So this is our first cruise day! Our room is just amazing and the light in the morning is perfection. I had an amazing sleep last night (other then the phone ringing at 4am.  Loraine Lake- I don’t know who you are, but When you asked “where the $&@? Are you?” And I answered “CHINA” -you were so excited to hear you got the wrong number but  were connected to China that I forgot to call you names for waking me up at 4am).

Today was glorious because-wait for it-WE DIDN’T HAVE TO GET UP UNTIL 8am!!!  Don’t get me wrong. I was up at 5. But I didn’t have to be. Which somehow made it feel better.

We had a leisurely breakfast-very good-we bought the VIP seating which meant that we got special seating for meals and unlimited liquor during lunch and supper. Not breakfast. We asked. Don’t judge. We hung out on our balconies and watched he scenery for the morning.  Because we opted to spend extra on the upgraded cabin, we have a huge deck which 4 of us can easily sit on-and since our rooms are straight across form each other we can check the other side periodically to see which has better views and to chase the sun/shade.  We spent a little time on the top deck where the scenery is ridiculous. Absolutely amazing. I did a little sketching-my happy place-while the others napped- their happy place. Some of our other tour group members went on an optional tour of the Three Gorges Dam Tribe-but we needed the rest.  I’m not sure how some of these people are doing it.

Lunch gets everyone in the tour back together and we found out that although the optional tour was beautiful… it was a ton of walking and steps. They are all exhausted and some have decided not to even go on the Dam tour this afternoon. I think we made the right choice in skipping this one.

After lunch we’re off to tour the Three Gorges Dam.  We have to leave the ship, and board a bus— sounds easy—but it requires we make it through a gauntlet of venders. And these are the first TRULY aggressive ones we’ve encountered.  They are basically putting things in our pockets and demanding money…. however we do spot beer and make a mental note to brace ourselves and buy some on the way back. We make it to the bus and start the short drive to the Dam.  Security again is  VERY tight. At one point we have to exit the bus-taking all of our belongings with us and go through a building with armed guards and metal detectors, and while we do that our bus is getting searched. Then we re-board the same bus and continue on. We stop at an observatory and get a good view of the Dam that re-positioned so many of the family’s in this area.  I cant help but think of how much my father would love to see the hydro power portion of this operation.  China is much further advanced then I had expected. I would never have guessed at the amount of money they have used in these projects and the sheer organization skills.  Even the bridges and roads are immaculately kept.  And their security is thorough but not invasive.  I’m impressed more and more very day.

A short drive back to the boat and through the venders.  We are able to pick up a few souvineres and yes-beer. 18 double tall boy cans for 150 yuan- $30. (🙊) And a bottle of “Great Wall” red wine….. will this be drinkable???. Back on the boat and next… the locks!!!

There are 5 locks we climbed. 3.5 hours in total. Each lock took about 45 minutes from closed door to open door.  About 3 boats were in each of the locks with us, with room for about 5 more our size.  The doors shut around you and then the water starts to fill-and you can feel and see the boat rising. It was crazy. I’ll try to post video later …

Dinner was the usual, Asian cuisine with some western thrown in-French fries and fried chicken. We enjoyed red wine- and it was great! Like a really good boxed wine. Honestly better the Greek wine-so I’ll take it.

After dinner is the entertainment. I won’t say to much here-because these locals are trying so hard to impress. And that in itself is so sweet and amazing that I just can’t bring myself to say anything derogatory. The show was some traditional dancing and a little karaoke from our ship entertainment guides. We had a few drinks and enjoyed a little time with some of our tour family. They all have nicknames now.

We decide to cut the evening short and not stay for the full entertainment- and we actually go to bed early!! It was a big day yesterday and I think we’re all still very tired. More tomorrow!