Tuesday 19/09 (2/2)
While the rest of the family goes to our ‘Nirvana Organic Farm Inn’ hostel (crossing the Li river with the ferry), I stay a bit in Xingping to go and take a few pictures in the market (the market holds place the days that finish by 3, 6 and 9). But it’s a covered market so no great pictures.
When I join the family in the hotel, we go and do a small excursion to have a nice viewpoint on the Li River.
Diner at 7pm at the hostel. Lemon chicken. Kids don’t like it but eat the big bowl of rice.
The weather is not great (no sun).
Light breakfast (2 toasts with jam…) then we go to the other side of the river to the associated hostel (‘This Old Place’ youth hostel) to buy our tickets for the 2-hour boat cruise (on plastic bamboo rafts) to Yangdi, apparently the most scenic part of the Li River.
It’s very touristy; one boat leaves every minute. We are obliged to take 2 boats (maximum capacity is 4 people). We even have to pay the empty places to avoid other tourists! It’s nice but there is far too much traffic on the river (we even cross all the big boats going from Guiling to Yanghsuo). Moreover, the weather is not great…
We ask the boat to drop us near Yangdi, from where we do a 2-hour walk, with a stop in a small restaurant along the river, where we eat fried rice and noodles. It’s very humid and the kids don’t really enjoy this walk… Near the Nine Horse Fresco Hill, we take a ferry to cross the river and from there a shuttle bus brings us back to the ‘This Old Place’ hostel around 4pm. We organize the excursion of tonight: we want to go and see the cormorant fishing.
We go back to our hostel for a couple of hours, to relax a bit (and to make a quick laundry).
Around 7pm, in the dark, we embark on a small bamboo raft with a fisherman and his 6 cormorants. Cormorant fishing is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years in China. The fisherman hangs a lamp in front of the boat to attract the fish (hence attracting also a lot of mosquitoes and small flies…). The cormorants catch fish according to natural instincts (it’s quite impressive to see how agile these birds are under water) and because their throat is long and narrow, they can’t swallow the fish at once (some of them are prevented from swallowing all but the smallest fish by a string placed around their neck during the fishing). So, when their throat is full, they immediately return to the bamboo raft, where the fisherman will take the fish out from their throat. However, the birds are not silly and refuse to catch more fish unless they are rewarded occasionally with smaller fish by the fisherman.
After this nice activity, we go and eat (wooden-fired) pizzas at the ‘This Old Place’ hostel.
We are back in our hostel at 10:30pm (we had to wait 30’ for the ferryman to arrive).
Isabelle and Ludivine sleep together tonight since they want to take a very early (departure at 4:30am) walk to see a beautiful viewpoint on the Li River. I don’t have the courage (I’m sick and I’m not convinced by the weather forecast) to join them.