Oct 27 2010

Zhujiajiao

A day on the town with friends.

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Zhujiajiao is a quick drive, about 45 minutes from Shanghai. The large parking lot was free.

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Many small commercial alleys, unlike the one above were jam packed and very narrow.

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Foods compete with merchandise. A lock was in place although the yellow sign says its open.


Oct 27 2010

Yangzhou the beautiful 扬州市

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江南 jiangnan means South of Changjiang 长江 the Yangtze River?

I’m from Beijing (and loving it), grew up by the wide ChangAn Blvd 长安街 near TianAnMen, engulfed in the sand storm in the spring time, every year. Although we have the Summer Palace where I went often, as with Beihai Park 北海公园, etc. but there is something special neat about this southern city in Jiangsu province that neither BJ nor New York has. The smallness? The humidity? The tempo? Or simply the fact that I was just a day visitor who was still basking in a semi sedated mind after Xiao Pangu? Perhaps exquisite is to describe Yangzhou as magnificent is for Beijing? In that, I feel Yangzhou is like a 工笔画 gongbi painting (traditional Chinese realistic painting the girlscharacterized by fine brushwork and close attention to detail.) while BJ or NY a 写意画 xieyi painting (freehand brushwork in traditional Chinese painting that characterized by vivid expression and bold outline).

The battery in my camera had exhausted after Geyuan, so I had make do with the crackberry, with only 2 megapixel capacity, an ancient quality.

I had been very lucky during the entire trip for no rain dropped while I was out there somewhere, except the following Sunday we spent at Zhujiajiao 朱家角. That Saturday, Yangzhou rained before my arrival and Shanghai poured after I left. The overcast sky made the summer heat less threatening.

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We visited Slender West Lake 瘦西湖 first. It’s YZ’s largest but it wasn’t crowded. Caroline and I walked along the skinny lake, it was very tranquil. The boats in the lake were all manned by young girls in uniform.
Back in the 18th century, the Emperor Qianlong was to come .. to please him, the wealthy salt merchants of Yangzhou patched up this white pagoda with salt over night. The day I was there, the pagoda was surrounded by shelves under going renovation. I didn’t see many cranes and exquisite maybe too early but YZ is trying hard to improve itself, and many places showed the progress while few places were eyesores. A new airport will soon be open, now 2 hours’ drive to Nanjing International Airport.
“This new five star hotel has just been opened.” Caroline explained as we were driving along the Grand Canal. I perked up and then saw the name:
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Ramada.
Ramada?
Five stars?
Shouldn’t the chain use a different name for its luxury line? What do I know.
Caroline is from Jinan, after graduated from college majored in English she took the job with Yangzhou government. Don’t know if she has the tour guide license (aspiring guides – mostly young girls – need to go to school and pass the exam to be licensed ..), she was adequate at it, perhaps has been doing it for a while. given the fact that she works at foreign affairs office.
If I remembered it right, the admissions from the public counts the bulk of the budget for Slender West Lake 瘦西湖.
Couple more gardens and short visit to the jade market, the Driver Zhao took me back to Zhenjiang train station. By then I was in no mood to wander around Zhenjiang but going back to Shanghai.