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The Wu Gorge – 巫峽 – is the second of the Three Gorges on our Yangtze River Cruise between Badong and Wushan.
Returning from our Shennong Stream excursion to the Yangtze, we were again in awe of the natural beauty, yet also witnessed the difficulties of the local population in barely managing to survive. In the 3 Gorges Dam area, there are traditionally only three ways to make a living: either agriculture, fishing or coal mining.
Coal shafts are often located on high mountain cliffs and you can see the slag-heaps everywhere on the slopes. It is certainly very difficult to mine coal by hand under these conditions. Farming is not much better here either. Often fields are located up to 1000 m high on the slopes. In the dry season, water must be brought up from the river by foot.
Fishing also suffers from the changes brought about by the dam construction. As a result, the government greatly tries to create replacement jobs for locals in large surrounding cities such as Chongqing. Tourism, above all Chinese tourism, plays a vital role here.
The steep cliffs are continually interspersed with huge caves such as the Wind Bags Cave, where people believe the wind originates. Old coffins within this cave were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Or we see the Seven Caves, containing the inscriptions of 700 soldiers which will soon sink forever into the water.