and, I'm afraid, it won't be an improvement. The dramatic scenes along the DA Ning will forever be tamed by the rising waters of the dam. What a shame!

Shear rock cliffs

Jagged peaks

Converted tourist sampan
now someone's home

The river was a flurry of activity
with many boats ferrying tourists

Anne sitting in the less-crowded
rear of the sampan

Goats grazing at the river's edge
All along the river's shore there was much to look at. When the scenery wasn't spectacular with its shear vertical cliffs and jagged peaks, we enjoyed much simpler fare ... like the goats grazing (left) on the shore. But one of the more enjoyable sights along the river were the wild monkeys. We've all seen monkeys before in zoos so it was a real treat to observe them in the wild.

Wild monkeys in the trees (photo by John)

Monkeys sitting on the rocks
We all surmised that the tour operators regularly feed them along this particular stretch of the river. It's the only place we saw them and there were many other similar areas but no monkeys. Who cares? We definitely enjoyed seeing them. If only the weather had been sunnier and the boat going a bit slower the pictures would have been better.
The sampan crew consisted of the captain who steered the boat and three men who stayed on the bow. It was their job to assist the boat over the shallow areas when the rush of the water was the greatest. They used bamboo poles to push the boat forward. There were several times when they worked hard to get us over the shallow parts. I should mention that the time of the year we were there was approaching the Yangtze's lowest water level of the year. We were told the cruise ships only had two weeks left until the end of the season because the water level would be to low to continue until the winter runoff begins in the Spring.
On our way down river the crew extended a large wooden pole from the bow of the sampan. I'm not sure the purpose of the pole and can only guess it might be used to insure that the sampan didn't run into another boat in front of it. Looking at it you'll see that it definitely appears to be dangerous. If a side collision between two boats occurred the pole would definitely have extended through the passenger cabin. One crewman also stood on the bow holding a white flag to verify to meeting boats that safe passage was possible.

The extended pole and white flag

Children wave from shore

An friendly crew member

A view from the front of the sampan
showing the group getting the
sales pitch from our local tour guide

Close proximity of
sampans on the
return journey

On our way downstream I ventured out onto the bow of the ship. The crew greeted me and provided a pillow for me to sit on and take pictures. One of the crew members (picture right) tried hard to communicate with me. Unfortunately his English and my Chinese were nonexistent. Instead of using words he began to use gestures. He obviously liked my beard and tried to tell me that the only way he could, through his hand gestures and expressions. Later, toward the end of the cruise, he sat next to me and again tried to communicate his age. I'll never forget the last thing he said to me. He tried to communicate it through hand gestures and words, but I couldn't understand him. I asked Mei, our tour escort to translate for me. He was telling me that we were now good friends, the Chinese and the Americans, him and I. I thought that was very nice of him to even think of communicating something like that. And I found it typical of the Chinese that we met during our trip. They were all very friendly toward us.

As we left the sampan I couldn't help but wonder how his livelihood might be affected by the flooding. It's possible that it could disappear.

Before we knew it our excursion up the DA Ning River was over and we were back aboard the Princess Elaine heading upriver toward Chongqing.
Sailing on the Yangtze and looking at the many cities and towns along the river, like above, knowing
that they will, for the most part, disappear in the next year you can't begin to imagine what the
Chinese people are going through. Millions are being resettled to higher, less fertile ground. Many
are forced out of their homes that their families have lived in for centuries. All for the sake of
progress, modernization, power and flood control. The one good thing about damming the Yangtze
is the flood control it will provide. It will save hundreds of thousands of lives in the coming years.
Now, back on the Yangtze, we were headed into the last and final gorge, the Wu Gorge. The Qutang Gorge was the smallest of the three gorges and the narrowest. Join us on the next page for pictures from the Wu Gorge ...
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Welcome to our China 2001 Photo Album
Planning and Getting there: Grand Circle Tours and Northwest Airlines
Beijing : Arriving in Beijing | Tiananmen Square | The Imperial (Forbidden) Palace (1) | The Imperial Palace (2) | The Nine Sons of the Dragon
The Imperial Palace Garden | The Summer Palace | Summer Palace (2) | Summer Palace (3) | Summer Palace (4) | Local Beijing Market
Local Beijing Market (2) | Hutong | Bell Tower | Hutong Family, Dinner and the Opera | Cloisonné Factory | Ming Tombs | Ming Tombs (2)
Great Wall of China at Ba Da Ling | Temple of Heaven
Shanghai : Arriving Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden | Yuyuan Garden (2) | The Temple of the Jade Buddha | The Bund | Day Excursion to Suzhou
Silk Process | The Administrator's Garden of Suzhou | Shanghai Museum of Art
Cruising the Yangtze River : Yangtze Cruise, Day 1 | Yangtze Cruise, Day 2 | The Xiling and Wu Gorge | The Lesser Three Gorges
The Lesser Three Gorges (2) | The Qutang Gorge | Wanxian | The Last Day of Cruising | Regal China Cruise Lines
Chongqing : Chongqing
Xi'an : Xi'an and Emperor Qin's Terracotta Warriors | Emperor's Qin's Terracotta Warriors (2) | Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Xi'an City Wall
Quilin : The Limestone Peaks of the Li River | The Limestone Peaks of the Li River (2) | Guilin and the Childrens Park | Children's Park (2) and Reed Flute Cave
The Hotels: Hotels, rail and air travel in China
Hong Kong : Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay and Aberdeen Fishing Village | Hong Kong at Sunset | Hong Kong Bird & Flower Market
| New Territories Fishing Village | Hong Kong Farewell Dinner
Bangkok : Jim Thompson House and Golden Buddha | The Flower Market | The Food Vendors | Grand Palace | Mystical Figures | Brightly Painted Masks on Mystical Figures
Golden Mystical Figures | Buildings of the Grand Palace | Lunching at the Shangri La Hotel | Loy Nava Rice Barge Cruise | Ayutthaya, Ancient Capital of Siam
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol and the Reclining Buddha | Bang Pa In, The Summer Palace |

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