About a 90-minute drive from central Shanghai is the traditional “water town” of Zhujiajiao. At the risk of generalizing, there are a number of these type of towns in southern China, most notably Suzhou, whose Chinese garden coincidentally served as the model for the Chinese garden in Portland, Oregon.
Of course, these towns represent a way of life that is quickly disappearing in many parts of China, but people do actually live and work in them. They have become a huge tourist attraction for both foreigners and Chinese, so much so that the authorities in Zhujiajiao have set a daily limit of no more then 35,000 visitors. Tanya even volunteered to help enforce these limits.
Tourists jostle one another as they negotiate the narrow stone streets and sidewalks, while vendors encourage them to buy local food items, silk scarves and gee-gaws. Still, it was a fun experience, which included a visit to an old pharmacy, selling a number of traditional herbal remedies.