Yi Bin and Wuliangye, Sichuan, China Week 12 10th - 11th July 2011
Leaving the Red Earth area we stopped for a last look.

And explored the water system.

This is the top of a large concrete cistern with a way of draining water into it.

They were situated less than 100m apart. Lots of them.

We didn't find the way of getting water out.

On the main road we passed some wide vehicles.

Wide to us that is.

No warnings. Just a sort of double take as we moved to the right a bit ...

The valley was a bit short on farming but the heavily braided river seemed to be a source of gravel.

We stopped counting the barges.

We saw the effect of what we assumed to be market forces.

Piles of onions going rotten.

Back to agriculture. Rice again.

And good road.

But Garmin had fooled us.

We'd taken a wrong turn and it had recalculated while we weren't concentrating.

It then steered us up a muddy track.

But we soldiered on.
Until a line of trucks (big red ones).

We assumed they were in a queue for loading so drove past them to see what was in front.

This happy crowd were inspecting a bridge.

We stopped to help the inspection.

The deck of the bridge had collapsed on one side.

300mm thick reinforced concrete had disintegrated.

Susanna with the Chinese equivalent of "you want us to drive over that?".
Susanna explaining that they initially wanted 30 RMB (about A$4) for us to use their plank of wood but had reduced it to zero when we looked like turning round.

We eventually decided to drive across as the concrete beams under the plank looked intact.

Ali and Susanna walked.

The crowd cheered when we were successful.

The crowd had described the road beyond the bridge as "difficult" for the first 30 km and "not quite so difficult" for the next 30 km.

It had originally been a good concrete road but had broken up into blocks. Some on their edge.

And where there wasn't concrete it was dirt and gravel and mud.

With a steep unprotected drop.

With the occasional big red truck coming the other way.
This pool of water was on a bridge.

We assumed that since it hadn't run away the bridge was ok underneath it!

Rougher than it looks in the photo.
We eventually came to a small town.

This was the rubbish recycling depot.

The road improved then.

From broken concrete to cobbles.

At least it was predictable in its bumpiness.

We passed a largish dam. One part of a hydro scheme.

I've heard of dams becoming silted. This one obviously had.

This is one of two dredges working in the dam.

Not sure if the silt was being pumped to the next dam or somewhere else. Through what looked like 300mm diameter pipe.

We'd planned to drive to Yi Bin. About 520 km for the day.

Our minor excursion meant we were about 200 km short when we needed to stop.

The bumpy roads do take their toll on both us and the vehicle.

We asked at the toll booth and did a u-turn to camp in the car park of the traffic police office.

We were sufficiently tired that the occasional truck passing in the night didn't wake us.

The road from Yunnan to Sichuan improved after the toll gate.

It looked like a deep limestone gorge.

Just room for the river and the road, sometimes one on top of the other.

A horizontal loop the loop.

I've driven a train over a similar loop (border loop between NSW and Qld) but not seen such a road.

We were headed downhill.

That's the bit we drove along above us.

Yi Bin is famous for salt, and liquor.

It is also on the Yangtse River which here forms the border between Yunnan and Sichuan.

Wuliangye Group has a large stake in liquor and is growing horizontally into packaging and logistics.

We are parked outside the supermarket.

The "Big W" is stainless steel and the entrance to "Liquor City".

We tried camping outside one of the attractions inside liguor city but were moved on by a very apologetic security guard at about 11:30 so we went back to the supermarket.

Wuliangye produces a liquor from sorghum, rice wheat and corn.

World famous apparently, having won global awards.

Had a bit of difficulty figuring out if it was just fermented or distilled and plumped for distilled (given the alcohol content).

Some of the process description seemed to be lost in the translation.

It was raining a bit so we headed inside.

This hall is a showcase of recent company history as well as a model of liquor city.

The large pictures on the walls are of visiting political dignitaries.

Like any company of this size and significance (as a provider of government revenue) it manages its external relations.

We did visit the museum but forgot the camera.

There was a substantial description of Chinese Liquor Culture over 5000 years.

We particularly enjoyed the references to how liquor enhanced creativity and has been used extensively by poets and artists.

In our walk around the streets we happened on a delivery of compressed coal on the back of a trike.

Reminded me of the coal man delivering bags of coal during my youth.

The cylinders of coal have air holes through them and burn to reddish ash in the same shape.

Susanna likes Melons so we bought one and some peaches.

Some older apartments in the background.

A magazine stall.

The covers look just like magazines anywhere, but with Chinese characters of course.

There were the obvious titles for young female fashion victims.

Susanna chose something more substantial.

The view of liquor city from the top of liquor mountain.

This is liquor production on an industrial scale.

Would you believe we didn't buy any!

Dashanpu (Dinosaur Museum), Zigong, Sichuan, China Week 12 12th July 2011

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