Friday, July 9, 2010

Jiangnan Silk Centre

Short note: I was in the train with Kai Cung the other day, and he asked me to look at a girl, who had quite a wide mouth. Yes, he always says that my hobby is to comment on people, but he does that as well. So, after taking a look at that girl's mouth, I realised that what he said was true. A random thought came to my mind and I said to him, "Her mouth so big, sure feels good one". Kai Cung straight away laughed at me haha wtf! You should know what's in his mind, don't you?

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Morning view from our room in the eleventh floor.

On the first morning in Shanghai, we had to wake up early although we stayed up quite late the night before, as the itinerary started as early eight-thirty in the morning. The first thing I did was to look out the window and I was quite taken aback on the poor air quality outside. It was so hazy, that I could hardly see the view in the far background. Now I understand why our tour guide told us the night before that it is a rare thing to see blue sky in Shanghai.

Anyway, that is not the main point. We quickly got ourselves ready and take our breakfast before starting our adventure. When we were taking our breakfast, an elderly Japanese couple sat to us and we had a short conversation with them. Initially, they thought we were Japanese, and thought Kai Cung came from Okinawa, judging from his dark complexion haha! I was pretty impressed that he knew who Tun Mahathir is, as he mentioned about a little bit about Tun when we were talking about Malaysia.

That uncle seemed to be really interested to talk to us, me especially, because while we were waiting at the lobby after our breakfast, he walked over to our seats to continue talking to us. That prompted Kai Cung to keep on saying that that uncle has become my god-father haha wtf! 

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The dining area in the third floor to take our breakfast.

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Apart from the fried koey teow, the other food was below average. I still believe no country can boast better food than Malaysia.

To some of us, the traffic and driving in Malaysia are considered bad. Wait until you experience the  poor ethics of the drivers in Shanghai, which are multiple times worse. Everybody seemed to be in rush to get to their destinations, which became one of the main reason for their dare-devil driving method. Japanese have the "time-waits-for-no-one" mentality as well, but they obey to the traffic rules. I hardly hear the drivers use their horns, or over-taking dangerously without using signal light in Japan.

According to the Shuu-khun, our tour guide, another reason why the traffic and driving ethics of the drivers in China are bad is because they don't know the rules lol!

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Take this as an example; they can just go against the flow of the traffic as they like!

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The roads and view of Shanghai isn't much different from Kuala Lumpur.

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Random guy selling hats by the road.

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This is taken somewhere in the outskirt of the city.

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Shanghai city centre, always crowded with people and vehicles.

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Signboards promoting the Expo 2010 around the city.

Enough of the pictures from the city, otherwise this entry will be too lengthy.

I shall now go straight to the first destination that we brought to - Jiangnan Silk Centre. China is well-known for its silk and we were brought to visit the museum to have a closer look at the silk production. From this tour, I have gained some knowledge about the life journey of a silkworm.

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Jiangnan Silk Centre.

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A brief introduction about Jiangnan Silk by Wang-chan.

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Learned this in History class back in high school.

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But I never knew there are two kinds of silk road.

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Silkworms in action.

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The girl who guided us around the place.

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Thousands of cocoons.

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Sample of silks on display.

One amazing thing about the silk making process is that the silkworms creates its cocoon out of a single silk thread. A single cocoon can multiply for three to four times, giving us silk as long as 1,000 to 1,200 meters. As for the man-made double cocoon, it contains silk which is approximately 2,000 to 2,500 meters long.

Among the processes, making cocoons to skeins is especially important. The workers operate machines that spin the silk filaments into skeins. One cocoon is attached to each spindle. This explains why the filament of each cocoon has to be unbroken.

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Separating the shells from the cocoon.

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The cocoons are then spread until they become pieces of silk.

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The same process is repeated for the second time to make then wider.

If the animal is allowed to survive after spinning its cocoon, it will release proteolytic enzymes to make a hole in the cocoon so that it can emerge as a moth. This would cut short the threads and ruin the silk.

To prevent this, silkworm cocoons are boiled. The heat kills the silkworms and the water makes the cocoons easier to unravel.

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Wang-chan giving us some explanations about the spindling process of the silk.

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These cocoons look very much alike attap chee haha!

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The dried pieces of silk are then pulled again to make them larger.

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We were given the chance to experience the pulling process; from such a small piece of silk.

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It expanded until it became this huge; the task required some amount of energy and it was not a simple task at all.

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The expanded pieces of silk are then piled up on top of each other to make futon, fabrics, and other kinds of product.

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Wang-chan showed us a printed silk, which is the futon cover.

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Some of the end-product made from silk.

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From this picture, you can easily tell how nice it feels to hug and sleep on a bed covered with silk.

While I was wandering around the silk store, a little boy came to me, and measured his height while standing next to me. I later found out that he was their with his family, and they are Indonesians. There was another group of tourists, who came from Thailand.

At another different section, there was a demonstration of embroilment work by Pu Mei Fang, who inherited the "Gu" style of embroidery from her mother. This style is closely related to Suzhou traditional culture and displays unique artistic elements, besides delicate exquisite elegance.

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The profile of the embroiderer.

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Demonstration for tourists to have a first-hand view of the embroiling process.

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Some of the finished work; there's no other better animal to relate China than pandas.

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No idea why I pose with a vase, instead of the embroilment masterpieces haha!

We were given some time to stroll around the souvenir shop, before heading to the next destination. While waiting for the others to do the shopping, we sat down and chat with a couple of aunties.

During our journey to the next destination, the tour guide distribute some local snack for us in the bus. We later found out that it was one of the business strategy by the tour guide. No wonder people said the Chinese are the most creative people when it comes to doing business; they can sell things even inside the bus. 

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This girl is the tour guide's assistant, who distributed the snacks to us.

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This honey bee-hived cracker tasted not bad.

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More decorations of the mascot of Expo 2010 - Haibao.

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Traveling to new countries certainly gives you a different perspective on the lifestyle of the locals.

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This kind of scene is almost impossible to be spotted in Japan.

I think most of you have seen a forwarded e-mail before, which shows quirky, humorous things, and extreme sights of local people from different parts of the world. One of the picture showed how a man who placed a huge amount of goods behind his bicycle. When I saw the picture, I found myself hard to believe it.

That was until I saw it for real by myself in Shanghai!

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Only in China.

Stay tuned for more of amazing sights from Shanghai in the next entry!

9 comments:

kesenaitsumi89 said...

Haha. You is Very TALL! haha

kae vin said...

why follow tour one? You should backpack shang hai!

calvin said...

@ kesenaitsumi89:
errr, not the first time you saw me, right? xD

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
i know. i am not a fan of traveling with tour agents, but it was just a short trip. so, i don't think i would have time to draft out my itinerary by myself. besides, the main purpose we went to shanghai was to visit expo 2010 :)

i am very sure my next trip would be a backpacking one!

alan ash said...

u dont eat beef?

calvin said...

@ alan ash:
hi alan!

haha, why your comment so random one?
yes, i don't take beef, if possible :)

Sarah Lawrence said...

I wish you posted some pic of the silk clothes so I could fantasize what I will buy when I go !

Sarah Lawrence said...

I wish you posted some pic of the silk clothes so I could fantasize what I will buy when I go !

calvin said...

@ Sarah:
Hi Sarah! The pictures you're looking for are available if you scroll up this post ;)