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- Eastern Asia
Drifting at Tonglu
I'd been to Tonglu before. In 2008, as a guest of another school. This time was different. We'd been told we were going "drifting" but we had no idea what was meant - until we arrived and saw the little flotilla of bamboo boats with bamboo seating precariously placed on the bamboo which seems to be almost under water. The "river" was called Tianmu Stream.
Some of us were given blue plastic bags to protect boots, but strangely I was not given any. no matter, I managed to get on the boat with some senior members, hoping that would save me from the water sports that were promised.
Anyway we set off along the river with a boatman at the rear pushing us along with his long bamboo pole. The water was shallow most of the way and from time to time we'd hit the bottom. The seats were a bit rickety, but no one fell overboard.
On and on we went. There was much greenery along the banks of the river, and at one place there was a hose strategically placed to hose us, but we "missed" it. A flock of ducks were swimming on the river and scattered as we approached, and further along we saw a group of cormorants sitting beside the river. I wonder if these are some of the birds that are used to catch fish. I've seen it on TV.
We passed a village nestled on the bank of the river, under a huge road bridge. the mist in the mountains (smoke, pollution?) but it makes for a mysterious picutre. And later as we approached the rapids, we saw a temple perched high on a rocky outcrop. I must say that this area is heavily mined for rock and soil, and I suspect at some stage years ago the rock was carved away leaving the spot for a temple,and the way to make the steps that clung to the rock face.
Our bus was waiting, so we boarded and went back to where we had boarded the bamboo boats, for lunch at a restaurant nearby. The food was delicious.