Relaxing on our cruise this morning, we had a lesiurely breakfast, and then went to a lecture on Chinese traditional medicine. Dr. "Tony" onboard is both a martial arts person who leads Tai Chi at 7 in the morning (we haven't made it yet...!), and the doctor on board as well as a massage therapist of great skills. He has a trio of other massage therapists assisting him.
The lecture consisted of a short demonstraion of tai chi, followed by a demonstration of massages. When he asked for volunteers, Wendy's hand went right up! Sure enough, she got a 10 minute neck massage from one of his assistants while he continued the lecture about accupressure, acupuncture and Chinese massage. it was quite interesting. After he talked about meridians, and "chi" in the body, he asked for a volunteer for a chinese accupressure massage. Not wanting to be greedy, Wendy looked around and seeing no other hands up, volunteered and was chosen again. This one was quite different. First of all, his hands were extremely strong, and he massaged or moved up and down her back, neck (yes, she's always really tight so he had his work cut out for him). Then he took her arms, follwed the meridians down each arm, stretched and pulled, rotated and shook them. It felt wonderful!
The afternoon, the entire ship disembarked for our tour of the Three Gorges dam. This is a somewhat contraversial humungous project that changed the entire usage system of the Yangtze river. It was done for three reasons--hydroelectric power, navigation and flood control. While it is the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, it has fallen short of original estimates of generating 15% of electricity for much of China, including Shanghai, when it was started in 1994. By the time it was finished in 2008, it was only 2%, mainly because of the phenomenal growth in the area. We'll have more to share about this when we get home.
There are 5 consecutive locks linking the lower Yangtze to the reservoir and the rest of the river. Because the water level in the reservoir is kept lower in summer, we only went through 4 locks, raising us about 300 feet, an awesome process--even more exciting than the ones we went through on the Rhone and Rhine in Europe. The process is slow -- so slow, in fact, that some ships drop off their cargo at one end, and truck or bus it to the other side where it is picked up by another truck, bypassing the lock altogether. To speed things up, they are building a "ship elevator" for smaller ships, a very complex project that will be finished "next year". Larger boats (like ours) are too heavy for it, however.
It was the Captain's welcome party so we went down for our obligatory "sparkling wine" and the introduction of the crew. However, afterwards, they started a small show. They danced, and then bowed, and walked out to the audience where each member who had been dancing chose a new partner for the next round. They love foreigners--and since there are so few of us, we seem to get special attention. Wendy ended up on the dance floor in the arms of a young crew member, dancing to a slow Chinese fox trot. They followed that with the macarena, cha cha, etc., but we were able this time to just watch, despite repeated attempts to get Jim to dance with one of the cute ladies. We did have fun watching a little girl, maybe about 6 trying to do the macarena with the ladies!
After an extended dinner where we continued watching the over two hour process of moving through the locks, we were rather exhausted from all the hard work of relaxing (and the heat, it is about 90 here and very humid), and headed to bed skipping the caberet show.