We spent the last 3 days traveling by boat down the Yangtze River through “The Three Gorges of the Yangtze” and ultimately passed through the newly built Three Gorges Dam -- 5 locks dropping 175 meters or almost 600 feet. The dam has been a monumental undertaking by the Chinese government. They started building it in 1997 and finished construction in 2006, ahead of schedule. Once the dam is filled to capacity and producing power, the dam will produce 10% of the required power for all of China. It won't be filled to capacity until 2009. Before constructing the dam, over 1.2 million people had to be moved from their homes on the banks of the Yangtze River. Moving all these people was 45% of the total cost of the project. The dam, while under construction, consumed almost 50% of the world’s concrete production.
As the dam fills with water, the three gorges of the Yangtze are disappearing. Once full, the water level will be up to 175 meters deep (about 600 feet). Getting to travel down the river and through the three gorges before they fill up was a real treat.
Our boat was absolutely beautiful. A 5 star boat with about 150 passengers on board, it was quite pleasant. Anna and Laura even talked us into manicures in the beauty salon on board!
Unfortunately, it was misty and overcast for most of our trip so our pictures didn’t turn out very well, but in real life it was quite beautiful. Every once in a while, we would pass a “city” along the shore with new, tall, white apartment buildings shooting up out of the trees. There was zero urban sprawl since all the cities had just been built. It looked really funny to come around a corner and see a sparkling new city rising up in the middle of nowhere.
After this relaxing adventure, we are ready for our next stop, Beijing…