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Shanghai Day 3

Still suffering from jet lag we all had restless nights but packed our bags and made breakfast at 9 am. Our guide David arrived at 10 am and he had a driver as well. We set off for the 'Water Village' a little over an hours drive from Shanghai. It wasn't rush hour but it sure felt like it! We arrived at Zhujiajiao Ancient Town and it reminded us immediately of other Asian towns such as in Phuket - heaps more scooters than in Shanghai, narrower streets, rows of small retailers and power lines everywhere. The 'water' is a series of man-made canals connected to the Grand Canal which is a canal connecting Hangzhou in Zhejiang province with Beijing in the north. It is 1800 kms long and the first 500kms was built starting in 581BC! It is the longest man-made canal in the world. The canals around the town used to be used by fishermen and farmers trading their wares but is now mainly a tourist attraction. The odd sight of junks and quadruple scull was quite a contrast and a pleasant surprise! We went for a ride on one of the small junks and then visited the Zezhi Gazrden built by the richest man in the village in 1912. The four main features of these 'Southern China' gardens are architecture (heaps of small and medium-sized buildings), water, mountains (large rock formations made using imported rocks), and plants. They are very formal and not unlike Japanese gardens and very picturesque. We then took the van back to Shanghai to see the 'old city' again in the daylight and to see the Yu Gardens which were not dissimilar to those in Zhujiajiao just a bit bigger and with more use of rock formations. We then visited the Buddhist temple and saw the amazing Jade Buddha donated to a Chinese monk by Burma in 1882. It is fashioned from a single huge jade rock and is beautiful. Unfortunately you can't take photos of it. However there are several other incredible gold Buddhas and other sculptures that are pretty impressive too. The temple occupies a large plot of land and encompasses several shrines. It somehow managed to escape the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976) relatively unscathed. We were dropped by the van at Starbucks near the hotel for a quick but late 'lunch' before catching a taxi from the hotel to Pudong airport for our journey home. We all agreed that the manic nature of Shanghai with all its language difficulties and feeling a little 'alien' made heading home that much easier. Of course looking forward to seeing our granddaughter also made it easy!

Posted by 3kiwisabroad 03:30

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