Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Town of Where-they-work-on-the-dam

In the night we passed through 5 locks to descend the Three Gorges Dam. I heard the screeching of something like a giant screw, but was too out of it to get up and watch. From information the next morning, it takes 3 hours altogether, so obviously it didn’t keep me awake the whole time. Steve had taken a sleeping pill and heard nothing.

Now we are below the dam in the part of the river unaffected by the change in water level. The dam brought lots of jobs to the area and therefore lots of growth, hence the name of the town (which I couldn’t tell you in Chinese.)

This morning was a whole-ship tour of the dam. Our guides led us through a gauntlet of vendors, all saying “maybe later” as they held out T-shirts and maps of China, encouraging us to stop on our return. Then we boarded buses for the short drive to the dam observation area. We passed the lock we had come through the night before.

 A guide explained the plan from a large wall picture before multiple escalators took us to the overlook.

The building in the foreground is the recently opened “elevator” that takes small ships to the top in 45 minutes instead of the 3-hours required for the 5 locks.

I liked this bas relief sculpture representing the electric turbines that function quietly beneath the level of the water. I didn’t bother fighting the crowd to do the 70 extra steps to the platform since I’m quite sure you couldn’t see anything that we couldn’t see from the main overlook.

The dam is truly massive although Itaipu in Brazil is longer. This view is upstream on the reservoir side.

From downstream, the dam is to the left, the locks to the right.

When we left the buses back at the port, we could either run the gauntlet of vendors again or walk along the waterfront. Three guesses as to which we chose.

We still had the bottleneck of re-boarding the ship, but ship's employees keep repeating the phrases “Watch your step,” and “Be careful.” We made it.

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