Tuesday, June 17, 2008

China Day 18: Yangshuo with Cormorants

Our river ride ended at the town of Yangshuo, about 50 miles south of Guilin. There was a dock with stairs going up to the street level:
When we got to the dock, everyone on the boat was in a huge rush to leave. As we crowded toward the front of the boat, however, I saw a young man almost in the way of the departing passengers, with a sign around his neck: 10 Yuan, Your Picture with My Birds. He had two cormorants on a stick across his shoulders!

If you aren't familiar with cormorants, they are water birds that have been trained for centuries in China to catch fish. The fishermen tie a cord around the bird's neck so it can only swallow little fish; when it catches a big fish it sticks in the bird's throat and the bird comes back to the fisherman to have it removed. I was hoping to see cormorant fishers along the river but this was the first time I saw any.
So of course I took advantage of the opportunity! I paid the man, and Dad took my picture in about two seconds because the other disembarking passengers were in no mood to be patient while we took several shots.

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