Sunday, June 3, 2007

Tony's Tour through Water Town

We left Shanghai for the day and headed to a small, more rural area called Zhujiajiao, or "Water town." It's a quaint little town that attracts quite a few tourists for it's thin streets (full of vendors trying to sell all kinds of stuff) and the rivers that flow through the town. Besides the amazing things we saw today, I'm sure none of us will be able to forget our tour guide Tony. He is a native of the town and traveled with us throughout the day and kept us laughing all the way through, but as I'm sure you can imagine he had to put up with a lot from us.

Things we saw in Water Town: a bridge built over 400 years ago, we then walked up through the streets that were so thin that Tony joked that, "a boy could leap from his 2nd story window to his girlfriend's 2nd story window (across the street) and his mother would never know." They gave us 30 minutes to shop here, which we all took advantage of. The locals were so polite and nice and I think we all enjoy the bargaining that goes on in the market. It was a great place to buy silks and jewelry.

Tony also took us through a couple tiny museums that taught us how Rice played such an important part in Water Town's History. A highlight of today was a chance to ride in a Gondola- type boat through the canals that run through the city. Although it is very touristy, much of the city is untouched by it's effects so we got the chance to see how people live...killing and gutting eels on the street...small living spaces...and washing their things in the river, as a few examples. We then toured another Garden. I wouldn't say it was a fancy as the one yesterday, but beautiful all the same.

We then left Water Town and headed for the Oriental Youth Activity Center. This place was more or less a huge park, with acres and acres of lakes, grass, flowers and trees. But then as you go along there are boats to rent, toys to play on, a water park and tons of bike trails. This place was a riot. First of all, we went to these obstacle course type things that are built over a if you fall off the course you fall in the river. It was amazing to see this sort of thing cause in the U.S.A. this sort of thing had lawsuit written all over it. Some of them were easy and some were difficult, but they provided all of us with some good laughs.

Before we left the professors told us to be prepared for the unexpected. Our next event of the day was just that. We saw the boats on the lake and we knew it was something we had to do! We rented four "Dragon Headed Boats" and divided into teams of ten and raced around the lake (often times around in circles because we couldn't figure out how to straighten out the boat) and got very wet. But it was all so so so funny. It just wasn't something we anticipated for the day.

We ended our time in the park walking through a huge Air Craft Carrier that they've set in the middle of a pond. It's filled with all sorts of tanks and jets and is open for the public to kind of peruse through. I wasn't completely sure what the purpose of that whole thing was, but it's not everyday you see an aircraft carrier in a I say, "Why Not!"

Enjoy the pictures...

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