crossing paradise - the cormorant fisherman of Li river

the cormorant fisherman
li river, yangshuo
guangxi, china
september 2016

this is the main highlight of the trip. the cormorant fisherman has been nothing less than iconic image that depicts the tradition of the Li river, hence Guangxi itself. our trip to meet the fishermen was scheduled on the fourth day of our trip. after a gloomy morning to memo-graph the wonder of Yangshuo landscape, we were hoping this trip could spice up back our mood. 

we left the hotel around 3pm, after had our lunch and rest. the journey to the bank of Li river, to meet the fishermen took a while. we passed the small town outside Yangshuo, and even a small bridge that could only pass by one car/bus at a time. a lady greeted us as we arrived at the car park, and talked to our guide, Mike. Andy was no longer with us as we left Longji. the job as tour guide now has been passed to a new no-less talkative guy. 

a thing that ponder me for a while. apparently, the session to memo-graph the fishermen apparently now has been commercialized by the local agent, where we have to book them for a price. how much? well..i don't know as everything has been included in our rarecation package.

we left the car park, then walked passing the bushes down to the river bank. we took a raft to cross the shallow water and arrived at the sandbar in the middle of the river. we saw two fishermen, complete with the boat, the birds etc. waiting for us. 
and the session began. these old fishermen were too familiar with the scenario, hence had nothing to object when being requested to pose from any angle. and the session lasted till the last light of the day. and when was about 3-hours, and i did feel pity with these men as had to entertain to our request etc. , but then again..they were used to it.

scenes happened few times, due to the fact the they both were booked by our group. there was a group of oriental tourist came to wander and wanted to join us taking the pictures, but was shooed away but these fishermen. the old lady had to explain to the tourists on such etc.  even there was a double booking thingy, as apparently a spanish guy with his set of cameras came in the middle of our photoshoot to shoot. another small commotion as we had to tolerate with the incident, and again..the old lady came as big momma, explaining things, hence shooed other group away from our scene.

anyway, the water was too shallow for us to ask for both fishermen to show us the act of having the birds catching the fishes.

enjoy the pics.

we left the bank when it was dark already. it was a good experience, but then the whole set up thing, the incident with other tourists and photographers group etc. just made me feel uncomfortable to stomach the idea of commercialism, especially on this such unique tradition. i thought the cormorant fishermen was a common sights, a tradition that still being part of the life of people at the bank of Li river.

so...lesson learnt and a note.
the original image of this tradition perhaps captured genuinely way back in early 2000's, when nat-geo featured them in their prints. along the way...i believe it has been a commercialism set up like what i experienced. and i believe it has been the main reason, why none of the cormorant fishermen images made to the top photography awards for the past few years.

we made a stop at the west street of Yangshuo and had our dinner at the halal indian restaurant there. then we spent sometime enjoying the night at the west street, before made our way back to the hotel.



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