A visit to a traditional water village

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
City Cente Youth Hostel, Shanghai

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Monday, May 3, 2010

Today we had booked on to one of the trips organised by the hostel to Zhujiajiao water village about 1 1/4 hours out of Shanghai centre.  The minibus collected us at 9.30am and we found that ourselves and the 'Irish' had been joined by two young Canadian female students and a German woman who lived in Australia.  Andrew got stuck on the seat next to the German lady who didn't stop talking to him the whole way, I just hid behind my book on his other side giggling. 

We arrived and were given a bit of a run down from the driver on the area and what we could and should do there, it sounded quaint.  The narrow streets were extremely crowded as it was Bank Holiday Monday and the heat was stifling.  We went for a wander around the village taking in the shops selling traditional handpainted scrolls, silk scarves, fresh water pearls, handmade woven grass animals, handmade pure silk duvets and tiny knitted childrens booties.  Andrew and Rorie couldn't resit a go of the balloon shooting game, and the woman running it seemed to have a death wish, running in front of the target despite the pointed guns all the time.

The food stalls all sold what seemed to be a speciality, huge knuckles of pork and for snacks, sweet rice bound in leaves.  We didn't try them but a later report from the German lady told us that they were very tasty.  There were also loads of restaurants all with fish tanks outside full of all types of wildlife.  Rorie and Emer (those with huge budget) paid the equivalent of 2 pounds each to go in to the famous gardens, which they told us were beautiful, we weren't too bothered and sat watching the boats going by down the narrow canals in the sunshine. 

When they returned after 1/2 hour we took a boat together through the village which was short but a pleasant and relaxing thing to do.  Back at the minibus Andrew fought his way on to the window seat so this time I would be sat next to the German lady - she did keep me entertained though, I thought if a little eccentric she was harmless.

We got back to the hostel at about 3pm and Rorie and Emer decided to do some shopping so Andrew and I said that we would go to the train station to buy the tickets for our trip to Yangzhou.  As we had got the hostel staff to write out what we wanted in Chinese before hand it was a breeze and we leisurely wandered back through the park by the boat lake.  On the way we found, what appeared to be, a decent restaurant not far from the hostel (the hostel food is quite expensive and we fancied a change).  So when Rorie and Emer came back at about 8pm we all decided to give it a try.  We all played it safe ordering pizza apart from Rorie who ordered the steak. 

The menu, though in English, was quite complicated and somehow hilariously we ended up with 3 pizzas (which came about 20 minutes after everything else), 3 spring rolls, 2 chive dumplings, 2 steaks with egg (so rare we decided uncooked), 2 bowls of corn soup, 2 salads and 2 glasses of cold tea.  Quite something.  The staff all seemed to be drunk too.  We made our excuses, paid the bill (between 4 not too bad) and got a few beers (from the cheap shop) for the room and discussed what on earth to expect from the next days Expo - we still have no idea what it is.... 
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