Wednesday, August 31, 2011


After finally settling into our home in Indianapolis, I got to scrapbook for the first time.  I spent most of a day relaxing and trying to revive my creativity.  The first page I completed was from our trip to Barcelona's Olympic Stadium last year.  Yep, last year.  I'm creeping up on being a year behind.  Hopefully I can get more of these scrappy Sundays so I can catch up!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 5 - The Lesser Three Gorges

During the morning we took a small boat through the lesser three gorges.  Everything was so pretty and green.

The ride was on these really neat boats.

One interesting thing we saw on the ride was a couple hanging coffins.  In that hole on the moutainside is a coffin that has been there between 2000-3000 years.  It is a mystery as to how they got there and why they were put there.

We were able to take a Sampan ride deeper into the gorges.  We had a few farmers serenading us.  We learned that the tour companies pay them the equalivalent of about $90 a month to entertain the tourists which they use to supplement their income. 

In the afternoon we took a tour of the White Emperor Castle at the top of the mountain.  Before the reservoir was created, it used to be almost 1,000 stairs to the top of the mountain.  Now it is only 300.  The castle was built for the White Emperor who was not actually an emperor and was eventually killed because of this.

 In case you didn't want to walk up or down those stairs they had these chair carriers that would take care of you.

The Yangtze River is just so immense.  It is amazing that one out of ever 15 people in the WORLD live along its banks!

A better picture of our cruise ship.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 4 - Sandouping

After our first night on the ship, we woke up still in port in Yichang.  The fog was so thick it made the river so eerie!

After a delayed start, we said through the Xiling Gorge in route to the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric dam. Due to the dam being built, many cities had to be relocated more than 300-400 feet above where they were originally placed.  The towns were completely demolished before dam was created so boat traffic would not have any problems in the river.

We saw many farms along the river.  Since the sides of the mountains were super steep, the farmers plant their crops on terraces.

We arrived in Sandouping, the home of the dam which currently has 26 operational generators with 6 more still under construction.  The dam created a resevoir over 400 miles long and supplies about 10% of China's total power need.

We took an excursion for a closer look at the dam.

From the top of the overlook, you could get a good view of the lock system.

Around dinner time we entered the locks and it took us almost 4 hours to go through them.  The system, which includes 5 locks, raises the water level a total of 375 feet.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Belated...

Blogoversary to me!  Totally missed the mark on that Sunday! :) Can't believe I've been blogging for two years and I've been a CPA for two years too.  Still so glad that is all over and done with!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 3 - Shanghai & Yichang

Our last stop in Shanghai was at the silk rug factor.  The rugs made here were incredibly intricate and super expensive!  These rugs are graded by the quality of the fabrics used and also by the size and number of knots per square inch.  We learned how the term "magic carpet" came to be.  If you take the most expensive of these rugs and turn it around 180 degrees, they look like completely different rugs.  Really neat to see.  Check it out below.

From there we went to the Huang Po airport for our flight to Yichang on Shanghai Airlines.  Our flight was 10 minutes late leaving and they made a HUGE deal about it and kept making annoucments and appologizing.  Far cry from the US.  Also being an Asian airline we were concerned that the leg room would be sparse but again we were super surprised to have plenty of room in coach. The airline itself was still a full-service airline with a hot meal on all flights and a very well dressed staff.

The Yichang airport was super tiny.  It had 3 real gates and two walk up gates from the tarmac.  Yichang is considered a "town", not even a city and it is over 4 million people.  It was here we boarded the CenturyStar, our riverboat cruise ship for the next 4 nights.  The boat looked "weathered" on the outside but the inside was better than I was expecting based on the reviews I had read.

On our way to the boat, we stopped at a couple of overlooks to see the river, the 3rd largest in the world.  I was able to wade in the river and it was freezing! I couldn't believe there were people swimming in it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunny and pouring rain in Indy!

We need rain badly but with this much we will be swimming in the cobblestone streets!