Cruising the Yangtze at night doesn't leave a lot of exciting things to see. With the exception of some small villages and farming communities there isn't anything to see. Occasionally, as we approached a bigger city, we could see headlights from cars as they negotiated the passages between the mountains and valleys, but we never actually saw any cars. It was just darkness for the most part. The ship, however, would light the shoreline in the direction we were traveling so the helmsman could steer a steady course and not run aground. For the most part our nights were spent quietly. Dinner followed by a stroll or two around the deck, perhaps a stop at the lounge for a drink and chat with some friends, and then it was back to the room for a movie and a good night's rest. No, it wasn't that early, but speaking of early ... another disadvantage of organized tours. Most of the time you have to be up early in preparation for the day's events. On the ship we were usually up by 6:15 or 6:30 a.m. the latest to insure that we'd get breakfast. After breakfast we were off the boat by 8:30 a.m. for the day's excursions to the Lesser Three Gorges and, today, the city of Wanxian.

Wanxian is a city of millions that you've probably never heard of. Many cities in China have populations in the millions that we've never heard of so that shouldn't be surprising. The purpose of our visit was to get a firsthand view of a city soon to be flooded by the rising dam waters of the Yangtze and the efforts the Chinese are expending to resettle the population to higher ground. In Wanxian we would also visit a museum and a local market.

An old man using an ancient Chinese
way of carrying heavy objects

The dollar people

The waiting buses
Take a look at the rightmost picture above. I know it's difficult to see, but you can just make out the water in the center left of the picture. From the water to where the buses were parked there was at least a fifty foot difference in elevation and the distance between the water and the buses was strewn with litter and garbage. That distance was the safety zone for when the Yangtze is running at its deeper levels in the Spring. In many cities we observed steep steps from the water's edge to the city. Some numbering in the hundreds. I know I, for one,wouldn't have been happy if I had to climb them. I'd never have made it.

Wanxian from the Princess Elaine
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the city as our tour was a quick bus tour and it was virtually impossible to take any pictures from the bus. It was interesting though. We saw many abandoned buildings scheduled for demolition, whole streets where the residents had been moved to higher ground. On one street they were removing all of the trees for replanting at a higher elevation. This was remarkable. They cut almost every limb off and the roots also, so what they were left with to plant was just the main trunk of the tree. We don't see how the trees could survive such trimming, but they obviously do since we saw them planting the trees later on.
Our first stop in Wanxian was at the local museum. There wasn't much there with the exception of a hanging coffin.

A 2,000 year-old hanging coffin
made from wood and petrified
over time

Model of how
the coffins would
be hung along
the cliff

The inhabitants of the hanging coffin.
As it was explained to us, two people
were buried in the one coffin. The
second person was sacrificed

Acrobats in training

From the museum we headed to a theater to observe one of the smaller training schools for the acrobats. In Shanghai we had observed the professionals and, now, those in training. The Chinese take acrobatics seriously and they are extremely good at it. While this wasn't as spectacular as the five motorcycles in the steel cage, it was a very good and enjoyable short presentation.

From the school we headed over to the local market. The local markets in China, as I've said before, are very exciting to visit and take pictures. They're so different from what we are accustomed to that they command your complete attention while strolling through them. Enjoy the pictures from the local market.

The bus dropped us off at the top of the street and we quickly made our way past the tourist stalls
(left) and the dollar people to the vegetable, meat and flower market. Above right, Mei helps Faye
with a purchase from one of the vendors.

Beautiful flowers and
ripe oranges for sale

Some known and exotic
fruits for sale

Fresh green vegetables
It's impossible to tell you what was in the pans above for sale. I wasn't necessarily drawn to them
because they looked or smelled appetizing. I was drawn by the bright colors and the patterns
they presented for pictures.

Anyone like hare for dinner?

Live chickens, ducks and rabbits

Live chicken and ducks were
placed in plastic bags for
the walk back home

Fresh fish

Sidewalk cook

Anne standing by the fruits. Many times we would
buy and try the fruits. As long as you can peel
them it was safe to eat them.
Our allotted time to visit the market had come to an end. It was now time to return to the bus and set sail on the Princess Elaine for Chongqing, 375 miles upriver from Wanxian. Join us on the next page for the last pictures of the Yangtze and the few pictures we took in Chongqing ...
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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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