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Published: September 24th 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 Weather: Clear and dry. Temperatures: Still hot.
This was our real morning of leisure. Time to get our comment cards completed and to deposit the tip into the large box in the Atrium. Before leaving home $10 per person per day sounded a little high but after seeing how those folks knocked themselves out to take care of us every single minute we were there it became more reasonable.
There was no effort to rush us out of our cabin. All of the conveniences of the ship were ours for the day as group after group departed. It was a little disappointing to learn that our flight to Shanghai would not depart until 9:30 p.m. getting us in to our hotel around midnight. There were 277 passengers on this trip and they all had to be moved somewhere by air. Yichang is a small airport and I suspect that Viking is their biggest customer, although there were several other river cruise ships docked there the day we departed.
After saying goodbye to the lovely Century Sky we boarded our bus for a tour of the dam. That is somewhat misleading as we did not
The Dam Museum
A model of the project
go anyplace even close to the dam. We toured the dam area visiting a museum that was crowded, noisy, not adequately air conditioned and without elevators. Our local guide simply could not be heard in competition with dozens of other groups, some with guides using megaphones. We found a bench and waited for this to be over.
Following this we were driven to several sites where we could have a nice overlook of the project and take photos. Incidentally, there has been no place (other than the inside of religious sites) where we have been restricted from taking whatever photos that we wished. At the last overlook a van arrived carrying box dinners prepared for us on the ship. We had a nice ham and cheese sandwich, an apple, a box of fruit juice, a bottle of water and some granola bars. It was still a little early for dinner so they were loaded onto the front seat of our bus and carefully guarded by Ping.
We were then taken to another tourist site a few miles outside of Yichang to see some caves. This was obviously a time killer and there was little good said about this
The Dam Project on the Yangtze
The dam at work producing electricity
stop. In any event, this is where we opened and devoured our box dinners. From here we proceeded to the Yichang Airport. How small is it? Well, it does have jetways. The airport is being expanded and it will go from two gates to four gates when the construction is completed. In any event, our Shanghai Air Boeing 757 was able to land there, pick us up and take us to Shanghai where we landed at the domestic airport (SHA) closer in town than the International Airport (PVG) and we identified our luggage and went to the waiting bus that took us to the Pudong Shangri-la Hotel. We had been pre-registered and our keys were given to us at the airport so we could go right to our rooms. By then time we arrived it was close to 1 a.m. and everyone wanted nothing more than bed but the luggage was slow in coming. The thought of just getting to sleep when someone came banging on the door with luggage was not inviting. Rather than wait for a bellman to bring our luggage I camped out in the lobby and when it finally appeared grabbed my own bags and took
them to the room. Other complained that they did not get their bags until after 2 a.m. and those foolish enough to go to bed were awakened to receive their bags.
End of a long day. In view of the late arrival our tour guide pushed the starting time the next morning back to 9:30 a.m.
Next: Shanghai, the Children's Palace and the Acrobatic Performance.
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