We left Lhasa, very regretfully for me, on an early flight to Chonqing (pronounced chunCHING), the most industrialized city in China. We spent the afternoon at a museum devoted to the Three Gorges – the dam, the relocation of relics, towns and families, and the scenery. It goes without saying that this very controversial project was described in the most positive of terms, as if all of the relocated people, many of whom had lived in their towns and villages for many generations, were thrilled to be bought out and moved. I have read books about this but it was another experience watching a film about it in 360 degrees. It was only in Chinese and I was the only non-Chinese person there, but language wasn't so necessary. There were three reasons to construct this biggest dam in the world: to prevent frequent down-river flooding, to create hydro-electric power, and to widen the river so that it would no longer be necessary to restrict river trade to one direction at a time in places.
Here is a common museum picture.
After dinner we drove to the pier to board our Yangtze River cruise boat, the Victoria Sophia, an American-owned, Chinese operated boat, complete with a drum and bugle fanfare by half a dozen musicians as we boarded.
A view of Chonqing by night, of course with all the buildings lit up, as the boat pulled out.
My cabin is on the fourth of five cabin levels (one down from the top) and it has a balcony facing south as we cruise downstream about 400 miles over the next three days. This is lucky for me: I'll be closer to the shore and will be able to see better. The boat is nearly empty – only 40 people out of a capacity of 180. As I write this the boat has just started moving. I am tired and welcome the rest.