Xitang

I took a couple of days off last week to clear the remainder of my annual leave from last year. On Thursday, I went to the bank to pay my US visa application fee so that I could secure an interview appointment earliest possible (which has been confirmed for 12 July, at 13:45). After that, I met up with Lynnette. As usual, we went bonkers with stupid ideas for a range of things from designing her new apartment to my potential stint at Shanghai’s Disneyland (and fan-powered Cinderella dress!). Ah, dreamers.

On Friday, I hit Xitang, a watertown I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I saw it featured on one of the TV series back in Singapore. I didn’t think I needed to stay overnight, so I chose to rise early to catch the 8:47 bus from Shanghai South Station. It took about an hour to get to Xitang from Shanghai, much quicker than I’d anticipated.

I then bought at 16:40 ticket for Shanghai’s main bus station near the main railway station in the city center (BIG mistake. The return journey was a pain, what with the rain and massive traffic jam. It took 2.5 hours. I really should have chosen Shanghai South instead, which lies on the fringe of the city, and that means I’d have escaped part of the jam).

Despite the less than satisfying ending, my tour of Xitang was quite lovely. I spent about 6 hours there, 3 of which were spent navigating the many bridges and narrow lanes, while the other 3 were spent inside the Momi Cafe creating a couple of new sketches.

Fortunately, I did some research beforehand. If you were to go into Xitang through the main gate, you would have to pay a fee of RMB100. However, if you just follow the road (平川路) straight ahead from the bus station, it will lead you to a YHA hostel nestled among local residences (most of which also offer lodging). Dive into a dark narrow lane like this and keep going till you see the light.

Emerging from the dark lane …

… and greeted by the watertown. It’s like a whole new world inside.

Beautiful view of the canal from above one of the many stone bridges of Xitang.

Another view …

One with the stone bridge.

Wonder what’s on the other side … let’s cross it!

Most all the buildings by the river have been converted into guesthouses. The diamond-shaped plates carry the name of one such place, which has a beautiful name (translated ‘Pavilion of the Wind and Moon’).

I need this idyllic tranquility.

The houses have faces!

Pulling up a bucket of water from the river.

Pulling up a fish from the river.

Pulling up a thread to weave a fabric.

Pulling a pit stop at the smelly tofu seller’s. Yummy! Crispy skin with melt-in-your-mouth insides. Plus, the auntie’s pigtails are just … cute.

Pulling a pit stop at Momi Cafe, where one can send postcards to the future. For milk tea, modern conveniences (air con and wi-fi), a place to imagine a sketch.

They had color pencils at the cafe! My impression of Xitang is … blue.

So … tired. Save the world!

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About transez

Design researcher: curious about people, passionate about life.
This entry was posted in animals, art, books, culture, discovery, food, nature, panda, travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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