Sunday, May 26, 2013

Xitang Ancient Water Town

Some sights along the way just have to be recorded.  This bus driver is having a rest.  Where to recline?  In the luggage compartment, of course!

This little guy needs to go potty, so Mom holds him up to the nearest telephone pole.  Saves a lot of money on Pampers.

Pigs on their way to market.  Wouldn't PETA have a fit? 

A blurry photo from a bus, but here's a duck farm!
And I burst out laughing at this restaurant when they served the rice in a Pyrex pie plate like the ones I have.  Now pie is one thing we've never been served by the Chinese.  I really wonder why they have this pie plate and where they got it--in a restaurant even!  It was the only one I've seen here, and it made me dream of a delicious, fresh apple pie with pecans served hot with a scoop of vanilla........ahhhh.........

Between Hangzhou and Suzhou is the ancient town of Xitang (say "she-tong").  The series of canals through town and the old buildings along the banks make a scenic destination.  

Love this old boat!

We were here on a Chinese National Holiday (May 1 is like our Labor Day), so the narrow, tiny streets were PACKED with tourists.  We had to shove our way through, and couldn't really look in all the interesting shops because we had to keep up with the tour guide. I wouldn't want to get lost!

Anyone care for a snack?

Here is the garbage barge.  Glad they don't throw it in the canals!

We got on one of the canal boats, rowed by a single oarsman, for a trip down the main canal.  This town was featured in Mission Impossible III, so we need to rent that and watch it again!
Loved all the relaxing dining spots along the water.

Boat Ride in Xitang

Crabs ready to boil.


The tiny, narrow streets are symbolic of this ancient town.  

Loved the pig dumplings!

Dehydrating vegetables.

Even with the big crowds, this beautiful town had such charm.  I love imagining ancient life, and people's daily lives.  

Friday, May 24, 2013


Our trip to see some of the "water towns" in China began in Hangzhou (say hong-joe). As we drove in from the airport, we saw these strange roof ornaments on many of the large homes.  These spires represent the wealth of the home's owner, an advertisement especially useful in helping to find a husband for their daughter.  One ball means they have half a million, two means a million, and three balls means two million or more (RMB).  A little over 6 RMB equals 1 dollar.

Tiesha River
We walked down to the last remaining tower of the old city wall and enjoyed the views of the rivers along the way.  We met with some of the other BYU Teachers and headed out for McDonald's.  Honestly, that Big Mac tasted fabulous!!  It's amazing how our taste buds have changed after eating 10 months of Chinese food!

In the evening, we walked down to West Lake, famous in China because of the Legend of the White Snake. In front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, there was a fountain show and lots of people gathered to enjoy it.

Not the Bellagio, but fun!

Across the lake we could see the Jingci Temple (on the left) and Leifeng Pagoda (on the right) lit up on the hill.

In the water was a dragon boat with brightly lit roofs.  The weather was nice and we enjoyed being outdoors.  

In the morning, we took a boat trip out on West Lake.  There wasn't any rain, but the sky was hazy and the lake was grey.

The details of the dragon boat were more visible in the daytime.

The Leifeng Pagoda was originally built of stone and wood in 975 to celebrate the birth of the son of Qian Chu.  The 2002-built reconstruction is of steel and copper, made for tourism.  Bai Suzhen, the transformed White Snake, was imprisoned here according to legend.

'Three Pools Mirroring the Moon' refers to the three pear-shaped pagodas arranged in a triangle in the water. The pagodas are around 2 meters high with hollow interiors. The belly of each pagoda has five circular holes, into which lamps or candles can be placed.  These pagodas are represented on the back of the 1 RMB note, and are lit during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The Broken Bridge is where the White Snake, in her human form, met and fell in love with the mortal, Xu Xian, when he loans her his umbrella in the rain.
This is called the Baochu Pagoda originally built in 963 as a place to offer prayers for the safe return of Qian Chu, the last king of Wuyue, when he was gone for years to central China. 


Are you tired of my "Rose Poses" yet?

After our boat cruise, we walked through the surrounding park with lotus ponds, bridges and beautiful vegetation.

A group of folks doing tai chi.  What a beautiful spot for a "workout"!

Hangzhou is a core city of the Yangtze River delta and one of the most renowned and prosperous cities in China for the past 1000 years, mostly due to its beautiful natural scenery.  

Truly a very beautiful place, and a refreshing, lovely day in the park.  These flowers remind me of the ones from Jeanette's wedding.  Happy memories!