Looking Deeper Into The Yangtze River

The Sydney Morning Herald’s National Travel Editor Anthony Dennis describes his cruise from Chongqing to Shanghai, revealing what makes the Yangtze River attractive from his own perspective after the construction of the Three Gorges Dam project.  In his travel account, he emphasizes the Yangtze River’s heightened maritime importance and claims that travel is not only about the search for beauty, but also about understanding a society’s blemishes.  From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Beyond the Three Gorges Dam, the Yangtze really gets down to business: the river’s channels are clogged with a procession of barge and ferry traffic. The guidebooks dismiss this section of the Yangtze as the least inspiring along the river, dominated as it is by heavy industry and its associated grey industrial cities. Sure, it’s not pretty, but I am impressed by the volume of traffic that passes by the balcony of my berth: barge after barge laden with coal along with the occasional ancient-looking hydrofoil. Ships are stretched single file in designated channels on the river and I learn that it’s cheaper to load lorries fully laden with goods onto ferries, the drivers travelling as passengers, than for them to travel across the country.

[…] It’s at this point of my voyage that the Yangtze, and all the fuss over the fate of the Three Gorges, prompts a question: does one travel to experience beauty alone or to understand a society for all its blemishes? One night, over another chopsticks-on-demand dinner, there’s a consensus among my fellow travellers – aside from a drunk (again) Englishwoman who just wants to get off the ship in Shanghai to shop – that the Three Gorges has represented just one aspect of the cruise, with the opportunity to witness the rise of China at such a seminal moment in its history surpassing even the scenery. [Source]

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