Travelling Dolly 7: Odette in China part 3 - The east: Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou

Well in my imagination Shanghai was like this, perhaps I've seen too many old movies or too many new ones set in the 30's, anyway the modern Shanghai is everything but a disappointment!
But before that a few words about Odette's outfit: it is a reproduction of a fashion from Kenzo's 2013 Spring-Summer collection. Her shoes and bag  are by TheVogue HK.

I picked several ideas from this collection, more Urban Safari to come!!! Carlo is wearing an IT t-shirt and a beautiful pair of jeans by HazelStreetDezigns on Etsy, I bought this and a couple of corduroy trousers before I tried my hand on male fahions. She sews beautiful clothes!
Thanks to his new hands Carlo can now hold his camera, as I wrote on his profile in the Mad about the boy page, he is a photographer. I found this lovely Canon Eos reproduction on E-bay. It is extremely detailed, in perfect scale and it came with several lenses and removable caps!!!! Of course this lovely object comes from China!!! LOL
Enough for the trivia. With their new clothes and accessories Odette and Carlo are ready to enjoy the last part of their trip to China.

Shanghai is a fascinating metropoli with its skyscrapers, the Bund with all its history and glamour, the elegant Nanking Road, the restored Old Town and in the midst the remnants of old and shabby houses (I couldn't take pictures of those). This is an exciting place, and Odette and Carlo didn't miss a thing!
But this is a place with at least two souls: and  the Huangpu River flowing between the Bund and the Pudong Disctrict works as a very effective rappresentation of this. In fact the whole Shanghai has been undergoing a huge restiling since the 1990's, when the new urban planning was developed. A whole museum is devoted to this urban plan, and is very impressive!
Another museum not to be missed is the Shanghai Museum of Art and History, an amazing collection!

Shanghai Pudong skyline view from the Bund - Picture by Billa

Shanghai - The Bund - Picture by Sasha
Nanking road is the most elegant place in town, and Odette and Carlo went for some shopping, but came back empty handed....everything was soooo expensive!!!

Shanghai - Nanking Street - Picture by Billa
This is a view from the old town, this place is amazing, filled with little shops. In fact it is a big shopping center where you can find everything: green tea, dresses, wooden or jade artifacts, this the souverin's paradise! But the thing that impressed Odette is the feeling of modern Shanghai looming just outside the doors!

Shanghai - The old town - Picture by Billa
The last part of Odette's visit to China will be under the insigna of the Chinese Gardens, and in Shanghai she visits the first of them. Actually she already visited one in Beijing, but the Imperial Summer Garden is just too huge to understand the meaning of this kind of gardens in the ancient Chinese culture.

Shanghai - Yuyuan Garden - Picture by Billa
Gardens were intended as places to meditate, relax, listen or play music and of course they had to be build accordingly to the rules of feng shui. Chinese gardens are really different from European gardens, they look natural and they are a sort of miniature representation of a perfect world: with their small apartments, pavillons, mountains, rocks, lakes and rivers filled with lotus flowers and colouful fishes!

On their next stop Odette and Carlo are visiting the Huangang Park in Hangzhou on the West Lake (one of Unesco's World Heritage Sites) and everything looks as it is ready for a photographic session. Carlo is so thrilled. Now, this is a place to try his new camera!

Hangzhou - Huangang Park - Picture by Billa
Hangzhou - Huangang Park - Picture by Billa
Hangzhou has got its old town with shops and stands, and a picturesque network of channels. This town is renowed to be, along with Suzhou, one of the most beautiful cities in China.

