Saturday, 21 February 2009

Drifting Down the Yangtze: Part 1

Early in the morning our ship began its three day voyage down the great Yangtze River. It was misty but dry and most of us were looking forward to a few days at a slower pace. It’s worth saying that even though the river level has risen quite substantially there it still retains a certain grandeur.

For most of the day I sat on the top deck just watching the scenery as we passed by. Huge cities rolled off into the distance, hills climbed away from the water and small settlements seemed to hang perilously close to the river.

Every now and then we would pass under huge bridges still under construction. It made me wonder what would happen when they met if one side had been built slightly off from the other.

Later that day we docked at a small settlement and headed off for a supposed haunted temple. The legend goes that if you are a bad person the ghost will appear to you while in the grounds. I felt the risk was minimal.

The weather was humid and it was a long way up to the temple, so my girlfriend and I decided to take the cable car. The temple itself was quite sinister and had many statues which at first seemed fine, but on closer inspection were quite hideous. I never worked out if the statues were meant to act like gargoyles and scare away evil spirits or if they were some kind of warning.

With much of the temple rebuilt it also lacked some of the charm we had found in the genuinely ancient sites around the country. There were still plenty things to look at though. A pagoda at the top of the hill was particularly impressive and housed and effigy of the man said to haunt the temple. It also served as the location to give me an unexpected fright.

While stopping for a picture near the pagoda we heard an incredibly loud explosion. Having got back up from the floor and wondering what had caused it we turned to see smoke rising from a nearby quarry.

The light was fading and we walked back down the steps to the boat. There was no denying that as the darkness drew in it was an incredibly eerie place. I managed to get back on the boat without being approached by the ghost so everything was fine. Early the next morning we would be heading through the first of the Yangtze’s three gorges so it seemed wise to try and get some sleep

1 comment:

  1. hav u ever had a ghostly experience ? Luv the photo looking 4ward 2 next installment