Friday, November 2, 2012

The Waterways Of Tongli

 On Friday we ventured out for day two of our Shanghai Mystery Adventure.  Eric had set up a guide to take us to the town Tongli about an hour from Shanghai.  I had no idea what an amazing adventure we were in for.  Miki met us in the lobby grinning from ear to ear as she walked in.  She wondered if we were on our honeymoon ... ha ha... she was a little taken back when she found out we were in China adopting our 5th child.  

We arrived at Tongli at at first glance we knew we were in for a treat!  Miki told us that these little water villages just became known in China 30 years ago.  An artist spent time in one of these little Water Villages and painted scenes from the village.  When his artwork became famous so did these little villages.  There is one that is well know just miles from Tongli but it typically has many tourists. Miki said this one still has it's quaint and peaceful feel.   This is the street that we walked through to get to the village.  If you notice there are people, bikes and mopeds everywhere. 

When we arrived at the village we were in awe of the beauty, character and history of this little village.  This was the first view as we walked into the village. 

Many of the houses, bridges and buildings are hundreds of years old. 

You would see wash hanging from almost every window. 

We began walking through the village. There were boats everywhere. Some were old and some were new.

There were people sitting outside of their homes or shops along every sidewalk.  Some were just sitting, some were playing cards, some cracking nuts and others crafting. 

There were women doing wash in waterways. 

There some women sitting in boats knitting or sewing. 

The street vendors were selling food on various corners. 

There were some very narrow walkways through the village. 

Miki  shared a ton of amazing history with us.  There is a lot of symbolism throughout all of the Chinese culture.  Miki was very passionate as she shared some of the symbolism in art, poetry, architect, the way they act and speak. As Eric and I talked about it it seems as though through their symbolism and traditions they are looking and striving for some type of peace among their culture.  

Miki began opening up through out our day and sharing her story.  A story that is hard to comprehend,  a story that you read about in books.  A story that pierced our hearts.  A story that needs to be told by itself in a later post. 

Miki took us through some philosopher's homes.  Again the symbolism throughout these homes was unbelievable and it was interesting as she shared how the Chinese family functioned. 

The gardens of these homes was a place of peace and tranquility. 

We then ventured on the waterways to find our way to lunch. 

This was the man who leisurely paddled us through the waterways. His smile says it all! 

We soon came to the place we were going to eat lunch. We pulled to the right and got off by the tables with blue table clothes. 

As you walk along the water ways there are homes along each side.  These homes function as restaurants and stores.  The government pays these people a small amount to open their homes to tourists. Even though it isn't much it is enough to make it and for them to live a very relaxed lifestyle even if they don't have a lot of business.  

When our guide takes clients to Tongli she said she always eats at the same place.  When we sat down we quickly realized no one was coming.  Our guide called the restaurant owner and found out she was down the road playing Mojan.  She quickly came running with a big grin on her face.  

In minutes she had hot tea at our table and we learned the art of drinking Chinese tea. 

The food was amazing.  We ordered fresh steamed fish.  Fish that was caught from the river. I know you have to be a little daring to try a fish when it's eyeballs are staring at you but the flavor was amazing. 

We also ordered chicken that was in an amazing broth.  Eric was the one who got the chicken delicacy, chicken feet. Oh my word look at that chicken foot.  I think sometimes when you are in the moment you just do things and later look back and say "what in the world did I just do?" Well that is kind of how Eric feels as he looks back at that chicken foot that he actually chewed on. I on the other hand wasn't going to touch the chicken feet. 

This sweet little lady came and sang to us while we ate! 

 When we were done eating our smiley cook proudly took us back through the courtyard to her home and showed us her kitchen where she cooked our food.  She said her house was over 200 years old and her neighbors was 300 years old.   Is that crazy or what! What an amazing experience.

When we finished our lunch we walked down to see the fish catching birds. 

Oh my goodness, it is a good thing we saw this after we ate our fish or the fish may not have tasted so good.  These birds dive in the water and swallow the fish. The come up and jump on the boat and yep you got it ... they throw the fish up whole. 

What an amazing day we had at Tongli.  Eric scored points for planning another amazing day during our Shanghai Adventure.  We took in so many amazing sights and experiences.  It has been a huge blessing to continue to learn more and more about  the culture and heritage of the Chinese people.  

We were just minutes out of Tongli when we experienced our first Chinese traffic jam.  There was a power line hanging in the middle of an intersection.  We watched huge delivery trucks trying to duck their way under the line or getting out and carefully trying to throw the line over their trucks without getting shocked.  In no time there was a huge mess.  You see in China the traffic is out of control.  If the light is green in China it means go but if it is read it means go too.  So there really is no safe time to cross the street.  We experienced the craziness of Chinese traffic once again.  The cars coming toward us were getting impatient because of the back up.  They quickly crossed over to our lane trying to get ahead of the traffic jam.  In not time there were cars lined up in our lane facing the wrong direction.  Miki said she had never been in a traffic jam like this before.  Again taking in the ways of the Chinese people.  This guy walking with a mission was so funny.  Eric got out with the camera and he kept telling him to post the picture to u-tube because he was up in arms about the police.  They were in our lane facing us too, they were part of the problem.  We finally way made our way out of the traffic jam and back to our hotel.  

We finished the night with an amazing dinner at a Sushi resturuant.  We once again had amazing food and it was a treat to sit right by the kitchen and watch it all happen right in front of us.  


DiJo said...

Another fantastic date!!!!!!! What an amazing day.....

I can't believe you are in Nanchang and at the same hotel that makes me tear up even thinking about it.. Less than 24 hours now!!!!

It's almost Ellie Day!


Fannie said...

Your hubby is good!!! What a great adventure! I hope our days leading up to our kiddo are as good as yours! :)

Kathy said...

Julie, your photos are amazing!!! Your class and new camera paid off! You have beautifully captured your experience ~ really, your adventure is just amazing. I can't believe Eric ate chicken feet!! Ewww! :) I hope these two days will always be a very special memory for you....can't wait to see the next phase of your journey! Praying for your sweet girl!!!

Natalie said...

Wow, thanks so much for sharing all of this! I've been sharing about your family with my boys over dinner and my 6 year old is loving hearing about China! He couldn't get done with dinner fast enough so he could see the pictures! And then requested to watch the Arthur episode where Binky's family adopts from China--too funny. Can't wait to hear more and be able to share more with them! So excited for you all. We are praying for all of you!
Thanks again for the amazing pictures and stories!

Post a Comment

© The Journey To Our Daughter

CoffeeShop Designs