Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nanxun (10/27/2012)

Saturday, October 27, 2012
Up early to catch a bus from the Shanghai Tour Bus Center, leaving at 8:30. Tuk joined us for this trip to Nanxun, a couple hours drive west from the city. It rained most of the way, but it stopped before we reached the water town of Nanxun.
The seven or so people who disembarked from the bus here, were herded into an office where we handed in one of the stubs off our tickets. In return, we each received a free gift! A calligraphy brush in a wooden box.
Nanxun was founded during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Through the production of silk, it became home of the four wealthiest merchants south of the Yangtze River.
Our bus ticket included admission to Nanxun and the several venues in town. We started along a canal where the tour boats were parked:
First stop was the Xiaolian Zhuang/Little Lotus Villa and Garden, the private garden and ancestor temple of the family of Liu Yong, a high-ranking Qing Dynasty official. It was built between 1885 to 1924.
Kent and Tuk on a rockery overlook of Lotus Pond:
The not-so-little lotus pond:
Brick archway:
A caged 100 plus-year old Wisteria sinensis/Chinese Wisteria:
Tamiko in the vase gate:
A yin-yang stone mosaic:
Tuk in the rockery pavilion:
Rockery view:
Zigzag bridge:
A monk and a llama?
Ceramic lattice window:
Tuk in the Fan Pavilion:
 A group self-portrait in the Jing Xiang Shi Ku Pavilion:
This pavilion had two caisson (as in spider-web ceiling) ceilings, each with a character of a grain measure:
Two large decorative archways bordered the ancestor shrine:
Gu Qianlin (1909-1998) bust:
He married into the Liu family and had a memorial hall devoted to him.
Several Cinnamomum camphora/Camphor Laurel trees:
Next door was the Jiaye Tang Cangshu Lou/Jiaye Tang Library. Built by the Liu family to store a collection of carved wood books from the Song Dynasty. The property is surrounded by a small moat to protect from fire:
Kent and Tuk at the entrance to the library:
The library:
Thousands of books and manuscripts:
Small sticks separate the individual books:
Carved wood windows:
Qing Dynasty light switch:
The Poem "Rome" or Poem Room:
housing the Guo Chao Poem Book written by Liu Chenggan.
Kent tries out the water pump:
In town, we saw the remains of a Cultural Revolution slogan:
Jiangjia Qiao/Bridge:
And at 90 degrees, the Huajia Qiao/Bridge:
We ended up walking down Nandong Street, passing arcade games?!
A doggie door:
Lanterns across the canal:
A mahjong parlor:
We needed to find a place for lunch, and it was soon apparent that no restaurants had menus in English, nor with pictures! Some of the eateries had the stoves out front, but we were sent upstairs.
So we had to use our limited Chinese skills to order a chicken dish, pork dish and vegetable dish. We ended up with stir-fried bok choy, red-braised pork (1/2 or more fat!):
A soup with half a chicken (try cutting a chicken up with a pair of chopsticks and an aluminum spoon!):
The chicken is trying to escape!
Ordering drinks is the easy part, although Kent was lucky to get a cold beer.
Next was a home of a wealthy silk merchant, the Chong de Tang House or Liu Shi Tihao, belonging to Liu Tiqing (1876-1950). There is an immense courtyard even before you arrive at the sedan hall:
A foyer with open carved wood windows made you feel like you were in a cage:
Kent in the master's sedan chair:
The house had many Western touches, like the stairway with a carved wood banister:
There were several rooms with Western furniture:
Tiled floors:
And stained glass windows:
The facade was made of red brick:
A Western-style garden:
A padlock:
Chinese-style courtyard carved wood detail:
Back on Nandong Street, the Guanghui Qiao/Bridge:
Right in front of the Guanghui Gong, a Taoist temple:
The temple courtyard:
Prayer boards:
Water spout:
Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy:
Tuk sitting on Bixi:
The Silk Guild:
Tongjin Qiao/Bridge:
Local waterfront property:
I caught Kent with a younger woman:
On Hongji Qiao/Bridge:
Tamiko and Tuk still have to climb the steps over the bridge:
Bridge kitty:
Why were the bridges so high? These types of boats must have sailed through here:
Covered corridor bridge:
Washing vegetable greens:
Scrubbing clothes:
Looks like a visitor is standing on water:
These are part of the Baijian Lou/One Hundred Rooms (residences for household servants):
Is this also part of the Baijian Lou?
The undies are interfering with the scenery!
A butcher:
We learned about the production of silk at the Nanxun Historical Museum. Here is how they "grow" silkworms:
Detail of an embroidered silk robe:
Kent with a large cask of rice wine (more like sake):
Lanterns at the Zhang Shiming (a silk merchant) House:
At the end of the Qing Dynasty it was the largest and most refined residence south of the Yangtze River, with a mixture of European and Chinese architectural styles.
Single-stone carving:
A German clock in the reception hall:
Stained glass:
Carved wood windows and carved brick doorway:
Detailed carved wood panel:
Fireplace hearth tiles:
Wrought-iron balcony:
Ballroom divider wall:
Ballroom entrance:
Wrought-iron gate:
We had to be back at the bus stop by 4:30 pm
While we waited Kent took photos of the scaffolding nearby:
We were lucky that the rain had stopped for our visit to Nanxun. The sun peeked out before setting as we rode home.
On the way to and from Nanxun, the bus stopped at a rest area where passengers used the restrooms, smoked, and shopped.
As we neared the city proper of Shanghai, the driver suddenly pulled over and stopped the bus. He jabbered on in Chinese, of which we understood "airport," "subway station," "bus station," and "I don't know." This elicited responses from many passengers, and if you aren't used to being in China, you would think they were arguing. The driver went back to driving, and we soon saw the solid mass of red taillights on the highway into Shanghai. Now we understood we were to be dropped off at the Hongqiao Airport, where we could catch the subway and get home much faster.
Kent and I stopped at Bubba's for dinner. Tuk had purchased some zongzi/dumplings at the rest stop for her dinner.
We can cross another water town off our list.

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