New Find in Ancient Town

The Town of Zhou-Zhuang is a bit disappointing as far as ancient town goes — it is way too commercialized to my taste. However, there still are some nicely preserved part of the original old houses alongside the waterway. It was towards the end of our trip that we found “the” best of Zhou-Zhuang. It was the “Cardboard Art Garden & Shop” — so new and yet intriguingly becoming and fits the town better than anything else. So, come with me and let’s start from the very beginning.

A pagoda, newly built but in ancient style:
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The river is their highway:
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Well-preserved old houses:
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One of the coolest (because I’m in the pic, hahaha)! Real reason? It’s so narrow that it makes you wonder how petite people were hundreds of years ago — narrow allies between blocks of old houses:
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What are these birds for? They are working birds who help fishermen catch fish!
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Beautiful goldfish in the temple pond (I was feeding them, so they all came up):
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Now this is the real cool place that I was talking about at the beginning. The “Cardboard Art Garden & Shop”. Everything here is made of cardboard — those outside in the open air were made of a special kind of paper so that they are totally fine when it rains or even when put into water for a long long time. Be prepared for a lot of pictures! (some are taken with my cellphone, though, so they are not so clear, but I’m just so excited and have to share).

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Inside. Everything can be used as the real thing, not just for display:
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The local “god of wealth” in his paper form:
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Lanterns made of paper:

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In the end, we had to say, “every place has its beauty”, although beauty may not always be where you expect them! :)

Xi-Tang Ancient Town

Very pretty lil town! What impressed us most was the artist in the pic — he sat there starting a painting from scratch, no draft or anything at all, just drawing the town from memory. His works get sold out very quickly and we were unable to get one on that day.

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(Local artist who attracts more attention than the beautiful scenery. Posted with permission.)

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(Very tasty local food)

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The Lantern Festival

Yesterday was the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival. People return home to celebrate, eat “Yuan Shiao” (rice ball with fillings to symbolize togetherness and unity of family), and go to Lantern Expos.

We went to the one in the new industrial town of Suzhou. It was so much fun!

The town looks even prettier when it’s night:

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At the gate of the Lantern Expo:

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Traditional lanterns:
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Festival designer lanterns:
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There were a lot of traditional designs, but there also were a lot of modern elements added, which matches the overall feeling of the town — a beautiful blend of the modern and the traditional.
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A New Part of Suzhou

We went to a new part of Suzhou — the Suzhou Industrial Town. It’s a neat little city close to the ancient city of Suzhou. Everything is so new, even the old Chinese style buildings are new. Cute and pretty.

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A delight to see these green / flowering plants in winter:

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Winter gives a different feel of beauty:

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I like this cute little train below so much!

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Stone carvings:

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The modern and the traditional are so very nicely and seamlessly blended:

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BFF (Best Friends Forever) — it is culturally appropriate and widely practiced here in China among women friends who are straight to hold hands, which is reflected by this sculpture below:

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An interesting building that’s still in construction:

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Building that looks like a ship:

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