Sunday, September 11, 2011

Zhujiajiao (9/11/2011)

Sunday, September 11, 2011
Joined a long line to catch the bus to Zhujiajiao:
They filled two buses, standing-room only, before we were able to board. Once the bus's seats are filled, they apparently go down the line asking if anyone wants to stand, as droves of people leave the line and crowd onto the bus. We opted to wait for seats.
An hour's ride later, we arrived at the most famous of Shanghai's water towns, Zhujiajiao/Zhu Family Settlement. Known as the "Venice of Shanghai," it was first settled during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). It was known for rice and textile production. Now it has a historic district filled with Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) era buildings.
We purchased the all-options tourist ticket that included 9 sites and were given detailed directions on what route to follow. First we climbed over the iconic Fangsheng Bridge, for a view of the Caogang Creek and gondolas:
Crowds of people waited to board the gondolas:
Fangsheng/Setting-Fish-Free Bridge was built in 1571, and is the largest, longest and oldest stone bridge in Shanghai. In the recent past, people used to sell fish to the tourists to "set free."
At the top of the bridge is the Dragon Gate Stone:
depicting eight coiled dragons encircling a pearl.
One of the four "lifelike" stone lions:
Fangsheng Bridge is a five-arched bridge that is 70m/230' long and peaks at 5.8m/20' high:
It was built by the monk Xingchao of Cimen Temple, and rebuilt in 1812.
This bridge is one of 36 bridges in Zhujiajiao.
Turtles for sale:
BBQ pig's knuckles for sale (under spinning bags of stones to keep the flies away):
Soy bean and sugar cane vendor:
Crowded Dongjing Street:
Lotus seed pods and a fish for sale:
Rooster lollipops:
The lollipops looked like caramelized sugar drizzled in animal shapes.
A pair of knockers:
View across Caogang Creek to the Yuanjin Buddhist Temple:
1) Our first stop was the Hanlin Stele Museum in Ah Po's Tea House:
Stele are usually vertical stone or wood tablets, but they apparently include horizontal inscribed boards:
A statue of a stone carver:
Carved wooden desk and chair:
We continued along the canal (actually Pearl Stream) past the Yong'an Bridge:
Every block seemed to have a vendor charging you to shoot at balloons:
Gourd arbor:
The Zhonglong Bridge:
We followed a large crowd to see what was up - a scarlet macaw:
Detail of a water container:
A nice tea pavilion:
2) Kezhi Garden is actually two gardens (Ke and Zhi) linked by a bridge. These two little words have a long meaning - "not to forget to till the land while learning knowledge from books." All that out of "study" and "farming." The garden was built by Ma Wenging (a salt merchant from Jiangxi) in 1912 and has Chinese and European influences. It took 15 years to create, then was destroyed during the war against Japan. In 1956, it was taken over by the Zhujiajiao Middle School which tore down more buildings. In 2003, the school was relocated and the gardens were rebuilt and is now protected.
A print in the reception hall shows koala-like squirrels:
A porcelain dragon lily pond:
A screen in the room where Ma's daughters played the Guqin stringed instrument or the board game Weiqi/Go:
A double corridor:
The sunny outer corridor was for men and the shady one for women.
At the entrance to the garden itself stood a large Taihu rock in the shape of a horse's head:
This was likely not part of the original design:
Birdcage lamps:
The landmark 5-story Moon-viewing Tower:
Unusual plant:
Larger than our snow drops:
Turns out to be Autumn Crocus (Colchicum):
Fish-viewing platform:
Buddha at the family worship hall:
The walkways were made from small bricks turned at a 45 degree angle:
Zigzag bridge:
Arched bridge:
Country-life display:
Fish-drying rack:
Ox and windmill:
Rockery cum moon gate cum stone boat cum tea house:
Porcelain stair decoration:
Back to the canal and the Yongquan Bridge:
Note the fisherman who just dropped his net. He pulls up a 3-4" silvery fish:
A punk bar, Zh'er:
We had lunch at the restaurant next door:
A rustic stone house with two floors of old furniture and was supposed to have the works of the photographer owner. There were only a few small paintings. We had xiao tian, known as granny's dumplings:
3) No photos, but we visited the Shanghai Quanhua Art Gallery which had some excellent watercolor paintings in the former Shu residence which is in the typical architecture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, with fret long-style windows, simple furnishings, and a serene brick laid courtyard.
A gondola ride was included in our ticket.
Gondoliering is hard work:
Our gondolier was cheerful:
Although the gondola could seat 6-8 people, they allowed you to have your own gondola. We shared with a single guy.
As you can see, there were plenty of gondolas for all:
Passing under the Zhonglong Bridge.
Gondola traffic:
Now heading under Yong'an Bridge:
Ah Po Tea House:
Crossing Caogang Creek with Fangsheng Bridge upstream:
The weather started out nice and sunny today, but was now overcast.
A gondola race:
Heading under the Tai-an Bridge:
Built in 1584 with a length of 26m/86'.
Um, washing dished in the canal:
Lang/Veranda Bridge:
Did they see a ghost?!
Qijia Bridge:
4) Chenghuangmiao/Town God Temple is a Daoist Temple dedicated to Guanyin, the goddess of mercy. Here a screen outside the temple stops evil spirits from entering:
Tying a prayer ribbon:
Very smoky here in the main courtyard:
A stage for performances:
Lighting incense:
Making obeiance (and then leaving a monetary offering!):
Guardian lion smiles:
Back out to the canal, and the Chenghuang Bridge:
Painting the storefront:
5) Great Qing Post Office (founded in 1903) Museum:
Dragon-coiled post box:
Early communication through beacon towers:
Canal scene from the Yongfeng Bridge:
Yongfeng Bridge:
Canal scene from the Zhongguanyin Bridge:
Zhongguanyin Bridge:
6) Tong Tian He Pharmacy (established in 1878) Museum:
7) No photos from the Shanghai Handicrafts Exhibition Hall which had mostly Sancai ceramics.
Canal scene from Tai'an Bridge:
Rebuilding a gondola:
8) Yuanjin Buddhist Temple rooftops:
Built in 1341 and also known as Empress Temple.
(It looked like it was about to rain any second, so we kept moving!)
A well at the temple:
My incense is bigger than yours:
Two monks, one with a "Just Do It" t-shirt:
Temple tower:
Back in the streets, we saw the local zongzi/rice dumplings that are wrapped with three pieces of straw instead of string:
A dirt pile!
9) Y-Art Gallery with ceremonial carvings:
Old Man root carving:
Pod carving:
Carved tea pot:
Another tree carving and a stone Pixi:
Whew! We made it to all nine tourist sites before the rains began. Another long line at the bus station, but this time we had an inter-city bus to ride back to Shanghai.
I know, I know, if Zhujiajiao is in Shanghai, how could we be going back to Shanghai? Zhujiajiao is in metro Shanghai and we were returning to the city...

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