Tuesday 26th October 2010
Breakfast was at 7am again because there was an optional tour leaving at 8.15. We opted to shower after breakfast, emailed the blogs to Graham, then went to enjoy the spectacular scenery as we went through the gorges. The weather was not the best but the views were awesome. Because of the huge height of the rock faces it was difficult to capture it on camera.
Another brilliant lunch then we went on our afternoon excursion. We were running nearly an hour late because there had apparently been a landslide and we had to wait for clearance to enter the gorge. On this occasion, disaster (gross exaggeration, it was just a minor incident) preceded the Marshalls instead of following us.
We boarded a small ferry boat for a 50 minute trip up a tributary. We then transferred to what were like large sampans for an hour. We had a very pretty guide who was from the Tuju tribe. She entertained us on the return journey by singing local songs. Donnie spent the time grinning as he somehow managed to sit next to her.
It was a long afternoon but fun. After the usual beautiful dinner we were invited to the Presidential suite for drinks to watch the ship entering the first of the big locks. On arrival on the ship we were allocated tables for meals for the duration of the cruise. We were very lucky and the 4 of us were put at a table with 2 English couples - both in thern 50s - and a Russian couple who were about our age.
Donnie is now also Russian monitor. He sat next to Vera who is an architect and speaks a little English. Yuri speaks none. Donnie communicated amazingly well with the aid of their electronic translater and our Russian phrasebook.One of the English couples had been upgraded to the Presidential suite (huge and seriously posh!) by default. It was lovely for us to bask in their poshness on their huge balcony while the Hoi Polloi scrambled above. Going through the huge lock was fascinating.
Needless to say it was a late, fun night - even if we did know we had another 6am start.