This is the scenery along Suzhou section of the Jiangnan Canal, which is the southernmost section of Beijing–Hangzhou Grand Canal. The Grand Canal is the longest as well as the oldest canal or artificial river in the world. It begins in Beijing and links Yangtze River and Yellow River, terminating in the city of Hangzhou. We enjoyed a slow cruise along the part of canal which is still inhabited by local residents and it was an insightful experience to peak a little bit into their private lives and dwellings. It was another part of China that I have not heard of before and it was a fantastic discovery. I can only imagine that there so many other little intimate locations like this hiding all around China.
The canal was very narrow in places and we really felt like we were almost inside the small houses and looking into someone's living quarters. It was a quiet day with not too many people around. We did see someone doing some washing on the shore but otherwise it was very peaceful. That made for a great break from the busy city streets we encountered everywhere we went.
The boat was very low and the sitting deck was actually below water level so we had a perspective right from the canal level. It gave a bit more height to the buildings surrounding the waterway. I hope I was able to convey the closeness of the houses to the boat. We could touch the walls in many places and if we wanted to we could easily jump out onto the stairs leading down to the water. I particularly liked this spot where the canal was getting narrower and the shores were converging in front of us. There was just a hint of haze in the distance, which helped to work the atmosphere of this interesting place.
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