WUHAN, July 2 (Xinhua) -- An avid swimmer from central China's Hubei Province is planning to swim 1,200 kilometers to Shanghai to visit the World Expo.
Bao Zhengbin, 56, will set off on July 7, swim past more than 30 cities along the Yangtze River, China's longest waterway, and land in Shanghai in about five weeks.
For Bao, this special journey has been a 44-year dream.
"When I was 12, I traveled to Shanghai by ship," he said. "The beautiful landscape along the way impressed me so much that I wished I could one day swim along the route and stop wherever I chose."
In his younger days, Bao had neither time nor money to make the journey. But he practised swimming all the while and was known as the best swimmer in Wuhan.
His best personal record was to swim across the Yangtze River five times in a day.
"Now at last, I'll swim all the way to Shanghai, to fulfill my own dream and to see the World Expo," said Bao, a former reporter who works at a telecommunications company in Wuhan.
He would make the trip at his own expense and would bring with him only a waterproof cell phone, some food and water and a towel, he said.
His friends would take care of his luggage, Bao said. "They plan to rent a rowboat to follow me. When I'm exhausted I might take a brief rest on the boat."
He plans to swim four hours a day, covering 40 km at most, and stop in every city he passes.
For safety considerations, Bao has politely turned down pleas from others to join him. "If my own journey proves successful, we may organize a swimming marathon in the future. But now the time is not ripe."
Bao said his adventure might also turn out to be an environmental campaign.
"Many swimmers complain the Yangtze is badly polluted these days. I'll find out if it is true," he said. "I hope I won't become a 'dirty fish' at the end of the tour."
If the journey was successful, Bao said he planned to swim across the Mississippi next year.