Posts Tagged With: costume

INDIA, DEHLI, CHANDIN CHOWK MARKET

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Dehli is the capitol city of India, a diverse, swarming polyglot of people, vehicles, shops and sights. I traveled with my Grandson Theo, who posed with our Dehli City Guide, Manju, as we loaded into bicycle rickshaws at Chandin Chowk Market.

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Here members of our group load in with a pre-arranged group of rickshaw drivers. Otherwise we’d be besieged by any driver trying to pick up a customer. The rules are, traffic is heavy, the driver may make a sudden stop. Brace your feet and hold on tight.

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As we begin, it is a bit disconcerting because our driver is going against the flow of traffic. Doesn’t it matter what side of the street you drive on?

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We are soon in the midst of the traffic and we are astonished at how varied and interesting the traffic is. Cars, along with trucks and people walking, motors, and tuk tuks, the green and yellow motors that serve as cabs are mixed together in what seems an impossible ability to get anywhere.

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Vendors walk among the traffic selling goods if they can.

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This is just business, nothing unusual.

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Traffic is slow. No one gets hurt and at some point you realize that driving a car might just be impractical. dsc09298-copy

These school boys, you know by their uniforms, are not the least bit upset by being crowded into a rickshaw and holding on to the outside.

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There are times the rickshaw is practically touching a tuk tuk and at one point a car was calling up to our driver,  indicating he wanted him to watch out for his side mirror which he was covering with his hand to avoid a miner collision.

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At an intersection we see one of those famous “loads” you see in pictures on the internet. People here work very hard and they carry impossible loads.

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We are getting closer to our destination but traffic never let’s up.

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The rickshaws take us to Jama Masjid, the biggest temple in India where 25,000 people can worship in their square. We will return by bus. More Tomorrow.

 

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SILLY ME, I THOUGHT I WAS FREE.

Adware is so ominous, it boggles the brain. After a couple of free hours on my computer, the ads were back, taking over, interfering with everything I tried to do on my computer. The company I paid, put in another half day. It gave me an evening of productive use of my computer. Then, back it came. Frustration is just a word. I wanted to pitch this computer in the garbage and I could feel steam coming out of my ears. A hell week.

It was no better this morning, as I left for an appointment with my tax man. I chose flooring at Lowes for the new house before returning home.  I changed default browsers just now and I’m finally putting words on this page. Temporarily, anyway.

Not that I have anything of great import to convey, but it has been a trusty habit to communicate via these pages, and sort of journal what happens around me.

Sometimes it is misfortune that gathers families together. My cousin Bob Moore was in town with his inlaws who live in Murphys, after we had met two days earlier at a funeral for his nephew, my kid’s cousin, Barry Moore, only 48 years young.

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Brother Bill and cousin, Bob Moore at the end of the table on a beautiful sunny, Sunday morning.  His Mother-in-law Marilyn, daughter Leslie, and across from them,  my grandson Stewart and daughter-in-law Laurie. We like to meet for brunch at the Magnolia Cafe.

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This is my breakfast burrito with eggs, potatoes, beans, tomatos and turkey chorizo.

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At the other end of the gathering, Leslie’s brother Brian and my son Ken. As we age we think it unfortunate that the only time we get family together is funerals and weddings.

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Magnolia is a local hangout on the hiway, but I discovered this particular Sunday that the tourists have discovered it too. They tend to stay downtown, but I saw New York license plates and plenty of cars with skis on top. I complain but I shouldn’t. I know what it is like to try and make a go of a business in  a small town like Murphys.

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Then, on March 21st, I went downtown to check out Murphys Irish Day. They have a parade and all types of food and drink from both locals and out-of-towners who bring their wares to tempt us all.

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Irish Day is now sponsored by the Community Club. They have permission from Cal-Trans to paint a couple of huge four leaf clovers on he street. It wasn’t always so. Jim Riggs, a local businessman and his buddy Bob Bliss,g four-leaf clover, and then have a whoop-de-do at his place of business with corned beef and whatever anyone wanted to share. One year, the Highway Patrol lay in wait and he was  arrested, but Judge Airola dismissed the case and let  him out with orders: “Do not paint the street again-this year.” After drinking a good bit of beer, the line was often pretty crooked, but we did have fun. Now, it’s a big shindig, pretty tidy and raises money for local causes.

