This time last year I offered a “Contemporary Chinese Nod Towards the Ubiquitous New Year Calendar“. This year, I will continue in a similar vein but this year the images will come from a recent trip to the small canal town of Xītáng, which is located not far from Hángzhōu.
We took a Christmas break to the Eastern canal towns and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. It was cold but not too cold to happily wander around, though, we were lucky we had the sun on our side. Being the winter season there weren’t too many people around, which was also good. I really did enjoy taking it easy by the waters of Xītáng, but I was also impressed with the thought that has gone into developing the city of Sūzhōu, compared that is to many other Chinese cities – Hángzhōu and Xīān included.
*With this not being a “real” calendar the images all come from Xītáng during our visit in December and are not representative of the different seasons that the months below might suggest – and as someone recently questioned.
JANUARY – A whole bunch of dedicated art students braved the cold to enjoy some fresh days and produce some fine work.
FEBRUARY – The boatman drink a lot of tea this time of year, but it was a pleasure to watch a few of them still manoeuvre their boats rhythmically down stream.
MARCH – This is a tourist town but it is still a good spot to take it easy, especially this time of year – and certainly between monday and friday – when there are few tourists around.
APRIL – Sunsets and sunrises in Xitang really are pleasant times and amazingly there were very few around to watch them or take pictures of them. Great.
MAY – I’m still a sucker for those Chinese Red Lanterns at night.
JUNE – It was good to watch the morning unfold from our balcony. There are little guesthouses all along the water’s edge.
JULY – Another morning shot from our balcony. Perfect. This time of year the rooms are between 80-200 rmb. We went top-end and got a great room: well-decorated, good heating, big-comfortable bed, hot shower and very clean bathroom, computer, t.v. and balcony (literally on the water’s edge) – fantastic. Prices double, triple and more in the summer.
AUGUST – Interesting old bridges and pathways everywhere.
SEPTEMBER – Plus a few narrow alleyways.
OCTOBER – Those young artists got everywhere, but just added to the chilled atmosphere.
NOVEMBER – Towards the edge of the old town life just goes on as I imagine it has done for hundreds of years.
DECEMEBER – And it looks as if this lady has been living every one of those years. She vigorously gutted that fish and was certainly in no mood to be disturbed by me and my camera.
Tags: Hangzhou, Suzhou, Travel in China, Xitang