This morning I woke up early so I could stroll around the village one more time before leaving. I saw all of the local women squatting down by the canals washing their clothing or vegetables for the day. It is such a peaceful place. Men were riding their three wheeled bikes delivering coal, and supplies to different shops and houses and old women were going door to door cleaning chamber pots.
That is not a job I would want. May met me at my hotel at 7:00 in the morning and we went to the van to head back to Suzhou. In Suzhou we went straight to the train station for my ride to Shanghai. I took the maglev train. It was fast! We traveled at over 179 kilometers an hour. It took less than half an hour to get to Shanghai. In Shanghai Wendy met me and we headed to Zhouzhuang. It was very nice to see a familiar face again. I slept most of the way. The trip took an hour and a half. Zhouzhuang is an ancient water village.
It is also filled with canals and ancient buildings. It has some very famous bridges in it. Many of them have been used in advertising around the world, but most people wouldn't know where they were from unless they actually went to Zhouzhuang. We visited several ancient mansions in the village, which were unimpressive. I could see that in the past they were spectacular, but their carvings and beauty had long since been ripped out leaving only a shell remaining. The streets are lined with shops selling food, local snacks, artworks, your basic souvenirs, and not so ancient antiques. It is a very popular place with Chinese visitors. Normally visitors can be driven over the river to the village, but the bridge is under construction so we had to take a ferry.
The village was not very nice. It looks like it might have been a wonderful place to visit in the past, but now it is just a tourist trap filled with shops selling junk and hucksters trying to relieve you of your money. I would not recommend it to anyone. After Zhouzhuang we headed back to Shanghai. Luckily, Shanghai is holding its annual jazz festival. I love jazz and decided to check it out. It was really fun. It's been years since I heard live jazz. Shanghai has been famous for jazz since the 1920's and is very proud of that fact. After visiting the festival for a while I headed back to the hotel to write this.