An early start this morning, so we were up with the lark and popped our noses out on the verandah to see what the weather was like. Not bad. Not as nice as yesterday but fairly mild and dry. I thought I could see a couple of helicopters hovering above the city, so got my camera out to take a look.
Actually, they were flying kites from the Bund, so we zoomed in for a better shot.
Oh, and then I turned around and looked in the other direction! Yes, this photo really was taken at the very same time as the kite one and from the very same spot, too.
Anyway, after a spot of breakfast, we gathered our things (and our people!) and met in the Theatre to await further instruction. In no time at all we were boarding our bus and off to Zhujiajiao, just over an hour’s drive away.
I’m sorry that this is such a horrible picture but I wanted to share one of the Shanghai ring road signs, with traffic updates there on the sign itself. The bright green is an illuminated indicator of the density and speed of the traffic on this, one of the busiest roads. I’ve not seen this elsewhere and thought it pretty useful for a driver to see immediately where the trouble spots might be.
Actually, the motorways were otherwise much the same as everywhere else in the world, wouldn’t you say?
As we drove, we passed new, modern developments of what our guide referred to as “villas”.
Everywhere we go, there is building. And more building. This was on the outskirts of Zhujiajiao, which is probably within commuting distance from Shanghai, but more likely, of one of the outlying suburbs which seem equally popular.
Anyway, shortly afterwards, the twenty or so of us were dropped off at the entrance to the town, stepped through the gateway and look. Isn’t that lovely?
Well, yes, this is a touristy kind of place, but also somewhere that real people live and work, so rather than focus on the touristy stuff, it was good to observe the inhabitants for a while.
It’s noted for the “gondolas” on the river too, and we looked forward to a trip later. But for now, we were going to walk through the town a while.
Yes, the bedding was out in the fresh air, hanging all over the place as always.
This man was rinsing some fish in the stream – though looking at it, I wonder if the fish came out and cleaner after being in the water, which didn’t look too clean to us.
We smiled at the New Year “firecrackers” with the CocaCola logo all over them. Oh yes, here we are!
The end of this particular path offered a far more interesting view however. We just couldn’t stop taking photos.
A little along the next street, we passed several food stalls, each selling virtually the same things – little packages of chicken and rice, wrapped in leaves and tied with grass.
Some smelled pleasantly savoury, others a little less appetising.
And no one fancied chicken or duck right now!
The old buildings were so photogenic though and the red lanterns shone in the sunshine. Really lovely.
It was good, too, that no one really bothered us, but continued their day enjoying the sunshine as much as we were.
The old bridges were beautiful and by one of them, the oldest, an old woman was selling live fish. This was not to eat or to feed to pets but to set free…like the little birds in cages, to win a little karma from the Gods.
On this side of the river, the shops were more touristy in theme. Buy a comb, a plastic toy, a silk cushion cover or “hand” embroidery…or…
two wooden rice spoons! Far more useful!
We were making our way back towards the old Post Office and the Apothecary’s shop
The Apothecary’s was dark and none to interesting, we thought, but the post office rather more lively.
I posted a card home.
I then went upstairs to look at the wonderful historic postcards on display. Once more, I smiled at the little English translation “Old garden has experienced many vicissitudes”.
Walking past the vegetables drying in the sun, we’d arrived at our boat stop.
Six to the boat; perfect for our party and the gentleman with the oar did a grand job of transporting us back to the bus stop in super quick time.
Along the way, we caught more, lovely glimspes of life in Zhujiajiao and were thrilled to be here.
This was a busy thoroughfare though and our driver needed to concentrate!
Making friends along the way is all part of the fun and we were rather sorry our trip was over so soon.
But leave we must. Our ship was due to sail from Shanghai at 1.30pm and we needed to be back on board.
We’ve loved our time in the city and have overwritten all the less successful experiences from our previous trip. We feel we have seen so much and have been truly blessed with marvellous weather, too.
At 1.30pm precisely, we reversed out of the berth and a short way downstream before making a 360 degree turn and sailing away. Goodbye Shanghai, I am sure we will be back.
We are now on our way to Hiroshima and will arrive tomorrow morning (Saturday). As we enter Japanese water this afternoon, the communications will disappear once again, so we’ll be quiet for a few days. Don’t worry though, we’ll still be having fun and I’ll have plenty of stories to tell when we’re back in touch.
See you later!