Yichang, China, Asia
I got a phone call at 1am to say we had arrived at the shiplock so I went outside. It was a bit pointless to show us this without explaining to us how it worked, because we were all outside just looking at the ships in front of us not realizing that up to six can enter at once, so we weren’t just in line, we were going through. I only stayed up for about ten minutes and then went back to bed. Seemed like just another pointless part of the itinerary here.
I couldn’t get back to sleep very easily because the shiplock is very tight, so the boat is constantly scraping along the wall, and makes a heck of a noise. I got up for good at 6am and had breakfast at 7am for our last meal on the boat. I think the Chinese people really warmed to us because they actually said “bye” when they left after breakfast. Great!
We got off the boat at 7:30am and got onto a coach bus to head up to the dam. We first stopped at 185 platform, called this because it is 185m above sea level. We had a pretty good side view of the dam, and it was cool for about five minutes, but we had to stay there for thirty minutes, so that got old pretty quickly. From there we went up to the top platform where we could see the shiplock from above, so that was a bit more interesting. We also saw a scale model of the Three Gorges Project which included the dam, shiplock and boat elevator. This would have all been much more interesting if we had heard it before we went through the dam. I guess that would have made too much sense.
We got back on the boat at 11am and finished off our beers while we cruised through the Xiling Gorge. This was the least impressive, mostly due to the haze. After seeing that, we all got packed up, had a pot of noodles, and then got kicked off the boat at 12:30pm. I was hoping to get a ride to the train station with Jessica and Staffan, but they weren’t going to the same station as I was. I ended up having to get a taxi by myself and it cost 120 yuan ($20). That’s a lot for over here, but I didn’t have much of a choice. Our port wasn’t central at all, and it was about a 35 minute drive to the station. There wasn’t a line of taxis or anything, so I had to take what I could get. I got screwed, again.
I waited for two hours in the train station and the people here really can be disgusting. There was an old lady just hocking loogies right on to the floor inside the train station terminal. There is just no need for that. Babies here also don’t wear diapers; I assume it is just a way for them to save money, not having to buy any for them. It’s not even as if they were cloth diapers so they can wash and reuse them. Nope, they just don’t wear anything under their pants, and their pants have a big hole cut down the back of them. This is so any time they need to go to the bathroom, the mother can just pick them up and they can go right on the street. It’s disgusting. A woman let her baby pee right on the floor in the station, and then left it. I had to get up and move seats to another aisle, I just couldn’t be near them anymore.
We boarded the train at 7:15pm and left at 7:45pm, right on time. One good thing I can say about China is their trains seem to run very efficiently. I have been on time pretty much every time I’ve taken one, so that’s good. I got my stuff all situated under my bottom bunk and settled in for the long haul. No one around me spoke any English, surprise, surprise, so I had to entertain myself. This Dell Mini Laptop is the best $220 I ever spent! I watched a couple of movies (Boondock Saints and Horrible Bosses), and now I’m ready for bed. The lights have just gone out, so I’m hoping that means the people around me will be going to their beds soon.