A hanging scroll is one of the many traditional ways to display and exhibit Chinese painting and calligraphy. The painted surface of paper is mounted with decorative silk borders. We searched for a while through tons and tons of wrapped up scrolls to find two that had identical silk borders!
At the northern edge of the ancient town of Zhujiajiao, on Xijing Street, we found Kehzi Yuan (Kehzi Gardens). These gardens date back to 1912.
A wishing well (Blurry hand as a result of me throwing a coin into the “well”)
I wonder if he says “Nihao” instead of “hello”?
The garden consists of three parts – the main hall, the garden and an artificial hill area. The most iconic landmark of the garden is a five story building with a pavilion on it’s roof – the tallest structure in Zhujiajiao.
You can buy fish food here – “Honor System”: You simple place one yuan in the plastic bottle and then take one pack of food. Wow, it’s good to know that some places are still as simple as this, and that there are systems are built on trust.
Feeding the fish ~ It’s more fun than you think!
These were some Big Fish!
The gardens were very peaceful. It was hard to imagine that all the crowds were only one street away!
Stairs, Pagodas, Rock tunnels
… even caves. There were many areas to explore!
Above Right, The Night Bends Bridge: Apparently evil spirits cannot turn corners, so when you are on this bridge, you are safe! Evidently, Justin was on the bridge when he took this photo… so he was safe too! Phew!
These gardens took 15 years to construct! The wars and revolutions of the following half century brought much destruction to the garden and it’s buildings. Only in 1986 did the garden become a protected structure, and renovations to return it to it’s original style was started.
Posing and being silly
With all the freedom and lack of crowds, we were free to play around and enjoy the sights without having to wait for a clearing to take a picture. We made the most of this by spending plenty time exploring the gardens, and even taking a few silly photos.
PEACE AND TRANQUILITY!
We loved these gardens!
We have been looking for a painting to take home. On this particular day we decided that long hanging scrolls, with our names on them (in Chinese characters) would be the ideal thing for us.
We had to translate our names into Chinese characters. This was an interesting ordeal, but the man seems determined to get it right so he repeated our names over and over again to get the pronunciation perfect. It was so sweet – reminding us that even though our language is simple to us the same is not true for the locals.
Setting out the equipment and paper.
While he started writing my name, I felt the same way that I do when I’m at the hairdresser (or any salon). How odd is that? I feel the same way when I go through a car wash, or even when someone washed my car’s windscreen. Haha, odd?
Maybe I can learn to do this too!
First, my name…
Next, Justin’s turn…
We learnt an interesting fact: Hanging scrolls are generally displayed for short periods of time and are then rolled up and tied, so that they are secure for storage. The hanging scrolls get rotated according to season or occasion.
This Chinese man was very sweet and hard working. He worked so slowly and very such precision! After rolling up our scrolls he placed them each into decorative boxes, and then tied ribbon around them so that they could be carried over our arm. How convenient!
We are very happy with our name scrolls, and we can’t wait to hang them!
While in Shanghai we were eager to visit this ancient water town well-known throughout the country. It has a history of more than 1,700 years, and covers an area of 47 square km. We had read many recommendations and positive reviews about this area located in a suburb of Shanghai city.
Here is the story about our adventure…
Just around the corner from our hostel was a bakery, and we had been wanting to try it out. This was the perfect day because we didn’t have time to wait for food. This pastry with ham and cheese had the potential to be a sweet disaster, however, it was quite tasty! 🙂
Thanks to our Lonely Planet, we knew where to catch the necessary bus to Zhujiajiao. When we arrived, we weren’t sure if we should bother staying in line, because, as usual, the queue was long, and we had no way of knowing how frequently they would actually run. There were no English-speaking people at the bus office. One bus filled, and left. There seemed to be a lot of people hovering around the front of the queue, waiting for their opportunity to squeeze in! We decided to wait for another bus, and see how much closer we could get. Miraculously, we were the last couple to get on the bus. The journey would be over an hour, so we were relieved to have seats, but this didn’t seem to both other people. The bus was packed as full as it could be, but we were happy to be on our way!
Once we arrived, we were unsure where to go. We spotted four other travelers, however they didn’t seem to very friendly, so we decided to just walk until we found something interesting. I had a completely different idea of what the town would look like, so I was confused when we arrived. Once we got to a busy area, we spotted a tourism office (in the street pictured above), and we went inside to find a map. Immediately we were offered a map+day ticket (for 80 yuan each), including admission to 8 sights, and a canal boat trip. This was exactly what we wanted!
A local cutting bamboo.
Naturally, there were tons of people!
Only after pressing through the crowds, and crossing a big bridge, did we feel that we had come to the right place!
Apparently, it is said that to visit Zhujiajaio without seeing the bridges means that you have not really been to Zhujiaiao at all! All the bridges are different and old. The old town is connected by 36 bridges in different shapes and styles, varying from wood and stone to marble.
Fangsheng Bridge is the longest, largest and tallest stone bridge. This is the highest and biggest bridge in the town, built in 1571 and entirely out of stone. From this bridge you can get a good bird’s-eye view (above) of the surrounding area.
