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A Beautiful Ancient Smurf Water Village

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, What a beautiful day spent in a wonderful little water village. The only problem was that there were so many others like myself that had been drawn to its beauty! I rose early and headed to the North Long Distance Bus Station which was only about five minutes away from my hotel. A journey to Zhouzhuang Water Village is now pretty much all taken care of for you by the wonderful Suzhou Tourist Industry! Go to the tourist counter and simply purchase a ticket for 100 Yuan which includes a free bus ride there. I know the bus ride is free as people who make their own way to the village still have to purchase the same ticket for 100 Yuan. The wonderful thing is the journey there takes about one and a half hours and it's a rather swish bus. So this bus journey would normally cost around 40 to 60 Yuan. The bus ride back to Suzhou is not included but simply head to the Zhouzhuang bus station and grab a ticket for 14 Yuan and grab the local bus back. Still air conditioned and very comfortable! The journey from Suzhou to the village was a nice drive. It takes you past the Snow Brewery and the Kraft Factory. So where's the bloody Vegemite Mate? Huh! MMMmmm, Snow Beer, a nice drop! <u>ZHOUZHUANG</u><u> ANCIENT SMURF VILLAGE</u></b></b><u></u></b> Zhouzhuang Village, built by Puppa Smurfs Great Great Grandpa Smurf over nine hundred years ago is thought to be where they smurfed to when they smurfedup and Smurfpakked away from Suzhou.

It really is more beautiful than you can imagine. BUT, I don't think as beautiful as Lijiang in Yunnan Province. So why did the Smurfs Smurfpack away from this beautiful part of the world? Tourists mate! After a few hours all the people Smurf Hunting begin to make one a little edgy!

All the Smurfs wanted was a beautiful place to smurf and raise their young. Sadly their popularity (which Elvis and Beatle Mania never came close too) never allowed them to find a permanent home for very long. This is why they now live in mushrooms and live the life of nomads. Like the Mongolians who can pack up their Gurt and move at will, the Smurfs luckily were smart enough to learn from their Smurfgolian Brothers and now live a more Smurfmadic existence.

Where are they now?

There have been Smurfreports of strange mushrooms popping up all over the Gobi Desert. Maybe the Smurfs can be found upon the timeless plains of the Gobi. Maybe they can't.

I've been to Mongolia and buggered if I'm going back to find out! Ok, the Smurfs left behind fourteen stone bridges and over sixty percent of the buildings in Zhouzhuang Village are from the Yuan (AD1206 - 1365), Ming (AD1368 - 1644) and Qing (AD1644 - 1911) Dynasties. If you visit from Suzhou you will be dropped off at the cities bus station. Leave the bus station and walk left and simply continue past all the peddie cabs offering to take you there for 20 or 30 Yuan. Cross a bridge, pass a pagoda and when you arrive at a huge stone archway turn left, walk under that and then turn right at the next road. There will be many Peddie Cabs waiting there. The gate way into the village is just down the road. I got there around mid day and had walked the entire placed by three. That includes entering many buildings. Your entrance ticket also includes thirteen of the more interesting places to visit. For lunch I had Won ton soup and a real coffee and the bill was only 20 Yuan. A real coffee can cost you anywhere between 30 to 80 Yuan here in China especially at a place like this. What made me stop was the coffee was only 10 Yuan and the won tons which are usually 3 or 4 Yuan a bowl cost 10 Yuan. So I paid 10 Yuan for a bowl of won tons but I got a 30 Yuan coffee for 10 Yuan. In a crazy way it makes sense! Whilst I ate I chatted to the caf&eacute; lady who's English was ok. I asked why the coffee was so cheap and the won tons so expensive. She laughed and then replied with, 'you stopped for cheap coffee and then decided to eat expensive won tons didn't you!' She got me! She makes no money from me but when a tour group or a group of friends or a family drop in, then she makes money! So, to the village itself. Well I'm not going to write much about it or the villages. There is too much to write and if you're going to visit it then you'll have a guide book with it all in it anyhow. I'll simply let the pictures do the talking and add that it really is a beautiful afternoon. I walked under a beautiful blue sky that had little fluffy clouds floating here and there, around me were beautiful Chinese girls, there are plenty of foreigners to say hello to and some even look at you and smile and say hello back! I took hundreds of happy snaps and found out that if you really want to you can stay in the village. There are several new family run hotels that charge from 80 to 200 Yuan for a night. By four I was more than over the crowds that seem to still be arriving by the tour bus full. In fact it seemed as though there were more arriving now than earlier in the day. Now it seemed that the village was filling up with 'huge T-rex' sized tour groups that swallow you whole as they push their way past the individual traveller. I was lucky to have survived several encounters with some of these groups. What was beautiful though was that the entire day whilst I was walking around the village I could hear the Pole Ladies singing traditional songs as they steered their little rafts around the canals. You don't need a map even though they are available. There are English signs everywhere along with maps telling you 'You Are Here'. Each building has a plaque at its entrance telling you the buildings history etc in both Chinese and English. I got home around six and went to rest my poor feet and chatted to Amigo and then headed out for a night walk in search for China's most delicious noodles. I then headed to the Net Bar I found last night and dropped into the BBQ Street on the way home for some meat sticks and a cold beer. Beers N Noodles toya....shane _________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the Propellerheads The album was 'DecksanddrumsandrockNroll'

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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