Friday, October 10, 2008

Ningbo

Recently, there was the National Day holiday in China. For National Day, most people in China get off work for 3 or 4 days and many do some traveling. As can be imagined, things can get pretty crowded during this holiday. Despite the traveling crowds and since Hangzhou is such a tourist city for Chinese people and is supposed to be ridiculously crowded during this time, I figured it would be best to do some traveling of my own. For the break, I went to some of the other main cities or tourist attractions in Zhejiang province, of which Hangzhou is the capital.
Just a Few People Waiting at the Bus Station
The first place I went to on my trip was Ningbo. Ningbo is a major port city and a good stopping point on the way to Putuoshan, which is the main tourist attraction I was after. In many ways, Ningbo is a typical modernizing Chinese city. It has plenty of modern high rises, skyscrapers, a nice shopping district, and some historical tourist sites. It also has some western influence due its involvement in the Opium Wars. As a port city, there is great seafood for relatively cheap available as well.
Thai seafood curry in China? Count me in!
One of the first things that happened upon arriving in Ningbo was that I was approached by a man with a pet monkey. For a few RMB, I was able to see the monkey up close, see it do a few tricks, and hold its hand for a little bit. I've never been that close to a monkey before and now I want one for a pet. I did feel bad for the monkey, though, since it seemed like its master probably abused it a little. I think I picked up on the abuse when the master hit the monkey with his stick right in front of me, but maybe that was just to show the monkey who's the boss.
Love at First Sight
The main tourist attraction in Ningbo is the Tianyi Library. It is supposed to be the oldest standing library in China. It has some old books and Chinese characters written on walls, as well as some nice gardens.
Chinese Writing
Tianyi Library Garden Tianyi Library Garden Tianyi Library Tianyi Library
Ningbo also has a small lake, but it's nothing compared to West Lake in Hangzhou. It was nice to take a break from walking around near the lake, though.
Ningbo Moon Lake
The other main thing in Ningbo is the Tianyi Square, which is basically a big shopping district. Most of the shops were very modern and there were a lot of expensive stores selling western clothing, electronics, etc. Near the shopping district there is also an old Portuguese Catholic church. This was the first time I've seen anything like that in China and it was pretty interesting to see a church that could easily pass for something you'd see somewhere in Europe. That is, if you disregard the Chinese restaurant located on the main floor of the church.
Ningbo Street
Tianyi Square
Portuguese Catholic Church
Inside Portuguese Catholic Church
Near the Tianyi Square there were people playing in these large floating balls on a man-made pond in the shopping area. I've never seen anything like that before and I thought it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try it out.
People Playing on the Water
Tianyi Shopping Area
Tianyi Square
I was only in Ningbo for one day, but overall I thought it was a nice city. It isn't that great as a tourist city, but as a city to live in it is probably pretty good. Good restaurants, shops, clean, and cheap. After Ningbo, I went to Putuoshan, which is an island with mountains and a lot of holy Buddhist sites. I'll post more about that on a future blog post, so stay tuned. For more pics, check out: http://picasaweb.google.com/wallred10/Ningbo#

4 comments:

Jenny said...

You'd better not be hanging around with any monkeys, they're bad influences. Next thing you know, you'll all be getting wasted and vandalizing government property.

Phil Dawsey said...

So people were actually in the balls on the water? It's kind of hard to see what's going on. Was it like bumper cars or something!

Wes said...

Phil - Yeah, there were people in the balls. They were basically just running around on the water in the floating balls. It was pretty crazy.

David Wei said...

those monkeys sure got it good don't they?