Friday afternoon photos
Shaoxing is an old city. If you could see a map of the city you will see the blue of the amazing canals that are dotted through this area. Great rivers and canals run through this city and its surroundings.
The waterways are awesome - some are narrow and often polluted with rubbish and God knows what as the dirty water rushes past on its way to or from the sea.
In this water which really is not clean is where many women do their washing. Often standing on steps with rubber boots, or if they are very careful, bare feet, as they do their washing and scrubbing of their clothes. White never stays white after a "washing" in the canal.
There are so many canals and waterways that it is estimated that there are 10,000 bridges in the province.
The city itself has narrow streets and traffic chaos. The main street at peak hour, or on a Friday afternoon or Saturday or Sunday can resemble a "car park" as traffic flows in all directions that makes a westerner look on with fear and amusement! How any one survives is a wonder!!!
The streets are also a cacophony of sound - traders, especially those trying to sell more mobile/cell phones blare loud music or sales pitch into the busy street, so loud that one almost has to cover ones ears walking past the offending retailer.
Piles of rubbish (that will later be removed by the ever busy street cleaners) are often found in cement bunkers or overflowing bins in the street.
The archway in the photograph leads to a very old section of the village - when one goes there it really is like stepping back in time. Men hover round in groups playing card or other games, dogs, children, people, bicycles, cars, tricycles (rickshaw-like) dodge each other in the narrow streets and lanes that make up this section. If you peek into the houses you can see that this area is not for the wealthy - otherwise why would they live in such cramped, dingy little cement/brick boxes?
The archway (gate) also leads to a very overcrowded market that has an array of stalls - this is where you can choose between many girls who sit on the side of the walkway painting fingernails, or applying makeup (to make you beautiful!), stall selling hats, socks, stockings, shoes, jewelry, bags and luggage, and clothes - well, almost anything!
Further along the markets is where the fabric shops are - bed linen, and clothes and in little rooms, not much bitter than a basic single garage, are dressmakers who will make up your fabric or theirs, into an exciting array of garments. Take a picture from the internet, and it will be created for you.
The photo of the archway gate was taken on the way out - and one can see a column which is all the remains of a building that has been quickly demolished in recent times. It is behind a wall, and not easy to see, but the demolition process has been swift. I don't know how they do it.
This area is being redeveloped but I am not aware if commrecial or residential, buildings will be built on this space. Perhaps a mixture of both.
As all Chinese cities, it is fascinating to watch daily life here.