Wednesday, June 18, 2008

China Day 19: Aberdeen

Ordinarily our next stop would be "The Peak", but we're delaying our visit in the hope that the cloud cover will blow away by the time we get there. Instead, we'll go to Aberdeen harbor, which is famous for its houseboat village populated by boat people working the South China Sea, living on their junks, with entire families participating in the fishing trade.

Or at least that's how it was at one time.

Aberdeen isn't what it once was. For one thing, China bans commercial fishing in the South China Sea in June and July to avoid overfishing the region. Because of this, a lot of boats were just anchored in the harbor "parking lot". Secondly, the government has been whittling away at the boat population for years, moving them into government housing and getting the kids into regular schools. This is possibly better for everyone, particularly the kids, but the area is losing some of its traditional character.

There are still plenty of boats in the harbor
and we saw them up close. Dad and I
took a sampan ride for $50 Hong Kong (about $7 American) each, and had a lot of fun. Our grinning driver
first putt putted over to where the floating restaurants were:
There are two, both enormous, right next to each other. Dad and I had the ambition to eat at one, since we have to find our own dinners tonight, but Fred told us that although they are famous, they are not good restaurants anymore. So our resolve was already wavering when our sampan went around the back:
I think we'll dine elsewhere tonight.

Determined to photograph some houseboats, by golly, I took pictures of every likely-looking craft we passed:
and we kept playing tag with the other sampans holding our group members:
We really enjoyed this part of the day!

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