China, Day 4: Water Town, Xitang

Xitang, a water town that retains much of its ancient character

Xitang, a water town that retains much of its ancient character

Day 4 – China Travel Journal

Monday, April 15, 2013 – Xitang

Morning:
Early start, we are off to the bus station. We are going to an old-fashioned water town, Xitang, about two hours from Shanghai. As usual, I’m scared of drinking too much water because I’m afraid of the toilets.

Night:
Made it to Xitang and back with no problems. The bus was quick and cheap. While crowded with tourists and stalls full of crap to buy, a water town was definitely worth experiencing. Xitang retains much of the atmosphere and spirit of an old canal village. There were rudimentary exhibits throughout the town, but none of the English translations made any sense.

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We get a lot of stares wherever we go. I guess two tall pale Germans and one short brown woman of indeterminate heritage doth make a weird group. Frank picked a nice hole in the wall for lunch. It takes getting used to people staring at you when you’re eating. Especially with chopsticks and noodles, broth dribbling down your chin, sauce plopping on your pants.

Tofu, egg and tomato, and eggplant

Tofu, egg and tomato, and eggplant

When we got back to Shanghai this evening, Frank took us to the famous “Times Square” of Shanghai. My God, the lights! It’s a sight to behold. Bright neon like the noonday summer sun everywhere. Amazing.

The Time Square of Shanghai

The Times Square of Shanghai

We saw a guy get robbed. I don’t think a weapon was involved, it was all a stealth grab ‘n go job. The victim wasn’t white, that’s a first for my eyes. He might have not even been a tourist.

We looked for Japanese dumplings but were unsuccessful at both large food halls we tried. We ventured down a side street and tried one of the seemingly thousands of little cafes. We ordered the standard of five assorted dishes. I’m getting better at using chopsticks out of necessity, but I’m still clumsy.

Say what?

Say what?

Is it now?

Is it now?

And you wonder why we're vegan

And you wonder why we’re vegan

It’s around 21:00 now, I should sleep. Ugh, we have to catch a cab at 5:30 tomorrow morning to Pudong for our flight to Guilin. The weather forecast is warm rain. If it’s torrential, Frank said we’ll take a bus to some rice fields. The ticket to Guilin was about 700 RMB, or 110 USD a piece. And we bought them yesterday, not bad.

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