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My favorite part of Irish Days used to be the parade.

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And having assisted in several of them in the past, I especially appreciate the horses. It was a struggle at times to afford the insurance to have horses in the parades, especially since some of the old cowhands, half tanked up, used to gallop at the end of the parade and then nose through the swinging doors of he Murphys Hotel and order a drink from their horse. Another arrest put a stop to that practice.

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The wild has gone out of the west in some respects but we do appreciate the tidy pooper-scooper who follows the horses and puts things right again.

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Now my favorite part of Irish Days is the food choices. Oh, my. Where else are you going o find Asian fusion barbecue chicken on a stick and bacon wrapped bratwurst in the same booth?

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And, Dogz On The Run. (Gotta feed the kids, too.)

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And, chocolate dipped goodies. Hey, why not. Ever since some guy decided to deep fry a twinkie dipped and fried treats abound.

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Now, let me tell you, I like ’em all. But, poor me, I’m having a bit of stomach trouble and couldn’t eat or drink anything at the street fair. I was bummed about that.

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No Ethnic group was left out.

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I couldn’t manage a green beer, but green lemonade?  It’s okay. But I passed.

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I did some people watching…

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A lot of people really get into the spirit of the day, and dress the part.

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This guy told me his wife did his tattoo. Neat, with cool  green shoes. St. Paddy woulda been proud if he was sober.

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I might go back for that free beer. I need a sign like that.

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Now this is something every good beer drinker needs for his kegger party. Yeah!

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The green wig reminded me of the purple one I bought for Mardi Gras, still in the Motor Home. I should have chosen green, then it would be good for two festivals.

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I looked into every booth. There were over 200 of them. These crystal pieces caught my eye because I have a friend who beads. They were quite nice, but I have enough jewelry that I already don’t wear.

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I liked this multi-media painting from the Bonsack Gallery because that is how I used to swing as a kid. High enough to turn upside down. Check out the band-aid on her knee.

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She and her husband are both locals. They have two galleries, one locally in Arnold. Her paintings tend to go right off the canvas.

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Well, I had a lot of fun. Saw a lot of fun costumes, people and some good music.

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For me, there is always something that triggers a past memory. I once had a friend, Lila Suiter, a Commander in the Navy who used to say, especially when she had one too many cocktails, “When I retire, I’m going to raise Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys.”  This miniature pony reminded me of Lila. Salud! Old friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NO PARADE BUT GOT THE GHOST STORY

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Today is St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated in Murphys yesterday. Since my mail is by the pound, I read a notice the parade would be on Sunday. I stumbled onto the corrected date in a later notice. Went late, missed the parade, had a good beer, enjoyed the green hair, the bands, and best of all, I got a ghost story.

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Not everyone wears green hair, of course, but everyone has fun. I know this guy is bald, so he enjoyed his hair and later let everyone try it on.

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Others take their costumes seriously, as this young man very authentically dressed.

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At 3:30 in the afternoon, the pony rides were starting to pack up and leave.

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The main band stand on the street was  still pumping out tunes.

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There were a lot of places to sit, and Jan and I enjoyed a huge pretzel at Cactus Jacks. I had my first dark beer since getting home. The woman on the right is holding the tallest green margarita I’ve ever seen. They were all over town.

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Jack’s rock band was so loud and the dance floor so crowded, we sat outside and still had to shout at each other to be heard.

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Jan doesn’t drink but a sip of wine now and then. She is Italian so I had to take her picture by this barrel.  Every time I come home, there is a new tasting room in Murphys.

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Newsome-Harlow’s courtyard had a good band.

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Their courtyard is a pleasant place to sip and chat. The fire was going in the pits, even though the weather was perfect.

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Jan found a dragonfly to put in her pond.

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I found some cute bird houses, but didn’t buy. I liked the idea of a waterproof roof.

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We got to the end of the street, Tom Scheller, the owner of the IDEA store, pointed out some fun stuff he added to his building, which is the old International Order of Oddfellows building from the Gold Rush days. A woman standing nearby said, Have you heard about the ghost?”  Me:  “What ghost?”

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Tom was getting his stuff moved back inside, ready to close up for the day. Tom and I were in Murphys Merchants Association together many years ago. He bought the building 37 years ago and I’ve been in Murphys 35 years. I regard Tom as a down-to-earth credible guy. Hey, Tom?

This is the story he told me. “I’ve always heard creakings and what sounded like footsteps in this old building,  mostly when I went upstairs. He took Jan and I to his side door where the stairs can be reached from the outside, and a second door leads to his main display downstairs. “I had just locked my outside door. The door to my showroom was closed. I started up the stairs and I heard heavy footsteps coming downstairs. I backed off and decided to turn around when a whoosh of cold air hit me, the footsteps passed me and I heard a click of my  showroom door as though something passed through it. I’ve had people get spooked when visiting the upstairs showroom over the years, they described it as a feeling of someone watching them. I’ve always ignored it. But, we’ve had some activity downstairs too.  I or my employees have been sitting behind the counter, working on the computer or whatever, and papers will be picked up off the top of a file cabinet and dropped to the floor. Things have moved off the shelf and been dropped on the floor. We always joked about a ghost. We have a non-smoking environment here, but I’ll open up some mornings and find a wisp of cigarette smoke hanging in the far left corner of my shop. Then one day, a physic, who was touring with some people, looked up and said, you have a ghost, his name is Joe, he is sitting right there. She pointed to where I see the smoke periodically. I was still a bit skeptical but one day, I was doing some remodeling upstairs and I opened up the floor boards and found three bricks, one imprinted with the name Joe. I’m convinced now that I have a ghost.” (Me too.)

 

 

 

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BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS

We had one day to visit Brownsville. The old town portion is just like a border town on the Mexico side. Cheap goods and people hawking as you leave their shops, or not. Small Mexican restaurants with hand written signs. The store keepers struggle with English because most of their customers speak Spanish. That is a slap-dash impression, obviously,  since we didn’t visit a great many places. But, it is colorful, and lively and fun.

Texas became a state in 1854. Our lasting impression of Texas is embodied in cowboys, gunfights, cattle drives, branding and bandits.  The Lower Rio Grande flew seven different flags, Spain, France, Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederacy, Republic of the Rio Grande, and United States. It’s true  history is  of revolution and war; multiple skirmishes with Mexico over  borders and control.  Visitors can visit unimpressive battlefields like Palmito Ranch and  Palo Alto, and more visually impressive Fort Brown, located on the University of Texas at Brownsville. But the whole story is told in the Brownsville Historical Association complex of a museum and the furnished house of Charles Stillwell, Brownsville’s founder.

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It seems there has always been a military presence around Brownsville.

DSC00527And Guerrillas too. If armies and guerrillas weren’t fighting, the police, Texas Rangers and the Sheriffs were warring over politics and favorable positions in government.

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Almost all politics and city decisions were made at Crixell’s Bar. No women allowed, of course. And, founder, Stillwell was not unlike our modern-day CEO’s. He grabbed land, bought interests in every thriving enterprise and became wealthy beyond reason, but always wanted more, more,more while the common people grumbled, went to work and kept them going. Of course, the elites made the laws that forever kept the common people working and prevented them from making the land grabs Stillwell and the other mega-ranch owners got while opportunity was ripe.

 

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People worked in the silver mines, they farmed, and did all building and manual labor.

A local photographer made his living photographing the people of Brownsville. Here are some samples

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In his best clothes, he reported to the studio.

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The huge skirts and decoration mean she was a woman of means.

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This barefoot boy of color with what looks like a pipe in his hand and mouth? The photographer was known for photographing people of the streets.

The Museum had a huge section on Mexican governors and Presidents.

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Boy soldiers were not unusual in Mexican armies. Mexican women also followed their men into battles to feed and cook for them, and sew and mend and give comfort to them.

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Faces of the revolution. The strong lighting and glass makes picture-taking difficult in museums.