Hangzhou - Old Town - Picture by Sasha
Odette and Carlo also visited an ancient pharmacy, where one could buy any kind of ingredients for the Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Hangzhou - Old Town - Picture by Sasha
Just outside Hangzhou is the Lingyin Temple, wich means the soul retreat temple. At the entrance of the Temple are the Feilai Feng grottoes, where several Buddhas are carved. This smiling and happy Buddha is absolutely amazing. Nowadays the Temple is filled with Chinese pilgrims (very young ones) as it looks like the younger generations are redescovering religion (while Buddhist Monks are discovering the I-Pad LOL)
Odette and Carlo were very lucky to take this picture alone, as the place was buzzing with hundreds of people! As you can see they're trying to "pull an Avedon" (that's the reason why the Buddha is laughing so hard)

Hagzhou - Lyngin temple - Picture by Billa
Shuzhou is really one of the loveliest places on hearth. And here Odette and Carlo are going to visit what is the apotheosis of the Chinese garden, but first they are going to visit a very intriguing place: the Tiger Hill. To reach the pagoda at the top Odette has decided to try yet another mean of transportation, while Carlo prefers to jog a little to keep fit (Chinese food is very tempting).

Suzhou - Tiger Hill - Picture by Sasha
The Yunyan Pagoda's lean is just 3 degrees, but it looks like it's quite a lean!!!
Odette believes she's in Pisa and tries to straighten it up!

Suzhou - Tiger Hill Pagoda - Picture by Billa
At the foot of the Hill, is the Wanjing Villa with its huge collection of  Penjing (literally "tray scenery"), also known as penzai, which are  potted landscapes. This  is the ancient Chinese art of depicting artistically formed trees, other plants, and landscapes in miniature from which the  Japanese Bonsai originated.

Suzhou -Penjing garden - Picture by Sasha
Odette and Carlo having some fun with this scenographic door: The Vitruvian Dollz

Suzhou - Penjing garden - Picture by Sasha
And finally they visited the Humble Administrator Garden. I think these pictures give a rough idea of what I was talking about speaking of a perfect miniature world:

Suzhou - Humble Administrator Garden - Picture by Sasha
This is a female room in one of the Pavillons, Odette can't really figure out how to play this instrument, I believe it is called a Guzheng.

Suzhou - Humble Administrator Garden - Picture by Sasha
Suzhou - Humble Administrator Garden - Picture by Sasha
There's a wonderful book, one of the great classics of Chinese literature, which takes place almost exclusively in a garden like this. It is called  The Dream of the Red Chamber, I would highly reccommend it, is a great reading!

Suzhou - Humble Administrator Garden - Picture by Sasha
Before leaving China, Odette and Carlo can't miss a visit to Tongli, the Venice of the East. The town is built on seven islands and is crossed by 15 canals. Wooden tour boats ease down the waterways, duck under bridges, and glide past residences, stores, gardens and restaurants. Most canals are no more than 30 feet across affording intimate views of the passing scene.

Tongli - Picture by Billa
This is extremely romantic, and by now it is clear: Odette and Carlo are an item!

Tongli - Picture by Billa
of course they pay a visit to the local souvenir's market.....last minute shopping

Tongli - Picture by Billa
As she really loved everything about China,  Odette  wants to leave you with this beautiful traditional song played on the Guzheng: High Mountain and Flowing Water, listen and just imagine slowly boating down the Li River.....

Previous instalment: Odette in China part 2
Their next destination: Oman - Odette in Oman part 1


  1. Your recreations are so inspiring! That dress is fabulous. And of course the photos are wonderful as usual.

    1. Thanks Vanessa, this time I managed to sew real cuffs, so the dress shall fit the older Nu-face models which didn't have removable hands.....This time making the photomontages was a bit easier, and much fun. Practice helps!

  2. Hello from Spain: Odette and Carlo are very trendy. Nice pictures. I read is a very expensive city. China have very nice customs and traditions. Keep in touch

  3. Hi Marta, thank you very much. China is very expensive if you try to buy western goods, besides those you can find very cheap Chinese goods (of uncertain origin), middle priced Chinese goods, of good or excellent quality (for istance silk, wood handicrafts) and reasonably expensive goods, of excellent quality (jade handicrafts, cultivated pearls, cloisonnet ware). You're absolutely right, China has got such a huge tradition and ancient and modern history. It was a marvellous experience.

  4. The dress is amazing! That is some quality sewing.

  5. It's realy nice. I love your pictures !