The Li River
Now, getting to this place was not easy!
I arrived about 1 AM at a tiny family-run inn by the river. I was meeting a local guide (see Jack's website) at 5 AM, so I didn't get a lot of what I would call "quality sleep". Anyway, I got up very early and went downstairs in pitch black. There seemed to be a big white cloth box I had to go around to find the front door. My guide was outside. The door was locked and we could not figure out how to get it open. Everyone at the little inn was sound asleep and I was totally confused. Then, from inside the big white box, a body flew out of it! There was a 60-year-old Chinese guy inside that was sleeping until I woke him up with all my lock-manipulations. His naked limbs in the white sheets scared the bejeezus out of me and woke me right up!
And then we were on the river about 5:15. It was still completely dark outside. And I mean COMPLETELY DARK. It was a thin bamboo raft with an outboard motor.
I turned around to ask my guide, "How the heck does the boat driver know where he is going?!?"
He calmly said, "Oh, no worry. The river is very wide."
I not-calmly said, "Well, that's great and everything, but I can't even see the edge to the river!"
He calmly said, "But it is so wide."
This line of questioning was not getting me anywhere, so I just decided to sit back and enjoy my possible last moments on Earth. Then the sun started to rise, and we moved the boat over to the best bank for the angle.
Want to hear something amazing about these fishermen? You won't believe it... but maybe others can confirm this! The fishermen use these two trained cormorant birds that have their throats tied. The birds dive into the water, eat a fish, but then can't swallow it because of the rope. The fisherman rudely pulls the fish from the bird's throat and drops it into that basket behind him. The bird then goes over to a tiny keyboard and sends out the tweet, "WTF".