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Published: February 3rd 2014
The title of this blog will probably only make sense to anyone who went to school with Kris.
Qibao (chibow) is another old water town, similar to Suzhou but much smaller. It has the advantage of being on Line 9 of the metro,
so no high speed yet complicated train journey needed. It's now part of Shanghai, and seems to have been preserved purely for tourists so people advice not to go as it can be incredibly busy. However, as we said in the Suzhou blog, if you are going to explore China, you have to work around the tourists. We went on a cold Saturday in December and although the main food street was absolutely packed, the side streets were very quiet.
The 'town' itself is a couple of main streets next to and crossing a canal. One of the main streets is the food street, a narrow alley with small shops on either side selling a whole range of snack food. I could investigate the names and write them here, but I don't think that will make you any the wiser, so I took photos. Have a flick through.
As I said, this street was incredibly
busy and difficult to walk down, but when we took side streets off it we found traditional Chinese markets with cages of live ducks and chickens, tanks of swimming fish, carts of fruit and vegetables and stalls selling warm hats and coats.
Dolls houses and crickets
One of the highlights of Qibao for us was the museums. Not so much the quality of the exhibits. Actually, not that at all, but for the sheer randomness of them. You can buy a ticket that gives you entry for all the museums for something like 30 rmb, or pay as you go. The first museum we found was Zhou's miniature museum
. Zhou seemed to be some kind of sculptor or artist who decided that everything looked better small. The museum is two floors of an old house, with cases of what looks like dolls house furniture. There are small wooden sofas, tiny Ming vases, little carved gravestones....you get the picture.
After the slightly more normal Old Trade's House, which looked a lot like the History Museum in the Oriental Pearl Tower in the centre, with models of Chinese folk carving, weaving and making cotton, we
went to the cricket house
. The sign outside advertised all the fun that could be had with crickets, and Kris being an ex-entomologist was sold. Inside the old town house was a room full of cabinets of dead crickets. Through a courtyard to the back was a room of cricket themed art - paintings, carvings and the like. We were hoping for some kind of game we could play with live crickets, like racing or fighting, but it was not to be. Now I read up on Qibao on the internet, it seems that it's famous for crickets and during the holidays there are indeed live cricket fights
. It sounds awesome, although I'm pretty sure it will be really, really busy.
Well that's about it for the Qibao trip report! The main reason for writing this was to put on a photo montage of some interesting street food for anyone who's so inclined.
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