“Today we were treated to a trip out to Venice… Venice of the Orient that is! The Zhou Zhuang water village is located outside of Shanghai and the trip out there treated us to a view of the rural lifestyle including rice paddies and fresh water pearl farms. The water village itself is a 900 year old man-made wonder of engineering. It was developed to support the local merchants in shipping their wares to other villages along the lake and the Grand Canal. Not only is this a beautiful site to experience, but the shopping here was cheaper as well… We are continuously surprised by the lack of crowds in most of our tours, and other than a few areas of the village that were a bit busier than we have become accustomed to, things were still relatively calm versus what we expected.
One of the options available for the free time in the village was a gondola ride through the canals… 6 of the guys in the group (who shall remain nameless) decided to partake in this and for 100 Yuen, they were treated to an elderly lady paddling them through the canals while they sat back and enjoyed the sites… chivalry at its finest! To top this off they paid an additional 50 Yuen to have her serenade them along the way… just to make things more romantic!
Following our tour and shopping, we stopped at a local hotel for a treat of Pork Hocks for lunch… these were quite similar to pulled bbq pork that we are familiar with at home.
This tour reinforced the extremes in the wealth of the city versus the poverty of the rural. As China continues to develop, there is still struggles that are apparent in the smaller centres.
As we headed back in to Shanghai, we had the afternoon to ourselves to explore… most opted to head to Nanjing Road to enjoy the energy and sites in the area. A large group saw this as an opportunity to enjoy some Szechuan food… the report back was that it was exceptional… starting out with one pepper in the beef dish and ending up with a soup that was 3 peppers hot! Most were still sweating well in to the evening!
This evening our suits were brought in for their fittings, and most were perfect… others only required minor adjustments. This was the ideal opportunity for Sam the tailor to upsell us all, and many of us increased our orders to be delivered the next day (it takes his crew 4 hours to make a suit and 1 hour per shirt… they worked well in to the night to accomplish this and did not disappoint)
After suit fittings, we headed back in to the Nanjing area for a little more wandering (the night time there is reminiscent of the lights in Vegas). We took advantage of the local Pizza Hut to take in dinner, and were quite surprised by not only the ambiance – these are quite nice places to dine – but also by an extensive menu that included everything from pizza to steaks, seafood, etc… more like what we would expect from Joey`s or Earl`s at home!
This was also an opportunity for a few of us to get some last minute shopping done. There were numerous elastic powered helicopters purchased (despite the best efforts of the police to chase away the street vendors) and the evening was topped off with the purchase of a few more handbags from a dark back alley (literally – we all had concerns about entering the alley and set up a quick last minute plan to ensure that at least one of the 6 of us made it out alive to report any foul play… the last thing that was said as we walked in to the alley was “It`s all part of the experience…“) Thankfully this ended up being something that we could all joke about afterwards as we all made it out relatively unscathed (with the exception of our wallets which were lightened a little by the shopping)”
This blog post was submitted to me by Jeff Simpson and Tricia Waddell.