Exploring Asia Overview
Cathay Pacific B777-300ER Business Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific Lounge Review: The Cabin at HKG
Cathay Dragon A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Beijing
Lodging Review: Regent Beijing Hotel
Beijing: Dongcheng District
Beijing: The Great Wall
Beijing: Run-ze Jade Garden
Beijing: The Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs
Beijing: The Legend of Kung Fu
Beijing: Tiananmen Square
Beijing: The Forbidden City
Beijing: Hutong Tour via Rickshaw, Tea Tasting, Flying to Xi’an
Lodging Review: Hotel Shangri-La Xi’an
Xi’an: Qing Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors
Xi’an: Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show
Xi’an Wrap-Up, Flying to Lhasa, Lhasa Home Visit
Lodging Review: Shangri-La Hotel Lhasa
Lhasa: Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Market
Lhasa: Canggu Nunnery and Sera Monastery
Lhasa: Potala Palace
Leaving Lhasa and Flying to Chongqing
Cruising the Three Gorges
Three Gorges Dam
Jingzhou City Walls Tour
Wuhan: Hubei Bells Performance and Provincial Museum
Shanghai: Shanghai Museum
Lodging Review: Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai
Shanghai: Old Shanghai and Yuyan Gardens
Lodging Review: The New Otani Tokyo Hotel
Tokyo: City Tour
Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour Returning by Shinkansen
ANA Suites Lounge Review, Tokyo Narita
All Nippon Airways B777-300ER First Class Tokyo Narita to Houston
When we awakened the next morning we found that overnight we’d been through a series of locks and were now moored just downstream from the Three Gorges Dam. The dam is the world’s largest power station as far as installed capacity, meaning how many megawatts it can sustainably generate. The dam opened in 2009 but wasn’t fully functional until July 2012. The locks, which are off to the side were completed a bit later.
The government set up an excellent tour program for the dam. Our bus driver took us to the welcome center where we all checked in and then were put on one of the buses specifically for the tour. That dropped us off at the foot of a hill that had a series of escalators to take us to the upper-most viewing area.
Once up on that plaza there was another, higher viewing spot for those who wanted to climb up.
We had several good places to view the activity in the locks. There are five locks going each way on the river and it takes 3-4 hours to navigate them all. Boats can’t be in locks next to each other so a maximum of three locks could be occupied at one time, though there could be more than one boat in a single lock.
By contrast, we couldn’t see much of the Three Gorges Dam itself and what we could see was basically lots of concrete (37 million cubic yards) and steel (463K metric tons). It’s so massive – it’s visible from space – that you can only see a small portion and since you can’t walk across the top of it, like you can with the Hoover Dam, it’s really hard to appreciate how huge it is. And, not surprisingly, it’s not very photogenic.
The bus did drive across a bridge at the foot of the locks and obligingly slowed down enough that we could get decent photos of ships moving through.
In addition to the locks there is also a ship lift that will allow boats of up to 3000 tons to be picked up and transported upstream or downstream in about 30-40 minutes as opposed to the 3-4 hours in the locks.
After returning to our ship we had lunch as we sailed through the Xiling Gorge, the third and final one. Later we got to experience going through a lock in the Gezhouba Dam during the afternoon. We had to wait for another boat to join us before the process could begin but once they did things moved fairly swiftly…for a lock.
And once we were done we sailed off into the evening.