March 6, 2011 12:00 AM

Ancient canals in China take traveler back in time

One glimpse of the waterfront houses in the canal town of Xitang, and every Chinese scroll painting I'd ever seen as a child suddenly made sense. It was all there: the arching stone bridges, the tiled rooftops, the red lanterns strung from the eaves, even the boatman paddling down the river.

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