Later on full day 2 our boat made a 7-hour stop at gorge 2 to allow us to take scenic tours in smaller boats down a tributary to see the "Three Little Gorges" (Xiao sanxia). Due to the vast numbers of Chinese tourists we tied up with 3 other ships, and approx. 100 motorboats daily make the trip down the beautiful tributary through the little gorges. Again, there was no English available, but we definitely caught the gist of it and read up a bit in our guidebook and pamphlets; again the day was glorious and we revelled in the excellent weather for the pleasant trip there.
On our way into the smaller boats we had the pleasure of queuing off our ship via the three other ships' main decks and had the chance to see the lower classes' living arrangements up close and personal. 5th class on the other boats was reminiscent of photos of human cargo smuggled to Canada from Fujien province in recent years, with folks simply packed into tiny cabins in the intense heat. It was good for the boys to see how the "other half" live insofar as these 70% of the ships' passengers obviously could not afford the pleasure trip upstream and were compelled to sit for 7 hours in the sweltering heat as the rich travellers trundelled out and back on board.
The little gorges were more of the same scenically, and during the return trip Adrian and I (Dan) sat out front and made conversation with the boat's two navigators and the Chinese tour guide. The navigators prodded and pulled the boat ferociously during the trip upstream fighting rapids in oft-shallow waters, but had a far easier time on the way back to the ship. The Chinese tour guide ended the tour with a beautiful - if somewhat tinny - song through her megaphone and brought out the souvenirs for sale. We later learned that the tour guides of the other 99 boats cruising the three little gorges all sang the same song before bringing out the same souvenirs.
Back on ship, after the third (big) gorge, we passed by the massive dam under construction and then cruised another 24 hours upstream before hitting our final destination at Wuhan.