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This one of a kind, German built MAN automobile was built like a tank for a soon to be president who didn’t make it. After his lost bid, it was sealed behind a brick wall, never to be seen for many, many years. After that it has had two owners before the museum acquired it.

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The death photo of Zapata.

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This drawing depicts something in which I  have a small connection. A woman from my neighboring Tuolumne County claimed, “I am here because of a single white bean.”  She went on to tell her story of her grandfather being among Santa Anna”s prisoners when he ordered every tenth Texan killed. According to her, he couldn’t afford to feed all of his prisoners. The prisoners dipped into a pot of beans. If they drew a white bean, they were saved, a black bean they were shot. People doubted the story was true, even from our historical society. I never doubted for a minute. And, here,  Proof, it really happened.

It is a well done museum and very worth visiting.

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The Stillwell House next to the Museum is very richly furnished with an eye to authentic detail.

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The family history is enmeshed  with the political and economic map of the area,very well done and interesting. Do visit, there are many surprises here.

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Not far away, is a costume and childrens museum. They are near the zoo and close to Highway 77 /83 if you go. The Costume Museum is only one room, jammed full of Mexican folk clothing. They make the point, something I’ve learned from visting other countries, that various villages had a traditional dress and everyone dressed that way, everyday. The colorful clothing, the beautiful handwork, embroidery and designs were dazzling. All new stuff, beautifully done. I would loved to have seen it in a bigger room with bigger areas of separation. It only cost $2 each for us to look. The children’s museum is in the same building and she invited us to view it too.

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About each village is a small history.

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I could have spent more time here, but it is enjoyable even at 20 minutes.

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This antique piece, a wedding, a festival costume,  and day of the dead display were depicted as well.

We reported back to the Motor Home at the VFW, and enjoyed the company of “friends” for a couple of hours. Another good weather day.,

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SHILIN-THE STONE FOREST

To resume my visit to China in 2006, we are in Kunming, The City Of Eternal Spring. It  is a very temperate area  known for its plant diversity. Most of China’s flower species come from Kunming with its  pleasant,  temperate climate. We see commercial flower gardens and orchards around Kunming, but  our tour will take us to  Shilin, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, a surrealistic  “orchard” of stone.

The drive  to this unique landscape  through a three-mile long tunnel, and we worry about it caving in, probably unreasonably so. But, safety isn’t foremost in Chinese projects, we think. The tunnel replaced a twisty, tortuous road, we are told. Then we take a shuttle to the base of the 200 acres of what are called karst towers, formed 270 million years ago as the Himalayas were forming.

It’s a lovely spot by a lake, but the sign that greets us with tortured interpretations was a hoot though well intentioned. We were relieved to know what we buy here will be genuine.

Yunnan Province has many minority people.  And we see them come to Shilin to get married, or celebrate special events in their lives. The most prominent minority in this region is the Yi people. The Suni Muslims are a branch of the Yi people. There are black Yis and white Yis. The black Yis enslaved the white Yis because they admired the rare  black tigers of Asia over the white tigers. The Yi were great hunters and wrestlers, strong and muscular. They walk in fire and have fire torch festivals unique to the area.  Mau banished slavery among the Yis.  Another nearby minority is the Hui people, called barbarians. They arrived here with Kublai Khan.  A very informative website can be found at the following link.

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/yunnan/kunming/stone_forest.htm

 

The area does resemble a stone forest, which is the common name for Shilin.

The karst formations are  limestone and were shaped by a receding inland sea and harsh winds.

It was an easy,  pleasant  hike through the “forest” and one could imagine what it must have been like for ancient children  to climb and play on the formations.

We hiked around the lake and took pictures. There are caves and waterfalls deeper inside the forest, but we were given a limited time here. Without a guide it would be easy to become disoriented and lost if we wandered too far off the path.

The people in their special native dress were fascinating, anyway.

The costumes are somewhat different, but always the main color of red and yellow.

The Yi men show their single status by the way they wear their feathers. A girl shows interest in a man by touching her horn.

Vicki speculated this was some type of local holiday celebration. It seemed very romantic to us with couples and singlels having their picture taken by the lake.

