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Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Locks

Before we head to the locks, one of the ladies at our breakfast table says she heard the ship refueling last night. She is down one level from us, and slightly forward. So remember, the lower you are to the bottom of the boat, the more likely you are to hear such noises. I had heard them only slightly, but didn't know what caused them.
But breakfast is normal on this ship. Although, that little green thing all tied up with string and the dumpling are Chinese. And no, I didn't know what was in them.

After, we head into the locks. It's getting dark, but there are plenty of floodlights. The locks are so long, two cruise ships can sit end to end, and we watch the doors behind us close. Each lock takes about 45 minutes to complete, with about 8 minutes for each set of doors to either open or close. It takes about 30 minutes for the lock to fill with water. Amazingly fast. We're parked so close to the side of the lock, I can reach out from the top deck and touch it. But with five locks through which to pass, it's late before we're free of them. The locks are also free to use. No cost. A benefit of a communist government, I imagine. 

Having lived near locks in Ontario, I thought I would not be impressed by these, but they are fascinating by the sheer size.
The Three Gorges scenery continues to be beautiful. I finally get a good shot of our boat. 

With such high cliffs, there is less air pollution. No factories here. 

I can't help but notice the river. It may be once been littered with debris caused by the head pond that the dam created, but I am stunned by the litter that can't be from abandoned homes. Bottles and chunks of Styrofoam sail by, and I see a cook on a barge we pass dump some slop into the water. Our guide joked that if we fell overboard, he'd pick us up in Shanghai, but I suspect we'd die from the pollution before then, even though I see people washing at the river's edge. 
Tomorrow we take another smaller trip up one of the lesser gorges. Don't let the word lesser fool you.

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