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Zhouzhuang

Wednesday (our day off), the teachers and most of the EF staff took a trip to Zhouzhuang. We left about 8:30 AM, on a chartered bus. The drive was about 2 1/2 hrs.

Zhouzhuang is famous as a good example of a Chinese “water town”. It attracts a steady stream of Chinese and foreign tourists. Canals run throughout the town, and gondolas ferry tourists around.

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It presents an interesting view of China, both historical and modern. There are some well-preserved houses from the Ming and Qing dynasties, as well as some other gardens and so on. Of course, there are small shops everywhere.

The buildings were quite interesting and the canals quite beautiful. But like so many other unique places in China it’s been turned into another opportunity to hawk cheap trinkets and grossly overpriced “authentic” Chinese items. In our wanderings, we found a few shops doing something unique, and in 2 of them we purchased some of their handiwork (some embroidery and a wood carving). Many of the other shops, however, sold exactly the same stuff found in the tourist districts of Suzhou and Shanghai, but at double the price. They were unusually ambitious in their sales pitches, sometimes following us down the street repeating the same few phrases of English (verycheapverygood, comeinjustlooking). Combined with the stifling heat and sun of the day, we found ourselves comparing it to a level of Tourist Hell straight out of Dante.

We had a good time exploring and looking through the houses and shops. We ate lunch there as well; a local specialty is a sort of BBQ ham which was quite tasty. My bum leg prevented me from walking as far as I might have liked, but I still saw quite a bit of the town. All in all, it was a pleasant break from summer school.

Other interesting sights:

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Fishing cormorants

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Local theater

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Part of a series of wall-sized murals in one of the old houses. It looks like repoussé work on a large scale.

There are many more photos on our Flickr site.

{ 5 } Comments

  1. Kit | August 28, 2007 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Nichole, did you cut your hair? I was looking through the pictures and it looked shorter. If so, can we get a picture of the back? Have fun!

  2. barbie | August 29, 2007 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    I love the fact that Nichole still seems to be a tourist attraction for the Chinese people. :)

  3. Nichole | August 29, 2007 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I cut my hair. I’ll make sure we get a better picture of it posted. The kid with me in the picture is one of my students.

  4. mel | August 29, 2007 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    OMG!!! I can finally comment on all the stupidity I’ve been seeing on here! Miss you both a lot. The short haircut must be a lot cooler in the heat Nichole! How’s the foot Olai?

  5. Diane | September 4, 2007 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    And here I thought it was just me not being too smart on my computer. Glad it is fixed. I have tried a few times! We check in frequently to see what you guys are doing. Always love the pictures and stories!

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