Other than the Panda Sanctuary there is little else to recommend to see in Chegdu. It is a pleasant enough place with a pleasant promenade along the Jin river. However, a little anecdote here might amuse. Whilst here we needed to access some Vietnamese Dong. Of course one goes to a bank….surprise surprise, we asked the teller if we could have some Dong….”no” they had no Dong….We asked could we have Dollars, “no” they couldn’t give us Dollars. As we were about to leave, the teller spoke to another bank official in a suit who spoke english and said,” just wait a minute and I’ll make a call.” We looked at each other, thinking “what the dickens is going on”? Moments later a man drove up in a car and walked into this swish bank foyer, opened a rather nice leather business case in which there was wadges of cash. Having established how much “in dollars” (still no dong)” we needed, he proceeded to swiftly count out (at the speed of light)(186,400 mps in case you’re interested) the requisite amount. We left the bank bemused and in stunned silence.
In order to get to the Yangste river ferry we had to make it over to Yichang in Hubei province. After a fourteen hour train journey we checked into the Boha Art Hotel in Yichang. It’s the second largest city after Wuhan which is the capital of the province. The Three Gorges Dam is here, naturally we went up to view it. It was the biggest project going on in the world at the time of its construction.

After spending the day walking around it and it’s environs we went back to Yichang to spend the night only to return again the following evening to catch the ferry. Prior to boarding the following evening we were treated to a theatre show which was an artistic representation of the peoples struggle with the Yangste over time. The Yangste , culpable for the killing many people during times of flood, so the small communities dotted along its shores had stories to tell. What stunned us was not so much the show, but the complete lack of “good grace” on the part of the audience”. They were chatting animatedly  between themselves whilst stuffing all manner of things down their throats and even making phone calls to their kith and kin at much elevated volume which undermined any sense of respect for the players and the story line that was going on in front of them on the stage.

Asian Time

Although the damn project displaced many thousands of people causing the opprobrium of the west, it has provided much needed power to all those communities remaining with the added bonus of stopping the perennial flooding and facilitating controlled irrigation for those farmers that are left.
We had booked a four day trip back “up river” to Chongqing.