We board our boat, that looks much like this one, for an 83 kilometer trip up the River Li. Ten thousand people a day tour this river to see mystical rock formations. The river bank is thick with blooming acacia; its fragrance fills the air. I would point out that both of these boats are in motion.
The vendor has hooked his boat to the tour boat and hands off fresh vegetables and fish to the kitchen. The kitchens on these tour vessels are at the back of the boat in the open air. We watch fascinated. The vendor is precariously balanced as he hands off his product.
The cook can be seen cutting up a chicken or duck.
The much vaunted rock formations everyone comes here to see are smooth, rounded hills and spears treasured for their mystical appearance and ever shrouded in mist. I’ve seen professional aerial pictures of them that are beautiful, but I find my photos disappointing. They just don’t seem to have that same mystical effect. It doesn’t matter anyway, life along the Li is a glimpse of Old China and fascinates me.
The Dong people are known for their bamboo boats, houses and flutes. It looks like this boatman is offering a ferry service to get a bicycler and his package to the opposite bank. You can click on these photos to make them larger.
People live on their boats. The house boats we see are put together from whatever scrap can be garnered.
Cows appear to be free ranging, but if you look closely, you will see their tether rope.
People carry heavy bundles. There is little mechanization.
They hand carry water up from the river the old way.
Water buffalo enjoy cooling off in the river. Notice the one with its head underwater; he is grazing.
Up he comes with a green morsel to eat.
These men have harvested and are preparing some type of green to sell. In China, everyone eats multiple types of greens.
A floating garden held up with oil cans. The bamboo fence and net protects the garden from ducks and flying birds.
People from the villages come down to the river to wash their clothes.
So many make their living from the river and work from their boats.
This fancy ferry boat has a motor. The boatman uses his petrol sparingly and prefers to paddle whenever possible.
We are passing a popular Chinese tourist area.
Everyone walks along the river.
The big draw here is an abandoned Yau village with beautiful 200-year-old buildings. People left here 120 years ago because they were persecuted and moved higher up the mountains.
Maybe the lucky ones are those who live on the river. We see villages of children watching and watering their water buffalo; dogs and pigs roam freely. Whole families living on sampans and all around the storybook shapes of the mystical hills.