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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Xianggong Mountain and Li River, China: October 12, 2019

Another early morning that didn't begin with coffee or breakfast. We left our hotel at 4:30 am to bus not too far to a beautiful spot on the Li River. I had no idea how beautiful for several hours as it was pitch dark when we arrived. We met a fisherman on his bamboo raft and another boat with seats to ferry us to an observation point. The boat with the seats only had enough room for 6 photographers. I volunteered to ride with the fisherman and his cormorants on his bamboo raft. The fisherman used a flashlight to guide his way. It felt so mysterious gliding along in the darkness while sitting almost at water level with no idea of where we were going to end up.

Off the boats at the stone observation point, we positioned ourselves to face the direction the sun would rise. Just before 6:00 am we could finally see the beautiful landscape and the pre-sunrise colors.

After our group settled in, another group of 3 photographers and their guide showed up. While the photographers set up next to me, I noted that their guide made them French Press coffee. 

Our fisherman model began his repertoire of poses and we photographed. Then the fisherman model for the other group floated in. The only way I could get a clean shot was to shift and photograph fisherman #2.

So with two fishermen each with his own bamboo raft and repertoire of actions the scene was already getting cluttered when a boat with a red sail also entered the scene. While the Red Sail Boat was eye catching by itself against the background of Karst formations, it was too incongruous with the two fishermen on their bamboo rafts. Apparently, local photo entrepreneurs acquired the Red Sail Boat to use as an additional photo prop to add visual interest and variety to the photo opportunities. Unfortunately, the Red Sail Boat is not native to the area. 

At this point, the sun is up but still needs to rise above the tall pinnacle on the right side of the photo.

Around 7:20 am the sun rose above the tall pinnacle and then it began to rain. The photos look more like sunset photos than sunrise photos. The lighting was beautiful.

Cormorant fishermen wear a "raincoat" made from strips of palm bark that has been woven into a cape. In silhouette, it gives them a scarecrow appearance. The cormorants have been raised from chicks and with a guarantee of three squares a day, they apparently prefer life as domesticated birds. Their life expectancy is 9-10 years. I was assured that the birds are heavy and can't fly well and that they are content with their domesticated life.

Cormorants haven't been used to actually fish for about 50 years. Formerly cormorants had a ring on their necks so they couldn't swallow the fish they caught on behalf of the fisherman.

It began raining with gusto so we packed up and the fishermen headed toward their next appointment.  Our group walked the slippery treacherous pathways back to our bus. I had hoped to ride back on the fisherman's bamboo raft, but he was headed to his next appointment and it is apparently illegal for the fishermen to give rides because they don't have life vests on board which is why it only happens under cover of darkness.

In early afternoon we went to a nearby tea plantation to taste tea and have an exquisite organic luncheon. We had two new dishes: a lovely dented roll to be filled with minced pork and vegetables and green tea cookies edged with sesame seeds. Everything grown here is organic. In addition to tea, they have kumquat orchards. This area of China is the number one producer of kumquats. When they are in bloom, the fragrance must be exquisite.

For sunset photos we went back to an earlier roadside overlook. This time, we climbed a trail above the road to the top of the mountain to have a more unobstructed view. Unfortunately, sunset was a bust. There was another wall of clouds so the sun disappeared without coloring the sky.