Made in China - Three Gorges Dam and to Shanghai

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October 1st 2013
Published: October 9th 2013
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You’re not allowed to walk along the top of the dam, unless you want to run the risk of being shot. That’s a shame, because Ky and I didn’t have a run yesterday so a long 2.3km walk would have been good. Instead we only have a short 10 minute walk from the viewing area down to meet the bus to take us back.

It was a 6:45 breakfast and assemble in groups at 7:30am to get on buses. By a strange coincidence, the guide here is named ‘Michael’. The buses take us around over a bridge and past the five boat locks to a small entrance area with a building housing a 3D model of the dam. I’m impressed with the realism of the model: they’ve added dry ice as part of the little water spouts coming out of the flumes of the dam, and it creates a realistic impression of the hazy/smoggy air around us. Past the entrance we ascend four flights of escalators in the open air (maintenance on them must be a nightmare), to a viewing area on the top of a man-made hill. The viewing area is interesting, with a number of statues and carvings, and lookouts towards both the docks and the dam with new ship elevator (soon to be commissioned). We can’t see the full length of the dam, as the air is too thick.

The remainder of the cruise is uneventful. We have 1.5 hours to pack up while the boat continues downstream, this time on the Yangzi River below the dam (I’ve spelled Yangzi hanyu-pinyin format). It’s a last chance for a photo or two in the Xiling Gorge, then the boat starts doing a side-swing in the middle of the river. There’s no sign of a City or port, apart from a couple of large boats moored further downstream. Then I spot the target: a single mooring boat on the side of a cliff with a small access road. It seems Yichang is hidden behind/above the cliffs.

“Season” meets us in the lobby, and takes us to lunch in Yichang, via an adventurous set of back roads through an area soon to be demolished and replaced with resort housing. Lunch includes a dish of beans, chicken and celery, spicy pork with fungus, potato, rice and beef with onions. Then onto the airport. Three gorged Aussies and a Kiwi are taken to the Three Gorges Airport. Unlike its name sake, the airport is tiny, but it does the job and we take the 1.25 hour flight to Shanghai.

This isn’t the international airport, but its still big. Endless terminals with travelators to get to our bags, and meet our guide for Shanghai, Elva. Then a drive through the City with population of 23 million, and scattered around, not even near the centre, are enormous buildings with colourful lighting effects on them. We are booked into the Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel, with another fun glass wall between the bed and bathroom. Our room views look out to the Yu Yuan Garden Shopping area. The buildings there are all outlined in yellow rope lights and look spectacular. We walk over and find dinner there, at the golden arches.

Thank god the beds are soft.

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