We have found the reason we must get a citizen’s card so that we can rent bicycles from the many public stands set up around the city: the Jiaxing Greenway. On Sunday we walked about 4 blocks south from our home to the Grand Canal, THE grand canal that was built hundreds of years ago, from Beijing to Shanghai and many places along the way, to provide both transportation and irrigation. What we found is it is to Jiaxing what the sea-wall is to Vancouver. It is a similar sort of path that follows the canal, beautifully landscaped and passing periodically through parks designed for meditation and relaxation, play and exercise. Studying the posted maps, we realized that this path forms a big loop around the city, starts less than a block from our home on the north and runs all the way south to Nanhu, then back around through the area we discovered on Saturday. We passed fishermen with rods and giant nets, a Buddhist monastery, another Buddhist garden and prayer site and an exercise park. The walkways and parks are lined with wonderful evergreen deciduous trees that are plentiful here. What a difference it makes to have green in January!
After more than an hour, we turned off into town and came across another farmers market tucked into a broad open building, wandered through, then stopped at a little bakery for a bite to eat and a rest. Another block and we were on the main drag, just one bridge short of downtown. It was great to realize we will be able to jump on the bikes, head off onto the trail and traverse the city without having to ride on the main streets. Makes me think about what else we may be missing. Jiaxing is getting more interesting all the time–and more good news, Krabi Thai will be back for New Year’s! Not that we will be here but we certainly will be back, once we return from our vacation.
(Ed. notes: 1. Unbelievably, Terry has left out the single most memorable experience on our walk. After having the bite to eat, we came out of the bakery and almost immediately our sense of smell was assaulted, pillaged, run rough-shod over, destroyed, plundered and every other destructive verb you can think of by the stench of stinky tofu. We have smelled this disgusting thing before, but never to the same extent as on Sunday. It stayed with us for a good block or block and a half of our walk. We cannot imagine eating anything that smelled so foul and tried to think of something we eat in Canada, of any ethnicity, that has such an awful smell and couldn’t. Has anyone out there eaten anything on a regular basis that is difficult to get down due to the smell? We would be interested in hearing. It is unfortunate that the odour cannot be sent over the internet – you too should be subjected to this.
2. We have randomly sent off post cards since arriving here to a few (not many so don’t feel slighted) people. Some were sent in October/November and some at the beginning of January. If you got one, would you mind letting us know (via email) – we are interested in how long it takes, or even if they get out of the country.)