English Version 52
Some place on the Yangtze River.
I sleep from 22.30 to almost 6.30 and wake up Burghard as promised. We eat breakfast and talk. I couln`t have had a better companion. He`s from Kiel and I`m from Copenhagen. There`s not much difference neither in circumstances nor in attitudes.
Then we have to go again, upstream Jiu Wan River. How long does it take? 2 hours.
It`s raining so I have to go back to get my cycling jacket. We have rescue jackets put on. It turns out that we`re put into some long dragon head`ed canooes. There are paddles! But also a motor at the back, quite strong. We have to paddle for a distance (but the motor is still running). We reach a spot where one more side river through a narrow gorge joins the first. Walk up the gorge on a ponton bridge. The gorge is narrowing. When it`s 3 m`s wide and 50? m`s high we enter some stairs. Walk on wooded iron stairs and bridges and one time even through a natural? path through the mountain. Up through a kind of tropic rain forest on almost vertical rocks. As has been the case so many times it`s the most unexpected that gives the deepest impression. The nature is extraordinary and I don`t see the 100 Chinese turists in their many coloured raincoats bought for 5 yuan and all their pictures of themselves in front of the attractions. As usual the heights doesn`t affect me here in nature but in Metropolitan Tower on the 31st floor I forced myself to taking a picture out an open window - just one!
When we`re back down we are sat down at a scene on the river. The Chinese loudspeakers are excellent. The sound is much too loud but what else could you expect in a noisy country like this. It`s probably something from Chinese history or mythology we`re watching but beside the dancing I have time to write my diary. But I wonder if all Chinese have a damaged hearing? How can they stand the sound?
Back again we get tickets for bus no.3 when we get to the dam. This
ship is not going through the ship locks, we`re going by bus to Yichang!
Burghard and I have become very good friends this couple of days. It`s in the air that we`ll meet again. Now I have a place to stay if I get to Berlin and he if he goes to Denmark.
The dam isn`t totally forgotten even we`re not going through the ship locks. First we go by one bus to the dam where 3 Gorges Tourist Company takes over and we go by another bus to the viewing site. It`s so misty that we cannot see the end of the dam, but I`m used to this kind of weather so I don`t care much. Take a couple of hopeless pictures. Then we have to go down to a bridge and cross to the other side, from where we probably can see the whole dam. In the meantime it starts to rain so there`s not much to see. An old man must have entered the fence cause he`s standing fishing under his Chinese hat. There are covered benches and we sit a bit sleepy and enjoy Yangtze in the rain.
Every time I get into a bus and the "talking megaphone" starts I get so sleepy. When we get back to the first bus I fall asleep and sleep all the way to Yichang where the bus station is a bit chaotic. Burghard and I are not going with the ssame bus. We haven`t booked at the same time eigher. There`s just time to exchange tel. no.`s then my bus leaves. 45 min`s later he calls. His bus was full so he won`t be there until one hour later than me. I cannot hear him even I put a finger in my right ear and go back in the bus. But he spells the name of a hotel we`ve talked about from LP, I think I got the most important parts right. Anyway we have to part in the morning, but in a better way I hope. Three Gorges Dam with its 24 generators each producing 700MW (when it`s totally finished) is in the outskirts of the mountains so in no time I`m back into the flat country. Here are many of a new type of houses with two stories here in the Hebei province and I see fields more than 100 m`s long, that`s new.
When we get to Wuhan the driver is uncertain where I have to get off. I`m wondering too. Wuhan is a mix of Hankou, Wuchang and Hanyang and the railway station is according toLP in Wuchang while the hotel we`ve talked about is close to another station in Hankou. We stop and the driver wants to see my ticket. It doesn`t tell him anything because it just says Wuhan. I just thought i`d go as far as the bus went but when he finally asks: "Ni yao qu na ge di fang?" I speak the magic words: "Huoche zhan" - railway station. And now everything`s fine. He was just worrying if he`d take me too long and we apparently get to the train station.
While I`m waiting for Burghard I walk to tha station and with the help of some young Chinese I buy a ticket for Beijing tomorrow night at 21.09. Then I`ll be in Beijing at 6 in the morning. On my way back I find a place to eat and to make it really efficient I find a cheap hotel and have just entered my room and got "kai shui" as they call the hot water here, when B. phones to tell he`s arriving in a few minutes. I walk downstairs to meet him and later we buy a couple of beers and sit together for a while.