Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Walk for Love, Adventure Race, and Floating the Nanzi River

This is a continuation of my recent post on the mountain film festival in China.  Part of the International Outdoor Film Festival in Nanzi River was a charity event called The Walk for Love.  I understood the money was raised to somehow improve water quality.  They certainly need it as many of the waterways I observed were choked with algae.

My son Jed and me at the start for the Walk of Love
There were about 3000 participants in the Walk for Love, which by Chinese standards is small.  But the level of enthusiasm was high.

The walkers would be protected from the forces of evil
I was impressed by the level of affluence exhibited by the participants.  The last time I was in a major Chinese urban area was 1990.  Back then everyone seemed poor and they were all wearing Mao suits.

Henry Iddon from the Kendal festival in the UK and his friends

The Walk for Love started at a campground and I was impressed by the expensive equipment displayed by these Chinese car campers.

The event was well organized with several aid stations and lots of volunteers.

A young helper at an aid station
The locals were pretty excited about having foreign guests and everyone wanted to have their picture taken with us.

Jed and some of the Walkers for Love
In addition to The Walk for Love, the event had an Adventure Race. It was a 24 hour event that started with a run, then cycling, and finishing with a float down the Nanzi river.

Start of the Adventure Race

Our hosts took us on a float trip on the Nanzi River on the last day and we had a chance to see some of the adventure racers in their home made rafts.

Adventure racers with collapsing raft
Before boarding our raft the sign said people with mental disease, heart disease, hypertension, dementia, and drunk tourists couldn't participate.

Sign before boarding bamboo raft
I've always been amazed at the different types of bathroom facilities around the world.  One of the common differences between what we use in the US and much of the rest of the world is the prevalence of squat toilets.  At the bathroom before we boarded our bamboo rafts, there were universal language signs on the stalls indicating if it was a sit toilet or a squat toilet.

Sign on bathroom stall for a squat toilet
The raft we boarded was pretty rickety and once underway with everyone on board the deck was submerged about six inches.  It didn't matter if it fell apart.  We were wearing life jackets, the river was relatively flat, and the shore was never far away.

Boarding the raft
The drivers float the river by poling through the shallow sections.  When it gets deeper they lower a prop attached to a shaft from a small engine and motor along.  After we were dropped off downstream the drivers motor and pull their rafts back upstream to the starting point.

Our driver

On the river
The food in China is quite different from a lot of other countries I've visited and what we have in Chinese restaurants in the US is very Americanized.  At different times we were served bowls of fish heads, chicken heads, chicken feet, small snails where you suck the insides out, pork fat, and small crabs with the guts included.  But for the most part we were served some very excellent food.

Jed contemplating what he was about to eat


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