Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yangtze River - Three Gorges Dam

Sail through Xiling Gorge, the largest of the three Yangtze River Gorges.  Tour Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world which became fully operational in 2011.  Tonight we begin the four hours of naviating the 5-stage locks of the Dam.

Though interesting, Three Gorges Dam is not nearly as impressive to view as Hoover Dam.  Perhaps it is the angle from which we viewed it or the viewing site distance away from the dam.  However, I say again, "Man, would I love to own the concrete business in China!"

The gorges are gorgeous....we think.  The haze is still so pervasive that it is difficult to see the vistas.  Yesterday we toured the dam, the world's largest hydroelectric facility.  Massive, with 39 generators.  It was interesting watching as we began navigating the locks.  One was a series of five locks.  I watched as we went through the first; but at 10:30 p.m., I decided the pilot could continue without me.  Bed beckoned. 

At dinner tonight, one of the men at our table had attempted to climb Everest 5 times.  At best he reached within 500 feet of the summit but had to turn back.  Gerry set him straight by informing him that he had COMPLETED his climb of Half Dome!  This guy was one interesting individual, but best of all, he had a great sense of humor.  One of those people who are so accomplished that they do not have to take themselves so seriously.  We could have spent much more time with him.  He was most proud of his granddaughter who accompanied him on a recent climb.  He is 72 and looks forward to when he turns 80 and plans on taking a grandson who will then be 11 years old, as was his granddaughter. 

It is eerie seeing structures perched on the mountains.  It is hard to imagine the isolation of whoever occupies them.  We've toured mountainous regions in the US, but this certainly has a different feel about it.  I keep wondering how much more vast it appeared before the dam was constructed. 

Today is Dragon Boat Festival day.  Interesting as we tour everything because the Chinese seem to assign symbolism to so many things.  Though not totally convinced, we did want to rub the 2,000 year old rock to guarantee longevity for ourselves.  Heck, you never know.

Hope you are having a great day.  I personally have lost track of what day of the week it is or much of what is going on in the rest of the world.  I did see some of the French Open men's finals and we occasionally see a few minutes of CNN.  Take care....

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