Up until the year 2000, people traveled from far and wide to catch a glimpse of at least one of the thousand or so naked boatmen of China’s Shennongxi Stream Gorge. The boatmen would haul boats and barges across the river wearing nothing more than what nature gave them. Retired boatman Zhang Houbiao, 60, said the naked tradition went back hundreds of years, “It was a tradition to work naked, as our clothes were made of coarse fabric that chaffed in the water.”
But, the the times a’changed, and some parents complained that all the nudity wasn’t good for the children, and ten years ago, the naked boatmen became just boatmen.
But times re-a’changed and now people are clamoring to get those boatmen naked again.
A local politician, Yao Benzhi, is calling for a return of the hardworking naturists the move to restore local culture and boost tourism, which fell drastically after the pants became mandatory. Yao, being the good politician he is, even volunteered to get naked himself if it would help the economy. Local travel agent Liu Zhong, “Many tourists come here to see the naked boat trackers and they are disappointed to see them dressed.”
Unfortunately, However, the vice director of the tourism bureau doesn’t think the nude tradition will be restored, citing the original complaints from the parents and the timid.
Personally, with asses like these, I think the boatmen should most definitely go the pantsless route and take it one step further and go the Nepalese route and cater to the gay traveler.
(h/t to reader Adam for the link!)