Friday, February 1, 2008
I had decided to get out of Shanghai on Saturday. Given my lack of knowledge of ANY Manderin I decided to take a bus tour. Met two American ladies (Pam and Diane) and two Mexican sisters, one named Paulina - both from on this bus tour. Our first stop was Zhouzhang, a water town North of . We hired a boat to see the back alleys and bridges from the water. The town became famous because of a painting by an artist named Chen Yifei of the 'key bridge' which dated back some 600 years (the bridge not the artist). Our boat lady proudly showed us a picture of her self with Chen Yifei. His painting had been purchased by an American oil millionaire who'd presented it to China's then leader Deng Xioping. This lead to Xioping pronouncing Zhouzhuang the No.1 Water town in . The towns streets are narrow with traditional stone block lanes. It is clearly becoming catered to tourism, but we saw an old local washing her clothes in the river and when you cast your eyes above street level you could almost imagine the town as it was hundreds of years ago. During the boat ride it began to snow and the rhythmic movement of the boat as the oars lady paddled us through the water set a very peaceful scene.