Yesterday, we ventured out of Shanghai for the first time, to the ancient town of Qibao. (Admittedly, not that far outside of Shanghai, as it's still on the Metro line.) Qibao was built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127.) Today, it is most famous for its large temple (where we enjoyed the sound of chanting monks); its canals, bridges, and gondolas; its small, winding streets filled with shops and food vendors; and, its crickets. The legend is that some of the best fighting crickets were en route to the Emperor when the cart carrying them crashed in Qibao, releasing the crickets who have been breeding there ever since. The crickets are used mostly for fighting (think boxing on a much smaller scale.) Though we weren't able to see any fights, we did visit the cricket museum to check out some "specimens." Here are some pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41697057@N04/sets/72157622160509887/.
(We promise, we are working very hard during the week. I swear.)