Sunday, November 6, 2011

Venice of the East

Just over an hour outside of Hangzhou, we stopped at the small town of Wuzhen.  The town is called a water town or a canal town and is occasionally referred to as the “Venice of the East” because of its canals and gondolas.

So yes, it’s just like Venice, except it’s smaller and polluted and Chinese.  But close enough.  The town is pretty much a tourist trap, though I must admit that souvenirs were cheap there.  The town is gated off like an amusement park.  You have to buy a ticket and go through a turnstile before you can enter.  Keep in mind people actually live in this town.  I suppose it’s a pretty clever way to boost the local economy – everybody who doesn’t live there has to pay to be there.  Nuts!  Imagine Sydney or London or New York charging an admission fee.  That might be a good way to get the US back on track!

Anyway, once you get past the strange touristy nature of it all, the town was quite scenic:

Aside from the canals, the town had some small back alleyways that needed exploring.  I wandered around with Joel and Lauren.

And there were a few treats as well.  The town is known for a few things such as teapots:

You can stand on these teapots and they won’t break.  Crazy!  And if you’re buying a teapot, you might as well buy some tea to go with it:

Notice the wooden cylinders at the bottom middle of the picture.  Those are filled with rice wine – another specialty of the little town.

I bought two different flavours.  The apricot rice wine was ok, but the three rice wine tasted like ass.  Unfortunate.

Did I mention there were cookies???  I love cookies!!!  All of these little plastic wrapped rolls contained a row of cookies:

Actually, they called them pancakes, but that’s wrong and I didn’t have the heart to correct them.  They were cookies.

I rest my case.

And of course, every small town has a small town lunch.  And I just have to say one thing about that…

Dear Susan,

You may be lazy, but we love you nonetheless.

Most sincerely,
Phill and friends

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