With Monday , Tuesday , and Wednesday off due to the bizarre holiday schedule in China and beautiful weather = more time to enjoy outside before the blazing , humid summer rolls in. Yesterday called for a trip to the far , far , outreaches of Shanghai , where nay a Laowai is to be seen. We took the NanXin bus line from Shanghai Railway Station for 2 hours way out into Pudong New District , past the airport , and almost all the way to the sea. Sitting on the bus for two hours to reach the distance outskirts of Shanghai takes longer than hopping on the bullet train to Nanjing!An interesting thing about the burbs’ is even though there are farmers fields and open areas of rapeseed (yellow flower currently in bloom) the fields sit in between high rises and construction of new high rises. Does anyone live in these new apartment buildings? It seems like everywhere in China is constantly building huge buildings on the outskirts of cities. I know China has a ton of people but are is there really that much demand for new buildings in the middle of nowhere? If I have enough money to buy a pad , I’m certainly not going to buy one with no cool amenities around , no access to the subway lines , and a long commute into the city. There are even new communities of American style suburban multistory houses. The Chinese difference though is that they are all clustered together without any yard , kind of defeating the American idea of idyllic suburban living. If you have the cash to buy that nice place you’d be better off moving to America and buying a bigger house for less cash.
Ok on the festival. We finally arrived at 南汇桃花村 (Nanhui Peach Blossom Village) . Peach Blossom Village sounds like a quiet little hamlet with cozy stone houses , maybe set on the banks of a small river , with old ladies hanging laundry and playing Mahjong but well it’s not quite like that. First of all , it’s not a village at all. There are no homes or residents living there. It’s a peach farm with a small lake and some entertainment options. Like most Chinese “parks” there is a mini amusement park for children , paddle boat rental for the lake , and performances. This place had an amazing stilt-walking show with a really , really , freaky main old perverted guy role. He would walk around and have “fights” with his old lady on stilts wife and pretend to touch her chest and lift up her skirt. He would walk around and scare kids and try to give young girls kisses all while his wife chases him around and hits him with various objects. The two main leads were supported by a large group of younger guys and gals dancing around. A highlight of the show was the people on stilts holding others and spinning around all while precariously perched up on the air. Awesome stuff. Another weird activity of the “village” was the Pig Excercise Meet. There was an obstacle course set up with a jump section , a slide section , and a high dive into water and subsequent swimming section. A man would march around the track with a whistle and the little pigs would run through the obstacles. It was really cute and very ridiculous .
Besides the strange activities , it was great to wander around the park and take in the wonderful smelling white , pink , and red peach blossoms. The flowers weren’t quite in full bloom but it was still really nice. The area also has some little canals with boat rides and wonderful weeping willows lining the waterways. Also a must try in the area are the plum blossom sweet cakes. A sticky glutinous bun is filled with sweet red bean paste and a peach flower flavoring. If you like sweet its awesome.
While the festival was nice , I’d say it’s not quite worth the 55 rmb admission price plus the 2 hour bus ride. If I had a car and made in the drive in the supposed 50 minutes it takes then I’d be all for the festival. If you don’t make it out to Nanhui there are some other flower options in Shanghai.
Gucun PArk – Cherry Blossom Festival
Shanghai Botanical Garden – Cherry Blossom Exhibit
Century Park – Spring Garden
Gongqing Forest Park – Flower Exhibit
It’s spring! Put away those winter heaters and get those lazy bones outta the apartment!