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Russell Eagling


Three Gorges

Our trip down the Three gorges started in the metropolis of Chongqing.  Although it is one of China's biggest cities (and can be considered the largest population depending on how you measure it) it doesn't sprawl.  Indeed, all the central parts are squished into a small, very hilly peninsular.  Chongqing people are accommodated in towering blocks that are constantly being built and re-built.  When the people leave their flats during the day the streets clog full of people.  Although there's not much to see and do there, this atmosphere made it one of the most vibrant living spaces we went to.  Like Wuhan, CHongqing is very hot during the summer.  This is one of the "Three Furnaces."  Fun to visit in cool winter, but it might well be a nightmare in summer. 

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Luhan Si

When we visited one of the temples in Chongqing, Ed took the opportunity to fulfil a promise he'd made to his aunt.  He had said he would light a candle for her when he had the chance.

The Luohan temple, felt far more devout than the places we'd seen in Beijing or that we were to see along the three gorges.  They have also gathered over 500 statues of various saints.  These garish creations remind you more of painted medieval gargoyles, rather than the peaceful gurus you might expect.  Walking through the maze of statues was certainly a memorable experience though. 







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The city streets are so steep in Chongqing that no-one rides a bike.  Also large numbers of people will offer to carry your goods up for any distance if you agree the right (dirt-cheap) price.  This was the first time Ed had seen city living outside the reletively affluent cities of Beijing and Harbin.  He rightly fascinated by the streets.  You'll also notice how gray the pictures look.  With the mist, the plaster, the clothes and the lack of decoration, China can be shockingly gray.

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The spectacle of the Three Gorges themselves has clearly suffered from the rising waters from the Three gorges dam.  The building of the dam was palpable from the time we arrived in Chongqing (where over a million people are being resettled from the areas that have been or are going to be flooded) until we saw the actual dam itself.  Lots of houses had a measure outside their front door stating what water level they were at.  Everyone soon got to know the magic figure of 175m which is what the water level will eventually be.  This will submerge many of the things we saw.

We got to have a close-up look at the dam whilst our boat made its way through the locks.  The photos give no sense of the scale of it.

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