November 2008

After our first day at sea on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship we hit our first port of call, also in China, of Shanghai. There were a number of excursions we could have taken in the huge city itself but we’d wanted to get as much variety into our trips during our honeymoon and as we’d spent three days in another large city – Beijing – we opted for something a little different here. Thus it was that we broke our cruise excursion virginity with a coach trip to Zhujiajiao.

The buildings and signs of local life in and around Zhujiajiao were fabulously, authentically, traditionally Chinese. Much like our visit to the Beijing Hutongs the contrast with modern life in China was both wonderful to experience and exactly what we’d come to see on our Asian cruise.

While taking one of the photos of the rivers running through the water town I got talking to a young American couple also taking loads of shots of the scenery. It turned out that they took stock photography and sold them as a means to fund their travels. When we returned from our cruise I checked stock photography sites for several months to see if I could see anything on them that they might have uploaded but never did which was a shame.

One of our stops in Zhujiajiao was at a rice museum which showed an example of the Chinese windmill used in its preparation although I’m not entirely sure how any longer. I really should get into the habit of making more notes to accompany the photos of the places I visit.

Zhujiajiao is a water town comprising of several rivers breaking up the land into islands and 36 stone bridges joining them back up again. Getting around the town can be done on foot, by bike (if there aren’t too many other people around), or, as you could probably guess, by boat. Our excursion would naturally include a water taxi ride.

Just outside the walls of the town while we waited for our coach to return and pick us up were signs of more typically modern Chinese life.

Hanging around in a tour group while plenty of people went about their daily lives also gave me a great chance to sneak in a a few photos of the local Chinese people in and around Zhujiajiao.

With Shanghai being so large and Zhujiajiao being on the opposite side of it to where the cruise ship was docked the coach journey back took quite a while but did allow us plenty of time to see the sprawling city and the vast amounts of construction taking place. The disparity between what we saw from the coach windows and what we’d experienced in the water town was immense. In the video below you can see the Shanghai World Financial Centre in the distance.

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