Shennong Creek

One of the events that was part of our river cruise was a side trip to Shennong Creek to ride in what they called "sampans". But before we could get to the sampan part, we rode in a "tourist boat" up a gorge that was too small for the cruise ship. Here's one picture as we made our way in.

And another one:

People used to bury their dead here in iron coffins up on the side of the cliffs. There's a hard-to-see one up on this cliff, just to the left of the little tree in the middle.

The sampans were rowed upstream by crews of about five men. The English-speaking guide told us they were farmers as their main occupation, but did this sampan thing on the side.

Alison, Vernon and Cielo almost didn't go, because Cielo was completely asleep at the end of the tourist boat trip, and our understanding was that it would take people back to the cruise ship who weren't going in the sampans. This was technically true, but it would only take you back after the sampans came back. As it turned out, we were lucky we went, but Cielo didn't see any of it. Here are Nana and Granddad behind us on the boat.

At a shallow park of the creek, all but one of the crew jump out of the boat holding this woven-bamboo rope with which to pull you along. This is reenacting earlier travel, where this person-hauling was necessary because it was too shallow to row, or something. We were told by the guide (several times, it seemed like) that the boatmen didn't used to wear clothes to do their jobs, but how much authenticity do we really need?

Here we are being pulled down the creek. As soon as they finished the pulling part, we immediately turned around and head back to the tourist boat, but we did get the idea. All in all, it was a gorgeous trip, with a nice breeze and shade from the cliffs. It was the most pleasant place we went in our whole trip.

On our way back from the sampan journey, this suspicious-looking boat was sidled up next to our cruise ship. Only brave horn-blowing by the tourist boat skipper managed to drive it away.