Zhouzhuang Water Town

Okay, disclaimer: I have posted these photos before on my facebook page and on my instagram, so if you’re not really one for in depth narratives on the reasoning and thoughts that go behind a picture, you can skip this post.

But, if you wanna see what was going on in my mind while I took these photos, come on down and journey with me.

Zhouzhuang is actually part of our Shanghai Trip (which I will be posting in separate parts). This one was my favorite because entering this place was like walking through a time machine. From the busy, fast pace city of Shanghai, we then went to see a place kept together by tradition, and the delicate hands of time.


Before you see the photos, I wanted to let you know that I used both B&W film and a digital SLR to shoot these, so the colors might be a little inconsistent.



We were actually lost for a while. We were dropped of in what seemed like block full of desolate and abandoned buildings and old restaurants. There was a quiet home-y charm that surrounded this city proper. (Take note: This is not the Water Town yet. It was a looooong way from there.)


I saw this lady observing us. Maybe because we were a big group of tourists who had no idea where we were. She had a knowing smirk on her face. I also like how she was framed by the doors of her shop, and the two big lanterns above her. (And let’s be honest, I like taking pictures of people being framed by doors. Hmm, maybe I should turn that into a series? What do you think?)


Right after I took a photo of the lady above, I saw this man carrying his bags with a stick. I wanted to capture this man with the pagoda of Zhouhzhuang behind him. It was an incredibly long walk, and it seemed like he was going where we were going because the whole time we were walking, he was on the other side of the street quietly walking and carrying his bags. He didn’t even stop for a break.



I took this photo of these three ladies because they seemed like great friends. I also really like their bandanas.


It was a quiet little town (still not the water town, btw), the people in this town seemed settled and happy.


These two ladies were chatting and looking at my siblings (in front of our “line”. I have many siblings). I took their photo before they could see me.


We crossed a bridge, and it was really quiet. Just a few people walking around. Not too many cars. Mostly motorcycles and bikes.


Some would have carriages drawn by their bikes and bring tourists around via their bike. I took a photo of this man while he was pushing his way  through the bridge. I wanted to frame him against an out of focus pole, to give a sense of distance. As much as possible, I don’t like disrupting people to take photos.


These men were fixing something inside this building. I liked how everything was symmetric, even their positioning against the architecture.


Across the bridge, we arrived at a gateway to *drumroll please* The Zhouzhuang Water Town! Yay! We were finally there!


We were welcomed by a small river, with bridges over them, and willow trees hanging their leaves over the water. I was extremely captivated.

Fun fact! Before we visited this place, we had a picture of a person in a boat wading through a water town, and we soon found out that THIS WAS THE TOWN WHERE THE PICTURE WAS TAKEN (we bought the picture from a vendor, so we didn’t know where the photo was taken before)



I really couldn’t talk that much because the scenery was way too beautiful. I needed time to absorb! These men were straining fallen willow leaves from the water to keep the river clean. I loved how the trees and the branches were hanging over them.


Boats were moving through this narrow stream, which was framed by old houses with stark red lanterns. I never thought I would see something like this.



In between these rivers were houses and stores that sold traditional things like silk shoes and dried seafood. There were also quite a few modern shops (there was even a Starbucks)






After this, we got lost (again). We found ourselves in the middle of a residential area. It had the same feel as where we were from before, but you could tell that that area was not meant for toursits. It was still beautiful though.




It was interesting to me how the small alleys, the structures and even the roof tiles were  so well preserved. But it didn’t seem like the re-painted, re-polished kid of preserved. It seemed like everything grew around what was built. Even the moss that grew on the roof tiles.


We eventually found our way out to the last bridge in the area.

(Quite a blurry picture)


We were there for a while, so I started observing the people who lived in the area. I saw this man washing his hands in the river. He was quiet, he didn’t talk. It was a picture of peace.


I quickly told my family that I had to take a photo of something really quick, and I ran to the nearest alley that opened out to the river, to get a closer photo of this man.


Before we knew it, the sun was setting. It was a really good day.



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