“Fangsheng” means “to set free” – the traditional Buddhist custom of setting free small animals such as turtles and fish. This is said to bring good karma to the person doing so. I have heard that people passing by here are persuaded to buy a bag of small fish, and then to set them free at the foot of the bridge thereby bringing good luck and blessings to yourself. There are little old Chinese ladies selling the bags of fish – but here’s the catch (excuse the pun) – just on the other side of the bridge there are people recapturing them for resale!
After crossing Fangsheng bridge, we turned right, into another overcrowded alley. There were plenty food and souvenir stalls along the sidewalks. If you can handle the crowds, this is a very culturally rich and diverse place.
Fatty meat wrapper in banana leafs then steamed.
Zongzi (rice and meat wrapped in leaves)
Left, This sweet little old man was trying to smile, but this was the best that he could do. Being a food vendor in these busy alleyways must be exhausting! I believe that he was browning sesame seeds.
Right, These look a bit like South African koeksisters and they are probably pretty much the same. A type of rolled dough fried, and then covered in sugar.
We stood at the above store for a while watching a man making dragons, insects and birds out of grass and leaves. The detail of his intricate work was incredible. it was quite mesmerising to watch!
Known by another elegant name, “Pearl Stream”, this little town is the best-preserved of the four ancient towns in Shanghai. Numerous old bridges over winding streams, small rivers shaded by willow trees, and houses with attached courtyards. These rivers transport people living amongst the hustle and bustle of the modern city to an alternative world filled with antiques, relaxation, and tranquility.
In the town, there is an ancient street filled with ancient buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, attracting a huge number of tourists. This is North Street, the best preserved ancient street in this town. It is one kilometer long. Walking down this street and appreciating the historic buildings, markets, canal, and bridges, was very fascinating!
Time for a snack…
We bought a bag of peanut brittle too. It was delicious!
We visited the Tongtianhe Medicine shop. There were bottles of Chinese medicines, made from natural ingredients. Above right, Ginger root.
It was very peaceful here.
As it got later, we managed to find some quieter alleyways.
A pet market ~ Cute!!
They were all saying “PICK ME!!”
Next stop, the City of God Temple.
Lesson learnt here: Don’t take incense from strangers
(Check out that story here <— CLICK ON LINK!)
We had to be back in line at the bus terminal by a certain time to be sure that we didn’t miss the last bus back to Shanghai. It was surprisingly easy to retrace our footsteps. While we waited in line, we munched on the delicious bag of peanut brittle that we bought at the market. The queue grew by the minute – we were happy we had arrived early enough.
What a wonderful day!!!
The Huangpu River is not only the mother river of Shanghai, but also assembles the splendid tourist attractions of the city. In Shanghai, the Huangpu River cruise is a traditional tourist program.
Cruises are available everyday, including the shorter cruises (navigating the main waterfront area between the Yangpu Bridge and the Nanpu Bridge) and the complete cruises (going eastward along the golden waterway, over a distance waterway, over a distance of 60 km/ 37 miles).
We took a late afternoon cruise (90 minutes) so that we could see the riverside after sunset as well. Waiting for the ferry was pretty entertaining!! We had to wait behind a set of glass doors in a seating area. As more and more people started to arrive, the tension grew thicker. All the old Chinese ladies started to get restless. With every slight noise, they would clutch to their belongs, ready to get up and LITERALLY run to the queue. I don’t know why they bother doing this, because the truth is that, in our experience, they usually just push into the line anyway. Justin and I walked to the glass door, and so the queue started… loads and loads of people started pushing and shoving to make sure that they got a place (in a short line, for a HUGE ferry, hehe!!)
The cruise starts from the Bund and goes upstream. Towards the south it takes you to look at the Hahpu Bridge, and then turns round to the north to go to the Yangpu Bridge and finally reaches Wusong Mouth (Wusongkou), which is an inlet of the sea that the huangpu River and the Yangze River flow into.
A perfect afternoon!
West of the river.
When flood tide happens, you can see the marvelous spectacle of “Three Waters Mingle Together” – blue-grey water from the Huangpu River, blue colored water from the East China Sea and yellow colored water with silt from the Yangtze River.
There was a South Korean couple sitting next to us, and we chatted to them for a bit.
They also live in China now.
During the cruise, you can find the obvious differences of architecture between the east bank and the west bank. On the west bank, a lot of western-style buildings can be seen, full of exotic flavor. While on the east bank, rows of skyscrapers spring up and rise above the clouds.
This boy was pretending to be some kind of sumo wrestler.
We had a good laugh watching him!! He didn’t seem impressed when we showed him this photograph, but his mom laughed so hard that she drooled all over herself!! hahaha… Hilarious!!
The famous Oriental Pearl TV Tower, which is the tallest TV tower in Asia and the third highest in the world, stands between the Yangpu and Nanpu Bridge. This forms a very beautiful picture of ‘Two Dragons Playing Ball’.
Thanks to the great weather, modern skyscrapers and the agricultural styles of the various building, the bund cruise was beautiful. Whether it is the daytime or at night, the views along the river are the equally as stunning.