Well, what do ya know! The man who decided to swim all the way from Wuhan to the Shanghai Expo (a 1200 kilometer journey) has actually made it here after 33 days… and with only minimal signs of becoming sick from the water pollution.
56-year-old Bao Zhengbin ended his journey at Chongming Island, arriving around 8am yesterday at Chongming Island’s Southern Gate. He was greeted by enthusiastic crowds both from his hometown in Hubei Province and some Shanghai fans as well. The entire journey took 33 days.
Upon reaching the shore, he yelled out “Shanghai, I’ve come!” to the cheering masses. His trip, which began in Wuhan on July 7 took him about 40km for four hours of swimming each day. Yeah, he clocked in at an incredibly impressive 10km per hour.
Along the way, he dealt with quite a few hardships – including the constant rain turning the river cold and the subsequent flooding… and of course, pollution. After entering Anhui, Bao told reporters, he encountered the greatest difficulties. He said he hadn’t actually realized how painful the water around the industrial parts of the city would be.
“Those cities all have industrial and chemical plants built along the river. At the places I swam, the air all had a terrible odor,” he said frowning. The polluted water (which he said tasted bitter, like chemicals) and air was so bad that even now, he still had faint nausea. He was only able to last in that part of the river for an hour before he gave up and got on a boat to cross that part. In Jiangsu, where the water was clearer, he came back down to continue swimming.
Bao’s next target, now that he’s realized his childhood dream of swimming to Shanghai, is three-fold: He’d like to cross the world’s longest canal – North America’s Mississippi River; he’d like to take a non-stop three-day-three-night swim across the Taiwan Strait, and he wants to break a 50-hour long distance swimming world record first set by swimmer Zhang Jian in the Bohai Sea.
I hope he accomplishes them all… but gets a check up about those headaches first.