Figure/Ground > China > Along the Yangtze River

Along the Yangtze River

First of the Three Gorges: Qutangxia.

This shot isn't the best but, in my defense, it was taken out the window of the very cramped pilothouse of the speedboat we were on. The captain agreed to let us in there to get a better view of the gorge. Other than the captain's chair and the instrumentation, there was barely any room to stand. I had to lean out the side window and try to point the camera straight ahead into the wind.

Speaking of the boat, it was quite an experience. Uh, let me rephrase. It was quite a bad experience. We decided to do what the locals do and take a speedboat (didn't seem particularly speedy to me) between Chongqing and Wushan. The boat is an old Russian-made one and is in horrible shape. We got to the docks late and had to sit in the back of the boat and it was like a torture chamber in there. The engine noise was deafening and the room was filled with the nauseating smell of engine fumes. I really thought I was going to be poisoned from breathing in so much toxic exhaust. On top of all that, the boat broke down mid-way and we had to switch boats in the middle of the river.

Two days earlier we were in the lap of luxury in Shanghai and now we were trapped in a dirty, third-world-looking boat, breathing in toxic fumes, regretting what had seemed a fun idea to travel as the locals do.

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