12th May 2014: Three Gorges Dam
In the afternoon, we went on the ‘included’ excursion, to the Three Gorges Dam. I’d already seen a couple of videos put out by the National Geographic Society … you can see one of them at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6aoMSe3-fc … and was expecting great things. After all, the dam is massive enough to actually slow the earth’s rotation, thus lengthening the day by a fraction of a nanosecond.
Unfortunately, the kindest thing I can say about the excursion is that it’s three hours out of my life I’ll never get back. After a lot of up-and-down on escalators, the viewpoints provided don’t give the best view of the dam by any means, and it’s difficult to appreciate its size and grandeur from this angle.
There’s a better view of the ship lock, but, in a lock this size, watching a ship lock up or down, a process which takes about four hours, isn’t a really absorbing spectacle. However, the ‘ship lift’, which should be completed next year, will raise and lower vessels much more quickly, and might be more interesting to watch.I did get some good pictures later, when our ship went through the lock, and I was able to photograph the ship in front of us, festooned with lights.
In the evening, we had the Captain’s Reception, and here, I’m extremely grateful to Captain Yang, who just made a short speech of welcome, and wishes for a pleasant voyage. On earlier cruises, the Captain seemed to introduce everyone from the Boatswain upwards.
(Incidentally, his name, Yang Xue Tao, sounds a bit like ‘Yangtze 2’ to the careless ear. Coincidence?)
Another departure from the norm … our champagne glasses were kept topped up, instead of ‘one glass and that’s your lot!’ A finger buffet was also provided, but, with dinner imminent, I left that alone.