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Monday, February 20, 2006

Water villages in China

Finally, I have decided to post something on my recent trip to China...erm, probably not so recent anymore as it was in last year. Then again, it was towards the end of year 2005. I was there...hmmm...due to job nature and not on leisure travelling. However, as all business travels permit, sometimes we can squeeze in a lil' bit of time for some sightseeing :p
Since I was there for a duration of 3 weeks, I kinda have about 3 weekends for some shopping and also sightseeing.
Oooh...and also, this happens to be my maiden business trip and I was sent to Shanghai, China for training...to train people, in exact....and along with my mentor :)
China...I was glad that I was sent to Shanghai as it happened to be the most advanced city in the country and man, was I amazed by the high skyscrapers as well and also the networking of the highways. However, development has a price...and here, as in other major booming cities around the world, the traffic is BAD...and no offense meant, the driving is in a rage and really swift in action...kinda make you feel like you are in some action movies or something. In fact, you may feel like you drive like an amateur driver or in other words, a tortoise back at home..haha :P
Alright, let's move on to a little bit of the places which I went to during my first weekend.
I took a bus....hmmm...of course not alone!!....with a one-day tour to 2 of the famous water villages in China which lies adjacent in location to Shanghai...approximately an hour's journey. Zhou Zhuang and Tong Li are the water villages which are also known as the Venice of the East.
Well, comparably, Tong Li is smaller whereas Zhou Zhuang is the more renowned name in the water villages and is thus more commercialized. Anyhow, it was cold and windy that day (did I mention I was in Shanghai during the start of winter?brrrr....during the November/December timeline). The following were the pictures captured of the scenery in those two little towns.
If you happen to watch Chinese dramas, especially those set in the older eras, such as Romance in the Rain, Love in Shanghai, etc, you will definitely find those places familiar. In fact, I was amazed by the power of civilization and how far have we come. I was also intrigued by the olden houses or rather mansions in these places.
In fact, the houses, as we were told belong to the rich and famous and some even the officials of the time. I was also told that due to commercialization purposes, these places have been renovated and repainted for the ease of viewing of the tourists. Guess, the actual historic value is lost there :( Even in our country, the same thing is happening to the historical towns which is kinda sad as the conservation value is diminished. However, to be on the rational side, in order to preserve it for the future generation, there should be some maintenance work, else, they will only get to know about those places or artefacts through books or hearsay;)

The first 2 pictures are of the park captured in Zhou Zhuang.
Then the 2nd picture on the left is captured in one of the olden officials' house and the one below it is a display of the olden ritual of a Chinese wedding ceremony.

An ancient opera house in Zhou Zhuang.

Personally, I'd say I prefer Tong Li(which also happens to be my first destination) to Zhou Zhuang as it was still more conservative in nature:)
It started to rain in Zhou Zhuang and the weather was really freezing cold...but all in all, it was a pleasant visit and definitely memorable :)