Friday, September 4, 2009

Water Village

Yesterday we went to a small water village called Zhouzhang. It was
quite beautiful but unfortunately also quite touristy. Although the
small waterways that interwove through the village were really cool,
most of the town was occupied by trinket, souvenir and snack shops.
Even still, some of these little stalls were really interesting
because a lot of the crafts were handmade on site. Watching someone
make taffy is really fun.

Despite my pledge to not get sucked into the tourist circuit, it
turned out that the cheapest way to get to one of these water villages
was through an organized tour. It also turned out that this particular
organized tour was for Chinese tourist and as a result completely
incomprehensible to me. It was still a ton of fun though.

My favorite moment was probably in the morning as we boarded the bus.
Apparently, it is a Chinese tradition to blast karaoke on the DVD
screen inside tour buses. It being 7:30 in the morning, however, no
one seemed willing to give it a go. As the bus got moving, our tour
guide took over the karaoke microphone and started lecturing us about
Shanghai and what we were going to see today. This was all that Mimi
was able to figure out though because the microphone had a TON of
delay on it, presumably to make karaoke singers sound more awesome. So
we sat for nearly an hour in traffic listening to this woman drone on
in this tripped-out, delayed Mandarin. It made my day.

We met some other Americans on the tour who were teaching English in
China for a year but had some time off. We also met a Croatian named
Vanya. Somehow Mimi became the ambassador to all foreigners in the
tour group. So when the whole bus was ready to go except for the other
Americans (who weren't even late), the tour guide asked Mimi, "Where
are your friends?"

I have some pictures from the water village but I'm worried they won't
post correctly and it also takes a long time for them to upload so
I'll hold off for now. Bye for now!

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