Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Crossing mighty Yangtze

By Uncle Fatso in China

There are two great rivers in China, namely Huang He/Hwang Ho (Yellow River or 黄河) and Yangtze River. The latter, which is also known as Chang Jiang (长江), flows from the highlands of Tibet in western China generally eastward through central China and emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai (上海).

The size of the rivers is just incredible.

For example, the Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world, stretching nearly 3,900 miles. The river has been an important trade and transportation route since ancient times.

One of the new highlights of Chang Jiang is the Three Gorges Dam -- the world's largest dam project, which will eventually bring many changes to this dynamic region when it is fully operational by 2009.

Several large cities -- including Shanghai, Nanjing (南京), Wuhan (武汉) and Chongqing (重庆) -- lie in the river's basin. Large ships can sail to Wuhan and smaller vessels can reach Yichang.

The river is also one of the widest in the world.

It took more than half an hour in a ferry just to cross the southern bank in Changshu (常熟) to the opposite northern bank in Nantong (南通), few hundred kilometres from the River Delta.

That is the only crossing available at this juncture as the 32.4-km Sutong Bridge, which will connect Nantong and Changshu in the east of the Jiangsu (江苏) province, will only be ready by 2009.

It is indeed a mighty river.

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