Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Zhou Zhong Water Village near Shanghai

For our second day traveling in China, Joe and I booked a tour of a water village. Why did we book a tour? Aren't we savvy enough travelers that we can get from point A to point B in any foreign language without a scuff on our shoes? Well... no. Our hostel booked us a nice tour and because it was cheap it was going to all be in Chinese. I copied down a useful phrase of "When do we meet you back at the bus?" and we decided to go for it.

So, in the morning we piled into a tiny mini bus with some Chinese and some French tourists and proceeded to pray for our lives as the drivers sped as fast as possible laying on the horn every chance he got for an hour to the village. Apparently the speed limit is slightly less than whatever will cause immediate death and not only is swerving between slower cars acceptable, but so is driving on the sholder of the road where the bicycles and farm animals walk and spliting lanes if you think you can fit. whoa.

Soon, we arrived at the beautiful and slightly more peaceful village.

(I quite like the guys on their lunch break sitting one the top of the circular bridge)

Only *slightly* more peaceful?!?! you ask? Well, dozens of Chinese tourist groups, all preceded by a guide with a bullhorn or yelling at the top of his/her lungs tramped around showing us through the beautiful old houses.

Hmm... I think I like pictures with doorways...

Not only was photography allowed in the old historic houses but people had no problem sitting in the old chairs, posing at the old desks, and TOUCHING the historic bronze relief!YOU CAN TOUCH IT???? I thought. Wow. If museums were like this, I might go more... except for the bullhorns. China seems to have a very different sense of how things are to be preserved vs. used.
Later we wandered to a part of the village that had an old Taoist temple. I love the colors.

Prayers are written on the red slips that are tied to the trees.
I'm still just in the very beginning of understanding anything at all about Taoism, but it seems really interesting.

There are so many ways (religions etc) that people seek order and peace, I think....

And a question: Which one is your favorite picture?


Murray said...

My favorite is the hourglass doorway. They're all nice though.

Kori the tomorrow lady said...

thanks Murray. Funny that I think that one is one of the least "Chinese" like it could be taken anywhere.

A friend here thought the top two looked the most professional but on the blog the side bar is kinda distracting...


SonicLlama said...

I'm torn between either the first one, because of the placement of the boat, or the fourth to the last one, because of the way the roof slopes up in the last third of the picture.

All are nifty, though.

And we are pretty damn savvy.

Kori the tomorrow lady said...

thanks llama.
you can't pick the 4th from the last though. the sky is overexposed so even if it is a judgment based on personal preference... I'm gonna say your wrong.


perhaps, what do you think is the best picture, would have been a better question.

SonicLlama said...

So, Ms. Tomorrow Lady, I'm somehow supposed to make aesthetic judgments not based on personal preference, and, what's more, they can be "wrong?" Whatever ;-P

The first picture of the Taoist temples is nice and postcard-y, and I mean that in a good way.

The one of the guys on the bridge is cool. The buildings on either side frame the bridge section nicely, and the guys on the bridge give bit of character to the structure. I also like the asymmetry of it, with the tree and lanterns off to the right side.

inkandpen said...

Wow. I like the first doorway one (though would like it better if it were cropped straight) and the one with the man sitting under all of the prayers, looking sort of-- deflated?

I've been thinking of you all night-- I've made friends with a woman from Okinawa who is a grad student working out here, and tonight she invited me to a super-tasty sushi party! Which was one Japanese host and lots of Americans, much to her disappointment. But the sushi was great, and I had been feeling lonely, so a success for me, anyway.

Kori the tomorrow lady said...

Thank you for all the comments! Looking back at these pictures and seeing the goddamn sky over exposed got me thinking... I need to learn how to fix that.

Thanks for the encouragement! I really really appreciate it.