While it seemed like everywhere I turned yesterday i was running into tourists, today was pleasantly the polar opposite.
I hadn’t planned it that way.
In fact, I headed out today with the full expectation of more of the same except this time I was mentally prepared for it.
I started late today, noon, and although the skies were still grey, there was no rain to be found.
My plan today was to go to the People’s Square downtown and then catch a nearby bus heading an hour out of the city to the Zhujiajiao water village.
Unpreparedness pays off
I headed over to the People’s Square by metro at around noon.
When I arrived at the apt name People’s Square metro station I was soon met with a challenge.
There were 20 exits from this metro station as three different lines converged here.
I had just assumed there’d be the usual 4 exits with a sign by one of them saying “People’s Square”.
I was not prepared for this and, in this case, that unpreparedness paid off.
I just simply randomly picked an exit and headed out to the street.
I ended up not in People’s Square but in the nearby People’s Park.
And that, is where my day begins…
This park wasn’t even on my list of things to see and I can’t honestly figure out how I overlooked it.
It was a little slice of heaven in the middle of all the chaos of the big city surrounding it.
Sprinkled with only a handful of other visitors, you could actually hear the birds chirping as you walked through the vast park.
Trees, walkways, lakes, pagodas – they were all here.
There was even a children’s amusement park off to the side as well!
I also came upon the infamous Shanghai Marriage Market where parents come to trade information on their unmarried children.
Here there umbrellas all lines up, each with a piece of paper attached basically “advertising” their son or daughter.
Tinder, move over! I’ve got an umbrella!
Anyway, turned down the path to another part of the park and I found a group of men hovering over men sitting at a table playing cards.
This is the Shanghai I wanted to see!
By 1:30, it had started to rain but I didn’t mind because this day was shaping up to be one of my favorites this trip and I wasn’t about to let a little rain damper that feeling.
I eventually did cross over to the People’s Square which is across a huge multi-laned highway from the park.
Sure enough, there were exits from the metro here as well.
To think – if I had actually prepared and figured out what exit to take to get to the Square I would have missed out on the park entirely!
And ironically, the Square was kinda meh.
I had visions of a huge concrete square with statues and fountains like the Red Square or Tiananmen Square.
But, nope, nothing like that at all.
Just a big, and I mean big, line to get into the Shanghai Museum.
Whew, lucky for me I’m not really a museum guy…
I walked through the Square to the other side where the buses to the Zhujiajiao water village left from.
By 2:30 I was on my way out of town.
Zhujiajiao water village
The ride out to Zhujiajiao takes about an hour and you get the extra little bonus of watching crazy Chinese drivers showing off their amazing driving skills along the way.
Like, seriously, it seemed like every driver was constantly dotted in and out of lanes passing people on the left, on the right, it didn’t matter.
How there were no accidents along the way is beyond me.
Anyway, after an amusing hour of watching traffic, we arrived to the small town of Zhujiajiao.
I walked through the wet streets over to the village along the water about 10 minutes away.
Although not quite as bad as the number of people I encountered yesterday, there were still quite a few people visiting here today.
I think it wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for everyone carrying an umbrella so you’re constantly bumping into each other.
But, whatever, this is my peace and serenity day so tourists be damned, umbrellas be damned!
The Zhujiajiao water village was about what you’d expect – a bunch of souvenir stores, a bunch of food stalls and alot of great photographic opportunities.
I skipped the souvenirs and went for the photos…
On my way out I came upon yet another slice of heaven.
Yup! A stand selling Jianbing!
I was craving this all day yesterday and here it was! Just a short hour ride outta town.
Just that along made the whole trip out there worth it.
Anyway, an hour later I was back on the bus heading back into Shanghai.
By 7pm I was back at my cozy little hostel in my cozy little room.
And that was the day.
Simple. Relaxed. Peaceful.
My kinda day!