As a small boy we lived in, a town at the confluence of three rivers, namely, the Min River, the Qingyi River, and the Dadu River. In December, 1949, my mother was heavy with child, and we traveled two days by rickshaw over rough road to Chengdu, where my sister, Dorothy, was born. The Communist Army was shelling Chengdu on the day of her birth. We returned to Leshan and found that the Communists had turned our house and compound into an Officer Training Academy. We were moved to a room in the school and placed under house arrest, which lasted a year. When we were finally permitted to leave, we traveled by Sampan, rowed by six men, down the Min and Yangtze rivers to the city of Chungqing, where we transferred to a motor launch for the rest of our journey down the . I was 4 years old when we left China, and I have childhood memories of where we lived in Leshan and the trip down the rivers. It was a priority for me to find where we had lived and to revisit some of the trip down the Yangtze River.
Jim, Cherry and I took the hour long bus ride to Leshan. Although most of the buildings now are the typical five story concrete and tile construction, the streets still kept much of their character. Large banyan and sycamore trees leaned over the streets providing shade. Along the river-front, a mile long stroll way was well shaded and provided superb views of the rushing yellow Min and Qingyi rivers. Pedicabs are still a means of transportation here. Motorcyles with huge bamboo baskets hanging low on each side arrived heaped with all manner of farm produce. Street vendors maintained busy commerce on the sidewalks.
Our hotel was right on the Min river and afforded sweeping views of the river junction as well as the giant Buddha carved in the cliff across the river. Our three star hotel was moderately opulent, with a price of about $35 for a large room.
My one point of reference for our old house was that it was immediately adjacent to a park called Yeh Er Tan. The taxi driver knew the name, and drove about a mile up a beautiful, well treed street. We arrived at a small park with an algae covered pond in which old men were fishing. An arched bridge crossed the pond and lead to a defunct temple. Old trees provided shade and lent a peaceful atmosphere to the park. The property immediately adjacent to the park, which was where we used to live, was a five story junior high school. The taxi driver said that he had heard that a big house used to stand there in which rich people lived who had servants. I don't know if the rumor of rich people referred to us or to some subsequent government official who may have taken it over. The park, the curve of the street and the slope of the land had a familiar feel. It seemed right
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Map of Sichuan Province: http://encarta.msn.com/map_701516531/sichuan.html
Map of Yangtze River, Chongqing to Wuhan: http://encarta.msn.com/map_701517763/Yangtze.html best if you zoom in a bit.
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