For two weeks, a small town about one hour outside Shanghai called Jiading was my home. Due to the long distance from Shanghai, the Jiading teacher trainers stayed in a hotel outside the entrance of Old Town Jiading.
|FYI, I did not stay in the O'Clock room. I lived in the lap of luxury in a suite.|
|My suite came with a fully stocked minibar that included his and her underwear and other goodies that were more suitable for the O'Clock room.|
Luckily, our hotel was in a great location so when I wasn’t writing with my teachers, I had a few minutes to check out Old Town. Old Town reminded me of Suzhou. On one side of our hotel there was a charming section that was littered with tourists, street food vendors, and canals.
|Built in 1205, the Faghua Pagoda was considered to be the center of town.|
|I was surprised that there were no boats in the canals in Old Jiading.|
|The only things floating in the canal were stray pieces of trash.|
|This is a snapshot of Old Town at night. I was surprised to see so many people in a "small" town of 1,000,000.|
|Food vendors sold a wide variety of street munchies.|
|My favorite Jiading food was double fried beef, aka birthday beef. Beef was thinly sliced, rolled in breadcrumbs, double fried, and topped with mayo and sprinkles. It was served with an egg citrus sauce. It tasted much better than it sounds.|
One block down from Old Town stood a Confucian Temple, Imperial Exam Museum, and park.
|I loved this statue of a scholar observing a woman working on her laptop. It made me wonder what Confucius would think of online learning.|
|According to my friend Mandy, one is supposed to rub the bottom of the turtle statues for good luck. That would explain all of the turtles around Shanghai.|
|Like many other temples I have seen, the grounds surrounding the temple were immaculate and peaceful.|
|Confucius sits in the center of the temple.|
|Test takers leave prayerful messages on a rack next to Confucius around exam time.|
|Located next to the Confucius temple, the Imperial Exam Museum contains exhibits showing how one prepared to take the Imperial Exam.|
|In this exhibit, a mother says goodbye to her son who is leaving to study for the Imperial Exam.|
|The museum has an extensive collection of items used to cheat on the exam. One student wrote his answers on this vest before it was confiscated. I am impressed that the cheater was able to fit so much content on an article of clothing!|
|In this exhibit, the student has passed his exam and is leaving the academy to return home.|
|In the park outside the temple, there is a lake that houses paddle boats and a gazebo frequently used for concerts.|
If you are interested getting an “Old China” feel for an afternoon, visit Old Town Jiading. To get there, take Metro Line 11 until it ends at the North Jiading station, and then catch a quick cab to the temple.