We arrived in the town of Sandouping the next morning. We still had a shore excursion to do before we exited the boat for good. Our group left the boat at 8 AM for our tour. Sandouping is the location of the Three Gorges Dam. We were driven by motorcoach to a park where we could observe the dam from a distance. Our local guide did a fantastic job on providing facts. The dam is the largest hyro-electric dam in the world. It was built to prevent flooding. However, as I already discussed, the government had to relocate 1.3 million people to relocation cities to protect them from new flood zones that the dam produces. There are ongoing disagreements about the effectiveness of the dam. Some scientist argue that it has caused environmental problems.
Three Gorges Dam
Our guide walked us through the Three Gorges Dam Museum (not to be confused with the Three Gorges River Museum in Chongqing) which provided more details of the dam project. From there, it was back to the boat.
The boat ride between Sandouping and Yichang, our final cruise destination, was mountainous and scenic. We disembarked from the Yangzi Explorer at 11 AM and boarded an awaiting motorcoach. The local guide we had this time had quite a challenge. Our flight to Shanghai was not scheduled to leave until 7:30 PM. He needed to keep us occupied until then.
disembarking in Yichang
We were first driven to a park where we watched people bungee jump. There was dance music playing loudly while all this was going on. I was surprised to hear an uncensored song from the 80's. Some of you might remember "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. We don't need no water..."
We had a family-style meal at a hotel and were then taken to the Yichang Museum. The museum displays furniture and other artifacts from some of the relocation families. A guide showed us the highlights. Some of the furniture had been passed down from generation to generation. They contained intricate artistry.
We were driven to the riverfront for a short walk. No one was looking forward to this. It was a blazing hot day which we were told is not unusual for Yichang. Relief came when we got back in the air-conditioned bus and were taken to the Crowne Plaza Hotel to relax in the lounge for an hour. Traci and I did not stay in the lounge. We used the free time to walk through the nearby shopping mall and eventually through Walmart.
Who has the right of way?
Finally, it was time for our ride to the airport. Leaving downtown Yichang, I saw some of the craziest driving I had seen since arriving in China. Later I saw a man crash into the arm of a toll booth as it was lowering. His car was not damaged but the gate arm was knocked out of the slot. Crazy! Continue to Shanghai...