Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Water village & Zoo

For my parents last weekend in Shanghai we took them to Zhujiajiao (jew-ja-jee-ow), an ancient water village an hour outside of Shanghai.  A bit like Venice, these ancient water villages have canals for roadways.  Ironically the canals can become just as cluttered by boats as they highways during rush hour.  You can buy a ride on one of the traditional boats, but the idea of Charlie in one of these low boats made me nervous. 
For me the highlight of the village was the Kehzi Gardens.  Originally part of the private home of the founding family, the gardens were like a beautiful oasis.  There were little Chinese style gazebos and foot bridges that crisscrossed over a small brook that ended in a pond with koi.  In one arched building we came across a woman selling silk needle points, which was a past time for the daughter's of the family.  We got the kids each a small needle point and mom and I both picked out one with a scene of the village.  I will have them framed and will add them to our growing collection of mementos from our little adventures.  After the gardens we explored some more of the village, including two temples, both still in use.  If we ever doubted that our kids were taking in some of the culture we've exposed them to Charlie put that question to rest.  Upon entering the Buddhist temple Charlie went to the prayer bench and with amazing accuracy mimicked worshipers he's seen in the past!
After Charlie finished his prayers we moved on through narrow alleys crowded with vendors selling food and souvenirs.  As with most tourist attractions you can find the same silly souvenirs here as you can at just about any other place in Shanghai.  But, there are some genuine artists and Lucas and I picked up a beautiful wood carving of a dragon and phoenix for our wall.  Dad couldn't seem to get enough of all the different foods available.  I'm sure if language wasn't an issue he would have asked a lot of questions!
On their last full day in Shanghai we took my folks to the Shanghai Wild Animal Park.  Lucas and I have taken the kids before, it's a nice zoo and offers opportunities in interact with the animals that you don't find in zoos in the States.  Lily started her day off with a ride on a zebra, while Charlie and I climbed up on top of an elephant.  He was a bit leery at first but seemed to enjoy it once he got over his initial fear.  Can't blame him, it is a huge animal, and you can only hope that he is in a good mood!
We invited our driver, Chem, to spend the day with us.  The zoo is pretty isolated and it didn't seem fair to leave him sitting in a parking lot while we had a fun day.  The kids loved having Chem with us and kept arguing over who got his attention. 

We got to see the zoo's nursery which we missed last time and the kids seemed to really enjoy seeing the baby animals.  Also in the nursery area was an enclosed aviary, but instead of birds it was filled with ring tailed lemurs.  They mostly just sat and sunned themselves but we all found them to be incredibly entertaining.  Lily managed to get in two more rides, one with me on a camel, and one with Lucas on an elephant.  Charlie got to sit on a miniature horse which he seemed to think was awesome and both kids got to feed the giraffes and kangaroos.  As always the time went by too fast, but, having my folks here for two weeks was wonderful and we had a great time showing them around Shanghai. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you all had a wonderful time. Loved that Charlie was able to pray in the Buddhist way...The picture of Lily on the zebras brought back memories of her horse riding lessons...Your post, as always, are very, very interesting.