28.07.2014 - 29.07.2014
Well, we are almost halfway through our trip, a truly eye opening experience so far, with so much more to see. We entered the scenic part of the river today. This was a welcome transition from the first couple of days, where we saw mostly industrial cities with smog and haze. Not very scenic. However the scenery has changed drastically. We passed through the first dam, Guangzhou, which was practice for the Three Gorges Dam. The dam was small compared to what we were going to see later. We did get to see our ship lifted in the lock with the big doors opening before us allowing us to continue the journey. In the late afternoon we pulled into port and were off on our Three Gorges Dam tour. Although not part of the official stops we had to walk through the market, later coined "Maybe later" because that is what all the shop keepers say. Maybe later lady! They get an " A " for effort.
Our first stop was a security check shop. God forbid one would take out the dam. Now that would be a catastrophe! The security check wasn't anywhere near our airport security. Our first stop gave us a chance to see the five locks we would be travelling through that night. We also saw a large model of the project. From one side of the dam to the other there is 2.8 kilometers of cement and turbines and water. I marveled at the fact that it is 8 times larger than the Aswan Dam in Egypt.
Next we stopped at a spot overlooking the dam. Here we met with several times more Chinese visitors than Caucasians. And did I mention that it was hot, hot, hot! Holy cow, even the locals had sweat pouring off of them.
Many of the Chinese tourist have never seen "Big Noses"', the local terminology for foreigners. So I had my first encounter with a young girl who wanted her picture taken with me. This is a very common occurrence and one we have been told will happen very frequently throughout our trip.
In crowded situations it is easy to try and photo bomb someone else's picture. I can't wait for Tienanmen Square!. Unlike the gypsies in Europe we have nothing to fear from these encounters. It is good we have been practicing our Chinese.
Ni Hao is hello, xiexie thank you, bong is very good, bong bong is excellent and mamahouhou is very bad. So far the trip is bong, bong. Only a few in our group are having stomach issues and are feeling a bit mamahouhou.
The part I like the best about the dining room is that you come in and sit down at a table, wherever you want so every night is a new dining experience. There is a large number of Americans and lots of Brits, Welsh and Scotsmen. Dinner conversations are lively, some more than others. Wine flows freely thanks to our purchase of the bar package offered the first day. I think the per drink price has come quite a bit since the first day.
So back to the original story, Gorgeous Gorges. Today we headed off in two smaller boats to visit the Lesser Three Gorges. Just like the fjords of Norway and Milford Sound in New Zealand these gorges provide spectacular scenery. While trying to avoid the sun (41 degrees Celsius today) we snapped pictures of the cliffs, tried to find the wild monkeys and found the spot where the Ba people of 2500 years ago interred their dead in hanging coffins.