The Second and Third Gorges
Today I woke up, had some morning tea and went for a 4 mile run on the treadmill. I have to stay in shape so I can run the great lakes relay a few weeks after I get back. I was sweating up a storm and was a bit late to breakfast. Some of my friends commented on me as I ran.
Breakfast was bad as usual, a combination of crappy american and some chinese. I tried this very hot pickled stuff and it totally reminded me of Korean food.
We arrived at our destination port to get off for our excursion and found that we were unable to dock due to a large size fire that had occured on a passenger ship. It was pretty crazy and it delayed our excursion into the narrow canals to see the second and third gorges. These required us to get on a smaller ship to see the second gorge and a very small wooden traditional chinese canoe to see the third. Anyway, back to the fire, it finally stopped and moved away. We saw the damage up close as we docked to our second ship. While traveling through the second gorges we saw much more interesting things along the way. Our guide pointed out a hanging coffin in which ancient civilizations either found a hole or created a hole in the steepest wall on the gorge to be used as a burial. It was difficult to see, but we found it. There was apparently monkeys around, but were also difficult to see because of the distance and the trees. But that was okay because the gorges were as close and beautiful as ever. I have been shooting many minutes of videos on these. I will compile a very nice movie DVD for myself when I get home. We came across islands that will be completely covered by 2009 and many more things that will be gone. Even at the end of the trip I bought a book commenmorating all of the things that we have seen that will be underwater. The China government is doing its best to either move or rebuild things, but the land East of the dam will be forever changed. When I read this book, the translation to english was very broken and they had to of used a computer to translate the book. In the book there was also original coins that were used by the early settlers of the gorges. This river we were going down used to never be a river and was a creek that could be crossed by foot. While criusing in the larger boat, we approached many fisherman and also a family that had climbed down from the top of this 3000 meter mountain (a dangerous hike) and were waiting for a taxi to go into town. I videotaped them and yelled "Ni Hao!" There were many kids in the group and they were yelling as well. It was cute.
Next we got to the first stop where we changed to the traditional boat. The Global Holidays group, AKA Oakland University got on its own boat. We had a cute little local guide who sang us traditional mountain love songs and who brought these traditional mountain man clothing. A kind of dark and grassy hat and shawl. I was up in the front and he invited me to put on the clothing for pictures. Dr. Stamps took a ton of funny poses that I did.. these will definitely be Susans favorites of the trip. They are somwhat similar to the sock photo (beautiful backgrounds and funny poses). This section of the gorges, although a medium size tourist trap with many boats of chinese going back and forth, was the most beautiful of the boat ride thus far. You will just have to see the videos. After the local guide sang, a person mentioned to me that I should go up to sing a song similar to them, but to only use Japaneese and Chinese manufacturers like Toyota, Nintendo, Mitsubishi in place of their chinese words. I did it and Dr. Stamps videotaped me with the mic. It was pretty funny.
Most of the way back I talked a lot with another local guide who explained many questions I had about the informaiton provided in my book. It is really sad that the water will overwhelm this area when the dam is finished. Once we were back on the boat we had lunch and I was mostly distracted by learning oragami. I made the classic boob and bra fold and everyone at my table cracked up. A worker saw my advanced skills with the bra oragami and I asked her if she knew of some more folds. She showed me how to make a rose out of a cloth napkin. Now I know how to make a rose out of paper or cloth. Pretty neat. It is hard to describe all of what I eat to you guys, but almost every single meal is pretty phenominal. I am not eating dog or cat and that is only done in some remote parts of asia. I will try to pay attention to names more. But definitely when I get back to the states, I will not just be eating Almond Chicken everytime.
The mid afternoon I got on the net some more and also practiced our skit for tonights talent show. Some of my friends in our group had an idea to play out this old fable called Ming Lao and his mountain. Many Chinese people do not know of this fable and it is probably an American tale that takes place in China. It basically goes a little something like this, Ming Lao and hiw wife have problems with boulders and rain ruining thier home at the bottom of the mountain. His wife tells him to see the wise man and he repeats this three times with no avail trying different things to try to move the mountain away from his house. The wise man finally says to pack up all their belongings and says to close their eyes and do the dance of the mountain. Taking steps backward, Ming Lao's sees that the mountain has moved.
We practiced the play once and just totally winged it when we performed later that night. After I got done with that, I passed a side room where Daniel, them main guide on our boat, was teaching some westerners how to play Majongg. I have always wanted to play and learn and I am so glad I stopped by.... I had so much fun playing and it is a lot like rummy. Now I will probably buy a majongg set to teach my friends. It is really cool knowing how to play because maybe I can gamble with the locals sometime. That would be an experience because they are so good and play in the streets all the time.
The rest of the night consisted of dinner, transfering my pictures to my MP3 player and the show. Later that night I was talking to a local kite artist who works on the boat and everyone was asleep so I asked him to play Majongg with a new guy in my group. We never got a forht player, but at least we taught a new person. It was a good day. Talk to you guys later.