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Published: August 31st 2011
We actually made it up for sunrise this morning as we knew when it would be. We were out on the deck at 6am to watch it and we stayed there for an hour and a half before being called to breakfast. The views in the morning we truly stunning and it seems as if the river just gets more beautiful the further along you go. The water is getting clearer and the peaks to either side of us are breathtaking (James - think Milford Sound but bigger and going through it for three days). Breakfast was again a Western style which we loved. We spent the rest of the morning on deck, sunbathing, reading, dosing, taking pictures and enjoying the gorgeous scenery. At around 7.30am we went through the first of three Gorges and it really was special - the views were outstanding. I personally think this has been the highlight of the trip so far, up until now I haven't been sure I've liked China but to get away from the smog and the cities and see a bit more of the real country of China has really made me value China a lot more than I did. However, the Chinese people are still difficult to like and to be honest I am not going to miss the food that much, it must be the worst Asian cuisine I have ever tried, give me a British style Chinese anyday (and yes I can't believe that just came out of my mouth either!).
After what felt like no time at all, lunch was being served and we shoved our stuff in the rooms and headed for lunch, another bland affair. Lunch was hurried as we had to be getting onto another boat soon after to be taken to a smaller section of the river. This boat was smaller and faster and within 50 minutes of going past stunning scenery (you'll have to see the photos when I get home they're amazing) we arrived at our destination. We were at this small section of the river to be rowed along a narrow stream in long traditional rowing boats (again James - think Tam Coc but longer boats, and with five men rowing not just one old lady!). The trip lasted an hour and although it was very hot it was stunning scenery and we loved being on the little rickety rowing boats in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Also on a small rowing boat the gorges seemed huge and we felt tiny in comparison.
After our rowing experience we headed back on the smaller boat to reboard our big boat. Again as we had been up early and in the sun all day we were a little sleepy and decided to have a nap before dinner. I dosed off and before I knew it dinner was being served - its such a great life on a boat! Dinner was again nothing special and after dinner we spent the evening waiting for our boat to pass by the dam which we were told would be an impressive sight at night. We were told that we would hit the dam around midnight, but luckily for us we actually arrived to the dam at 9.30ish. The dam looked pretty impressive at night all lit up, and the boat lingered at a good vantage point for a while to allow us to take in the sight. Eventually the boat steered slowly to the left of the dam and over to the ship locks that we were to go through over night, just as you would have to do on a canal. However the process of going through the locks on this dam would take around 6 hours, and once we had seen the boat go into the first lock I got a tad claustrophobic and headed to bed in the hope that by the time I awoke it would all be over and we would be through the horribly oppresive locks!
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