Tom & Holly Travels
since 2004
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你好(Ni hao)

   Well today we went to the Yueyang tower in Yueyang city. It is a paper mill city so you can imagine, yep more pollution. Last night the smog was so thick that boats without GPS were not allowed to travel on the river. Boats like ours with GPS must slow way down. The town is actually on Dongting Lake which is the second largest freshwater lake in China. It is also one of the places to raise oysters for freshwater pearls.

   In the middle of the lake there are islands where the Chinese harvest the silver needle tea. They told us it is organic with no pollution, but I don’t buy that. Especially when they told us most of the fish in the lake is now extinct because of the pollution.  It is interesting tea and they told us you can eat the tea needles. They taste like green beans. The needles of tea when placed in hot water bounce up and down. They serve the tea in tall glasses which is a little strange because the glass is super-hot. I think they use a glass so you can enjoy the needles bouncing around.

   While we were on our excursion, they had a school field trip come to the tower because in Chinese culture it is very significant. There is another teacher in our group and we sort of decided that this “one child only” society is breeding a bunch of brats. They were all in uniform with their backpacks but running and pushing each other.  Not too unlike our students but they did not respond when called. The teacher, who had a head fixed microphone which I thought I would have loved to have many times, kept calling the kids but they kept running up to us waving and talking to us, “hello, how are you, etc.” It was fun for us and the kids, but I felt sorry for the teacher. Not fun for them; I know from experience. Actually the entire school must have come as there were over a hundred children in all. The kids might have been there to learn some history but enjoyed feeding the fish and eating ice cream.

   We are now sailing to the Three Gorges Dam. Finally we are seeing some grass, lots of water buffalo and of course ship after ship. The Yangtze River is one busy place. One of the pollution causing problems in China is they still burn coal. You can see ship after ship filled with coal. One thing that has really gotten us is the lack of birds. We have only been two places both some distance from the river where we have seen birds. They say birds are an indicator of the air quality, and China makes that statement true.

As you grow older, you’ll find that the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.Zachary Scott

Confucius say – If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand.


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