Monday, January 17, 2011



Slept fairly well; the jet lag has not been a problem for either of us. We met our new tour mates who arrived late last night this morning at breakfast. One has a very bad cold; a new challenge to stay healthy especially since we all eat so many meals together with the “family style” common bowls.

The weather is still cold and today we have rain. Out with the umbrellas and on the bus by 9 am. Today we spent about an hour driving out to a “River Town”; so named because the streets are canals similar to those found in Venice, Italy. Traffic was especially heavy with the rain; but then heavy traffic is an issue twenty-four hours a day according to Hanna. This is a very old village and although they do have electricity they still do not have plumbing in the homes. Even their clothes are washed in the canals. There are about ten thousand people who reside in Zhu Jia Jiao Village compared to the seventeen million that live in Shanghai.

After a short boat ride in the canal we toured the Ma Garden, built by Mr. Ma who was a salt merchant during the Ming Dynasty. Umbrellas made it a very different experience from yesterday but still informative and beautiful. Leaving the garden we walked along the canal until we reached the Setting-Free Bridge; crossed over and were immediately surrounded by women trying to sell us live gold fish in bags of water. Then Hanna explained that people purchase these fish to “set them free” in the water under the ah ha moment!

Lunch was at a local restaurant; another Chinese dinner. But we’re getting smarter and didn’t feel that we had to eat everything set before us! Walked back to the bus and the long journey back into the city arriving about 3 pm. During the trip Hanna entertained us by teaching us how the Chinese count to twenty-nine on one hand. The balance of the afternoon was free; most decided to dry out and get warm. Dinner is on our own, a good evening to work on journals and photos.

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