Near the gift shop, this gent was  fiddling with a musical instrument. We figured there would be a musical event later in the day.

By lunchtime, the place was mobbed.  I saw that under the costume the girls wear street clothes, kind of like we do for high school graduation.

 

This woman may have been a different minority with similar costume. I enjoyed people watching as much as the stone formations.

The Stone Forest is seventy-five miles from Kunming and actually makes its own weather. At certain times of years, storms roar out of the caves and water cascades from the high formations. We will move on to Urumichi and visit a Yi village.

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THE YANGTZE RIVER CRUISE

I’ve taken a cruise ship once and decided it was an expensive floating hotel with sumptuous food and contrived activities to keep you entertained between brief stops. I swore I’d never take another, but I signed on for this cruise because I remembered Barry Goldwater admitting he should never have voted to flood Glen Canyon for the dam after a group of environmentalists took him for a tour before the dam was completed. I’ve seen the pictures of Glen Canyon, now forever lost. I wanted to see the beautiful Yangtze River Canyon before the Chinese flooded it with their huge dam. It  displaced  millions of families, that’s millions of families. It was a very controversial dam, protested by people around the world. Anyway, our ship is nice.

After dinner, our first night, we are lavishly entertained with a program of Chinese dances and costume representing eleven dynasties of male and female clothing.

Dress clothing of the aristocracy, of course, not the everyday clothing of the working people.

It was a fabulous and enjoyable show, rich and colorful.

The extent of such finery, and pageantry surprised me. I’ve read very little Chinese history and woefully felt the lack as I listened, learned and enjoyed.  Since, I’m an early riser, at 5:30 a.m. the next morning,  I went to the gym on board to exercise and saw the crew busily waking up the ship, getting breakfast ready for us, and attending to all anticipated needs of passengers.  At breakfast I learned a little more of the new history of China. The lavish performance  of the previous night was done by the ships servers, who work hard all day then double as entertainers, staying up past 11:00 p.m. to entertain us. I’ve never been very good about setting politics aside no matter what I’m doing.

The river is and will remain a major transportation corridor for ships and barges like this coal barge, besides producing electric power.

We got a look at Bye Bye Bridge.  So called because it will soon be under water. By 2004,  the canyon is already half flooded. The canyon looks misty but mostly the mist is bad air quality. Chinese homes are predominantly  heated with coal.

We pass half flooded caves that at one time held Japanese soldiers who lived in the canyon, unable to return to their homeland. They were in such a steep, rocky section of the canyon, they were unreachable by anyone in power. They lived on fish and birds and what few vegetables they could cadge from local farmers. In one cave, with binoculars, we could see a mummified body hanging. Another controversy in the scientific community around the world  because archeologists wanted to study them and find out who they were. They were refused by the Chinese government.

The remnants of terraced gardens can be seen everywhere. The Chinese working people eat every bird, insect and plant they can devour. We saw a few waters birds, some monkeys, who will now probably become extinct because their habitat is being flooded, and fish.

 

This farmer, could at one time walk from his ancestral land to visit and trade with his neighbor.

The land bridge between them is flooded. For awhile, they visited each other by boat. Now that option is also gone. This farmer clings to his land until he has to take his boat and leave. It is very heart wrenching for them.  Older people, hate it. Some younger workers love it.  One worker on the boat told us she has her first apartment that she can own in Wuhan (oohan)  City. She lives in 120 meters with a family of three. On the farm, she lived in 400 square meters with an extended family of eight. She  showed us the government pictures of the canyon before it flooded. The much vaunted beauty does not compare to Glen Canyon in my opinion.

I was much more interested in the people and activity we could see along the river.

Another farm will be soon flooded.  The steepness of the canyon farms were pretty amazing.Some farmers fought the flooding by building dikes, all for naught.

It had to be grueling labor to eke out a living on such land. This is old China. Here people live without knowing what goes on in their country. No electricity, or amenities.  Just hard labor from hand to mouth.

At dinner, we learned to sing Happy Birthday in Chinese.

Our second day, we visit a side canyon.  More tomorrow.

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