Michael G. Ormerod • Home page • Science • Community interests • Leisure

Li river and the karst hills

‘Fishing’ for tourists

The holiday

We flew via Hong Kong to Guilin, arriving early evening. An English speaking driver met us, arranged to store our bicycles at the airport overnight and took us to our hotel.

Next morning, we met our guide, Danny, and drove to the boat terminal on the River Li. We took the standard tourist trip down the river as far as Yangshuo, a town favoured by backpackers. The river is famous for the karst hills and the cormorant fisherman. Fishing with cormorants has been almost abandoned. Unless a TV crew turns up, the fishermen earn a living posing for tourists. Later that afternoon, our car took us back to the airport, where we collected our cycles and flew to Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou province.

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Guizhou

The are substantial numbers of two of China’s 50 plus ethnic minority groups in the province, the Miao and the Dong. They have their own languages, traditional dress and culture. I was told that, during the Ming dynasty (15th century), the area was heavily settled by Han farmers with the support of the Ming army. The indigenous people were forced into the mountainous areas in China but also as far away as Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Thailand. The Miao men have two passions, formalised fights between water buffalo and caged singing birds.

Miao man with his caged birds, Leishan. An attractive new development of flats can be seen in the background.

Danny in a borrowed hat