China-Shanghai27-feat

Exploring Shanghai Suburbia

While Stephen was finishing up his last few classes in Shanghai, I decided to get out of the city centre and visit the water village of Qibao. Being only 30 metro minutes away from central Shanghai, Qibao is actually more of a water suburb than a village.

I had read that one should under no circumstances visit Qibao Old Street on a Saturday, because it’s unbearably packed with tourists. But since it’s mid-winter, I thought I’d risk it.

Even on this cold weekend before Christmas, the main thoroughfares were a little chaotic.

Crowds on Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Crowds on Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

A river of people, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

A river of people, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

But the peaceful canals made it easy to avoid the crowds.

Traditional canal boat, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Traditional canal boat, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

The big draw here is the abundance of street food.

This wok is hot! Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

This wok is hot! Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Stinky tofu, which we still haven't tried, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Stinky tofu, which we still haven’t tried, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Since it’s hard to shoot and eat, I resisted the temptation of digging into a stuffed crab or a whole roasted chicken-on-a-stick.

Whole stuffed crabs, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Whole stuffed crabs, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Chickens on sticks, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Chickens on sticks, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

The dumpling stalls were a little more tempting, though most dumplings are stuffed with pork.

Eagerly awaiting dumplings, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Eagerly awaiting dumplings, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

After I tired of being pushed along by the current of people, I escaped to the quiet side lanes.

Traditional buildings, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Traditional buildings, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Enjoying the village atmosphere, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Enjoying the village atmosphere, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Here I found plenty of artisans and small businessmen and women plying their wares.

Luxurious wooden bathtubs and pails seem to be a speciality of the region. We haven’t seen them being made anywhere else so far.

Hand made tub, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Hand made tub, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Where they make the hand made tubs, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Where they make the hand made tubs, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

If you need a wooden door frame, Qibao would be a good place to get it.

Door frames on display, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Door frames on display, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

There are also plenty of more fanciful purchases to be made.

Every girl's a princess, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Every girl’s a princess, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

It was while shooting this magical tree that I noticed the ISO on my camera had somehow gotten set to 1000 (instead of auto where I normally leave it). So that’s why my photos have been looking grainy for the last couple of days. Yes, I am still learning the basics.

If meat grows on trees, is it vegan? Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

If meat grows on trees, is it vegan? Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Even though I’m getting better at photographing people, my first love will always be for architecture.

Pigeons have the best view, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Pigeons have the best view, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Buildings never move or scowl right before you take the picture.

In need of refurb, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

In need of refurb, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

These girls did the opposite, smiling and posing when they noticed me snapping away.

Us and a rock, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Us and a rock, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

After another visit back to the canal…

Mid-winter boats, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Mid-winter boats, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

…I wound my way through the backstreets towards the metro, enjoying the last few rays of sunlight.

Soaking it up, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

Soaking it up, Qibao Old Street, Shanghai.

It was time to head home to meet Stephen for our date night, which Stephen will tell you more about in today’s bonus post!  

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