Notes on the Geography of China: Zhouzhuang
The guide books say that Zhouzhuang, between Shanghai and Suzhou, is an unspoiled example of the kind of town that once dotted the Yangtze Delta. The Will to Believe is strong, but, as usual, if something's too good to be true it's probably untrue. Zhouzhuang these days is a tourist production. Can you get a sense of what the place was like? Probably better from these pictures than from a visit to the place.
A large parking lot and high-capacity ticket booths lie a few hundred yards behind the camera as we walk into... well, right up front you get the idea. Cultural Shows can't be far ahead.
Keep walking! This is a cold winter day, which explains the sparse crowd.
If you had a car, this is where you'd have to stop it. Never mind: keep walking.
Ah! So this is what it's about. A bit of Bruges, a bit of Venice: another town built in the water. Attractive.
Some houses have been around awhile.
One canal-side house has been made into a museum.
There's a range of bridge types. Post and lintel here.
There are vehicle-free paths, too.
Some are very narrow, but cars don't have to squeeze through.
Enough atmosphere. It's time to play your part and shop.
At the least, you can buy a ticket for a boat ride.
The tourist fleet is tied up at the edge of town.
Think Vermeer could do something with this?
Slack season; time for repairs.
But even in winter a good number of boats ply the canals. ("Ply" is a nautical term reserved for salts wearing blue caps.)
Much easier than operating an old freight boat.
You almost expect each boat to have a hook grabbing an underwater chain that pulls everybody along with just the right spacing.
Want to see real Zhouzhouang? How about dredgers.
How about the edge of town? See that bridge?
Workers going home.
Not quite so colorful.
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