The river is an integral part of the town of Zhujiajiao for transport, fishing, and tourism. In the second photo the people appear to be living on the boat, at least for a significant part of the day. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but there even appears to be a sleeping area under the green rooftop.
While in the town, we each bought a bagged fish from some women who were selling them near the riverbank, then we released them into the river. I may have understood this wrong, but from what Yijia and Boqian told me I think the releasing of the fish symbolizes giving back to the river out of the abundance it has provided as a sign of gratitude and respect so that the river will continue to nourish us. A beautiful concept. I tried to ignore my suspicion that these enterprising women catch the same fish over and over again to sell to superstitious tourists.