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Cormorant Fishing on Erhai

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After our tour of Dali, we took a boat ride on Erhai, which means Ear Sea (It's a very large lake shaped like an ear). They have regular tour boats with someone to help row (the guide does most of the work, although you're given a few oars for your team).


This was our guide, a very nice woman from the Bai ethnicity. Their traditional work is fishing and farming in the area.



And this guy was in the boat next to us--he had a lot of character. He kept yelling at the students. And then he would laugh.



Our boat also had a 'steerer' who was dressed in the traditional Bai clothing. I think there's something about the long white strings from the hat that symbolize maidenhood. She also sang for us, and to my non-native ears, it sounded a lot like Beijing opera. So, you can see, I'm not a musical person.


This area is famous for using cormorant birds to assist in the fishing. You may have seen it before on the Travel Channel or National Geographic. They use a small lasso hoop around the birds' necks when they send them out to catch the fish. They're able to grab ahold of fish that are bigger than their heads, but because of the tiny hoop around their neck, they can't swallow it. So they bring it back to the fisherman, drop it in his net and then he trades them a few minnows for the larger lake fish.




Yun is convinced (and he made a pretty good argument) that the fish are previously caught (who knows what method), but the fisherman keeps a stack in his boat that he throws into the water right before he sends the birds out. Of course, this would make sense since the fish look like they're probably not moving of their own accord. The fisherman did a really good job of swinging the net around to kind of give the fish the look of movement.

After you arrive on the opposite shore, the guides take the fish (that you pay a few kuai for) and fry it up for you. It's a lake fish, so it may have been carp. It was pretty tasty and a really fun experience - definitely worth doing.


There are also some farms behind the area where they cook the fish for you, so you can watch the farmers working while you eat. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Panorama of the lake:


After that, we took a trip back towards Kunming, but we stopped at another lake (maybe just another side of Erhai?) and watched the real fishermen catch their fish. They were also selling them fresh off the boat, weighing them carefully in a scale that they carried with them on the boat. But this time, with no one to fry it up for us, we had to leave without tasting the yummy fresh fish.




Posted by Blanchardlawn 16:52 Archived in China Tagged dali yunan Comments (1)

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