Zhujiajiao is the town of the Zhu family which dates back about 1500 years. From description, it sounded like this area was developed during a feudal system, in this case, the Zhu family clan. The town includes a system of old streets and ancient bridges which lie above an extensive set of canals. The town was a trading center when canal boats were an important way of moving goods. Our guides didn’t talk about it, but I wondered if the canals allowed a flow from the Yangtze River to the town. This would make a lot of sense because, even today, about 10% of the world’s population live along the banks of the Yangtze.
The canal boats hold maybe six passengers. They are propelled by a pilot at the rear with a single long oar, similar to the system used by the gondolas of Venice. But I enjoyed this ride so much more… Our gondola in Venice was SOOO disappointing because our pilot talked nonstop on his cellphone the whole time and I lacked the cahones to tell him to stop. Our pilot today was professional, skilled, and responsive to only us… A privilege to be in his craft. And I’ll include a video next so you can see firsthand how beautiful this old town was:
Later we walked the streets at waters edge, and crossed the canals over 600+ year-old bridges. This walk reminded me some of San Antonio, until we saw the dragon boats in the main canal practicing… They had more contemporary four-man skulls setting their practice course. So one of the pics below has both of these boats…The Old and the New of Shanghai’s canals:
As mentioned before, the experience of walking and cruising these streets and canals was so surprising. Everyday we were presented with so much more…What an impressive country.
And it didn’t end there. Our local guide took us to a private residence that had been converted, partially, into a tour of this family’s collections and gardens. The pieces were procured over 100 years ago. Our guide said this was just for us…That the general public didn’t know what they were walking by everyday, and he didn’t want it to get mobbed. Behold:
Once again, all the pics can’t demonstrate how grand it was to walk through this home, even if each was worth 1000 words!!! The three Buddhist statues represent intelligence, luck, and compassion… That’s all that is needed to live an exemplary life.
I asked our guide how this home and collection survived the artistic purging of the early Mao years. Our guide said that the curators transformed it into a Mao Victory Garden !!! And the authorities didn’t harm it !!!
To add the final touches, I asked our guide to take a photo of We Two with a courtyard background… And what we got, in my humble opinion, was the best pic of the trip. It was so easy to fall in love with this country: