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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Strolling down memorable lanes (3)

By Chen Ye (Shanghai Daily)

10:43, January 09, 2012

His girlfriend Jiang Peiling and friend Xu Genbao covered up for him and helped Yu escape to Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, where he was arrested by police on November 23. He immediately turned in his girlfriend and buddy as accomplices. They all went to jail and Yu's trial is believed the first to be televised in China.

The neighbors still resent Yu for his betrayal and felt sorry for his girlfriend and buddy. There was a common saying at the time, "better to have a girlfriend like Jiang Peiling and friend like Xu Genbao."

"I enjoy walking in the old streets because each has its own history. We are caught up in a fast-moving society and instead of learning about the old streets and old times, people prefer rushing around dazzling buildings and enjoying nightlife," says history professor Gu Xiaoming from the Cultural Heritage Protection Department of Fudan University.

Qibao Old Street

Though Hongzhen Old Street is vanishing, there are better preserved historic streets that are worth a stroll, such as scenic Qibao Old Street in Minhang District and Shanghai Old Street in the Yuyuan Garden area. Both are tourist attractions.

Professor Gu prefers Qibao, built on a canal, because he says the food there is better. High-quality food, good service and supervision are important in making old-time streets viable today, he says.

Qibao Old Street is renowned for its water scenery and many delicacies.

"My kung fu rice cakes are the best on the street," says Tao Genyuan, who runs a small hand-made rice cake shop in Xujia Alley. "Laowai (foreigners) always give me a thumbs up when they taste my cakes.

"I devote all my time and energy to making rice cakes but many stores sell factory-made cakes that claim to be handmade," he complains. A reporter found out he's right; many shops pay more attention to selling quantity than quality.

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