Ancient Qiboa Zhen – Seven Treasures Town seems hidden inside ultra-modern Shanghai. I’ve seen a lot of the city of Shanghai, but not this little gem.
Like other ancient towns, it is a square centered over a canal, with iconic bridges and weeping willows, striking doors and specialty shops.
A long and busy shopping street runs down the middle.
Near the end, I find a shop making wooden tubs and buckets. It looks so comfy, my mind wanders to how I’d get one of them home. Imagine the skill it takes to make this!
On a cross street, I find the Cricket Cafe – Qibao has been famous for cricket fighting and apparently, one can buy tea and sit to watch. I declined.
But I did stop to buy cricket-shaped snacks, but not the chickens’ feet.
Qibao, like most ancient towns, has a historical association Buddhism – in this case, a Cultural Protection Center, a temple with a resplendent Buddha and a koi fishpond for wishes and blessings, and the name, of course: The Seven Treasures of Buddhism.
I wandered by myself for a day, enjoying the peaceful images and kind people. At one point, a couple was so distressed that I was alone, they hailed someone who could speak English to ask if I needed help. They were utterly charming!
But at the edges, the city is encroaching on Qibao – destroying old homes and ways of life and not everybody seems happy.
My day ended with a first-ever mutton hotpot – a local specialty shared with a special rocket scientist.
It is an awkward balance in China – to venerate the old and to adapt to the modern. I seem to get caught up in the former. I am glad that China builds around these ancient towns, rather than over them!