While I was in China I had an opportunity to take a day trip to visit the Yellow River. Like the more Famous Yangtze, the Yellow River is steeped in Chinese history and lore. They Yellow River could be considered the cradle of Chinese civilization. It was in this area the first dynasties arose. This is where habits, culture and values that would come to define China, and to some extent all of Asia, were born.

 

Tomtom tweedel   Tweedel is a good friend with significant experience in China and has self-published several interesting volumes of his travels in China complete with many great images and informative narrative.  Last year he visited Thailand for the first time and I had a great time showing him around the area. Somehow he found time to put together a like 340 page book of his travels around Thailand and you can get your copy here!  I've got a copy of this book and I can tell you it's well worth it, especially for first time travelers or if you haven't seen more of Thailand than downtown Bangkok.

When Tom agreed to become part of our small select product review team I was both excited and grateful.  I hope you enjoy this and future reviews by Tom.  For those whose plans include extended travel in Thailand and China I’d recommend contacting Tom and inquiring into obtaining copies of his books.  Tom Tweedel is an Austin, TX based photographer and can be reached at: tomsds@austin.rr.com

 

While I was in China I had an opportunity to take a day trip to visit the Yellow River. Like the more Famous Yangtze, the Yellow River is steeped in Chinese history and lore. They Yellow River could be considered the cradle of Chinese civilization. It was in this area the first dynasties arose. This is where habits, culture and values that would come to define China, and to some extent all of Asia, were born.

 

We started out attempting to take the bus from Zheng-Zhou to a Park on the banks of the Yellow River. Taking the bus provided to be quite a challenge as you had to wait at exactly the spot the bus would let off. The passengers exiting the bus fought the crowds to get out, the passengers trying to get on the bus fought to squeeze in.

 

China, outside bus station

 

While waiting for the bus I watched what was going on around me. It was a busy place and a lot was happening. Saleswomen were working the crowds. Street cleaners came by. Some guy tried to swindle people on the sidewalk  with a Chinese version of the shell game. A lady in a yellow vest gave directions to a passerby. Just normal life everywhere, including China.

 

China, outside bus station 

 

A hawker with a cart full of peanuts came by. That was a sight I had never seen in America.

 

China, market trike

 

After a while we gave up on the bus thing, it was taking too long and we were not making any progress on getting a ride. So we took a cab. On the way I saw this interesting “truck” with one front tire.

 

CHina, 3 wheel truck

 

It was about 20 minute cab ride to our destination. There was a park just outside of town that was a great place to see the Yellow River. They had a map of the park and its facilities. We went in and walked to the main observation platform.

 

China, Yellow River map

 

Getting up to the main observation platform I looked from left to right at the expanse of the river. Looking to my left coming in a saw a series of tour boats moored together in one of the deeper sections of the River.

 

China, Yellow River boats

 

Strolling out onto the observation platform to the center I got a full panoramic view of the Yellow River. It was, well, not what I expected. The riverbed was a broad flat plain over a mile wide. There wasn’t a whole lot of water.

 

China, Yellow River river bed

 

Coming to the Yellow River I had expected a bit more river action. Perhaps this was the low season. It didn’t really seem to be flowing at all. There was a water channel that went for some distance but it wasn’t navigable to anything bigger than a speed boat. Most of the riverbed was covered with some type of river grass and cat tails.

 

China, Yellow River causway

 

Much of the right bank was covered by heavy well built dikes that served as the tourist area.

 

China, Yellow River dike

 

There was a long bridge that spanned the length of the riverbed.

 

China, causway over the Yellow River

 

I  moved from the observation platform to the more colorful dikes. There was no railing so you had to be careful going near the edge. There were willow trees along the banks of the dykes which was very nice. I saw an old man hanging out and looking around, repeating a scene that one way or another had been going for 5000 years.

 

China, Yellow River, dike

 

At several points along the dike there were stairs leading down. I made my way down to the riverbed. It was marked with vegetation and open strips of dirt. The currents had deposited the dirt in swirls and levels which was interesting.

China, Yellow River river bed

From the dike I had seen  what looked like some people shooting. On closer look a vendor had set up an umbrella and three chickens. For a few Yaun you could take your shot and the chickens with either a bow or a Crossbow.

 

China, shooting on the shors of the Yellow River? 

 

If you went far enough into the Riverbed you could actually get to the water that was there. A lot of people liked to go up there. They would come down to the Beach and take off  their shoes and get their feet wet. Seemed like the popular thing to do.

 

China, people on the beach

 

There were a couple of operators that offered speedboat tours. They lasted about 15 minutes before you ran out of water to see.

 

China, Speedboat in the Yellow River

 

I’m really not sure how long the bridge was, it seemed to stretch into infinity. With the haze and smog I don’t think I could see the end of it. There was an endless stream of trucks and billboards the length of it. The vegetation in the riverbed was fairly colorful.

 

China, causway over the Yellow River

 

This area of the Yellow River had its share of history, some of it tragic. During WWII the Chinese Nationalist Army was being beaten back by the Japanese. In a desperate attempt to slow them down they blew up many of the dikes along the Yellow River flooding the land as the Japanese approached. It did succeed in slowing the Japanese down by a few weeks at a cost of some 2 million Chinese lives.

 

China, Tom Tweedel

 

Down river there were some more tourist boats. Unable to navigate the river they we pretty much floating restaurants.

 

China, Yellow River boats

 

Old Men Fishing were fishing off the dike. I wonder what the catch of the day was?

 

China, fishing on the Yellow River

 

After spending the afternoon at the park I headed back to down. Finding the bus stop was a bit of a challenge but the village outside the park was pleasant enough. Eventually we got tired of waiting for the bust and took a tax him.

 

China, near the yellow river.  Tom Tweedel