Monday 21 August 2006
Highlights: Little Three Gorges, Hanging coffins
The highlight of today was easily a visit to the “Little Three Gorges” and area that before 2003 was not really possible to visit due to low water levels. Now however that the water level has been raised about 70 meters we could go in on a small boat.
It was interesting to see very high bridges that will shortly be submerged and the building activity to replace them. We went pass a small island that still has a working farm. The local farm has until October to get his harvest as the water level will be raised again by 25 meters and the little island will cease to exist. The Chinese government for the most part is permanently removing farms from the hills/cliffs on the sides of the gorge. I’m not sure how farmers have managed to farm this land given the extreme slopes. The plan is to fill this old farm land (the bits not submerged) with trees to help keep the land together and help the environment (which is needed in China).
During the 5 hour visit we would see wooden coffins in the sides of the cliffs (they call them hanging coffins). A local people, who have now disappeared, used to down this type of burial. How they got the coffins into these places is anyone’s guess (the government is still trying to figure it how actually). Unfortunately some of these sites have already been submerged (the coffins are taken to museums). Brett proved a brief introduction to Chinese history in the afternoon, and we all got to laugh at the ‘talent’ show in the evening.
Most of the ferry guests are older people on a very different type of tour to my group, however to their credit they did perform during the talent show while my group (correctly) just watched 🙂