Over the ZigZag bridge

Over the ZigZag bridge

Because, as David says, the evil spirits walk in straight lines.


Our next stop was Chinatown, so called because much of the city was divided up into concessions – British, French, German.  This part remained Chinese and really, it appeared to us so much like a film set, it was hard to imagine it was genuine!


Our destination was the Yu Yuan garden, again somewhere we’d been on a previous occasion but remembered so sketchily that we were happy to return.


It’s a popular place though and everyone was very excited to be there.  Cameramen stood at each corner of the bridge taking photographs of tourists just like us!


Of course, the fine sunny weather brought everyone out, too.  It was so lovely and warm and the garden really did look beautiful.


The lovely statue in the centre of the pond stood serene amidst the hubbub and from time to time in a corner, a quietness would settle – until the next family group passed through of course.


The blossom was flowering in this sheltered place and looked so pretty against the dark red paint.


But so much to see, so many beautiful roof shapes, intricate carvings and little sculptures!  One could come here several days running and see entirely different things.  It’s a beautiful place.


Especially beautiful were these small vignettes.  Small arrangements with bonsai trees in flower set against panels of script or interestingly shaped windows.


Quiet little corners to meditate or contemplate our good fortune, perhaps.


Of course, some little vignettes were composed of more animate beings, such as this little group of friends who were finding much amusement in the koi carp there in the pond.


How about a desk like this – or rather, how would you love a brush like that?  And though nothing was said on this visit, I seem to recall there’s something special about that bat shaped brush rest.  I know bats are lucky…perhaps that’s it.


Out of the garden then and half an hour to explore the shops around here.  Quite a lot of touristy stuff, though David takes us into a silk store where silk duvets are being made from silk “handkerchiefs”.  That’s one double cocoon, soaked and cleaned, teased out and dried into a kind of cap shape, then pulled out like this above a number of similar layers.  The prices seemed very good indeed and several people bought them to take home, since they could be vacuum packed to a fraction of their size.


We had no need of a duvet, however and the silk clothing wasn’t to our taste.  We decided to have a wander about outside.


Out here it was the little concession stalls which caught my eye, aiming for the local Chinese tourist rather than us.


This young man was creating elaborate hairstyles using the small nylon comb/needle/threader and we watched as the elderly women in the crowd laughed and joked with him.


And this little crowd were sitting watching a kind of peep show, as the chap in the blue jacket created the sound effects.  We have no idea what they were watching but it was causing a giggle, for sure.


Actually, most of our time was spent in the sweetie shop, where the ladies tempted us with their nut brittles and sesame snaps.  Some strange soft fruity things were there too, and really, we had no idea what was what.


So, we got an assortment to try; to share with our friends later and enjoy with them.  Strangely enough, when we got back together, lo and behold they’d bought a similar selection, too!  We will have an abundance of Chinese sweets to explore and though we might enjoy them, I doubt whether we’ll be any the wiser about what we’ve eaten!


Speaking of food, it was getting near lunchtime and so we headed through the traffic to the Jinjiang Hotel in the French Quarter for lunch.


Very good it was, too!

Meet me in the next post to find out what we did in the afternoon.

After a delicious lunch

After a delicious lunch

Shanghai, Wednesday morning

Shanghai, Wednesday morning