Day Trip to Zhujiajiao

September 9, 2015
It's crazy, but we had a half-day with the students, then taught them two more full days, only to have three days off because China had a national holiday celebrating 70 years of anti-fascism. I asked my Chinese co-teacher more about this holiday, but she told me this is the first time that she was celebrating something like this. She also informed me that there was a military parade in Beijing and that it was such a big deal that no flights could go in or out of Beijing on that day. Scott and I decided to take advantage of having some time off, so we took a trip out to Zhujiajiao, which is one of the closest water towns to Shanghai.

To get there, we took the subway to People's Square and exited the subway station at Exit #1 and used our map in Shanghai Lonely Planet to get us to Pu'an Road Bus Station. We had no idea what bus to get on, so we just showed a worker where we wanted to go in our guide book and he directed us to the right bus. It was only 12 yuan ($1.90 USD) for a one-way ticket. The crappy thing is that there were no seats, so we did have to stand for over an hour. I'm going to have to get used to that because I'm sure that will happen many more times this year. Scott and I were stumbling and practically falling over every few minutes, and we were laughing almost the whole ride down. Scott insists it's because we are both taller, so our center of gravity is off. This led us to create our new Instagram hashtag which is so stupid it's funny (at least to us): #tallteacherstaketrips.

Once we got to Zhujiajiao, a rickshaw driver took us down to the main part. It was small but bustling and just a fun little spot to wander around in for a day. I'm not sure if it's always as crowded as it was when we went because like I said before, we did go on a national holiday. There were plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, and food stands. We decided to eat at a restaurant that overlooked the water on a deck so that we could take in the views of all the boats going by. We ordered fried rice, cucumbers seasoned with garlic, and some spicy chicken--it hit the spot. Our next stop was to Yuan Jin Buddhist Temple, which was worth the 10 yuan admission price. The only drawback was that these men pulled us aside and gave us some incense to burn and then gave us a red envelope. We were told to take our envelopes and to go sit down so that these two other men could open them up and tell them about our luck. I was kind of wary because I thought this would lead to them asking for money, but curiosity got the best of me because I wanted to see what was inside...anything to try to un-do my psychic reading that did not go well. The man opened it up and said something like, "Good luck. You take a big trip." Then, sure enough, he asked me for a donation. I put in some change and he told me, "Ten and twenty yuan bills are also okay." Ha ha! I guess the man on the other side told Scott he had to pay 400 yuan ($63.50 USD)!!! I looked up to see Scott trying to get away from that man and saying, "Lisa! Lisa! Come here! Let's go!" Scott told me that an Italian couple actually paid them 400 RMB. I hope it was because they genuinely wanted to and not because they felt like they had to.

Next we went checked out some of the shops, and I bought these bells for my classroom and a 10 yuan bracelet. One of our favorite shops was a postcard store that sold wooden postcards with pressed flowers on the front. There was even a little table with pens so that you could write out your postcards right there and give them to the worker to mail out for you. (Of course they sold stamps, too.)

We decided to stop at a tea shop after looking in some of the shops. Scott ordered jasmine tea, and I ordered mint tea but was given black tea, which was fine. Again, we did some people watching as the boats passed by.

Then we took a boat tour of our own! There was the option of a short boat ride or a long one, and we chose the short one. The prices were set, so that was probably a good thing! Our ride was fun and took us right past everything we had just walked by.

We walked back to the bus station, but not before stopping at a milk tea shop for a smoothie and getting a photo by this Japanese lucky cat.

All in all it was a great day, and I know there will be many more fun trips like this to come. Have you ever heard of Zhujiajiao? Where did you go on some of your best day trips?
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