Miss World 2012 takes in Changshu - old and new
Despite being up bright and early to ascend the Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the girls were still bursting with energy as the Miss World festival travelled to Changshu.
Maricely Pomares, representing Panama, uses her umbrella to shade a young fan
Shristi Shrestha matches her sun-shade with her top!
As the ladies emerged into the warm sun they were gifted bright umbrellas to shield them from the rays. It made such a beautiful sight to see the coloured shades processing along the paths and many local people came out to see them.
Quenerich Rehman, representing the Philippines, takes a model turn
The next stop on the tour was the headquarters of Chinese fashion house, BoSiDeng. The label was founded in 1976 by current Chairman Gao Dekang with only eight sewing machines! Today, the brand is the only holder of the Grand Prize of Chinese Industry for consumer goods, and has just opened a store in London's West End to coincide with the start of the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Bojana Lecic of Serbia dons a chic chapeau
The contestants were ushered into a gallery full of designs by the house, who specialise in winter wear. There was lots of cooing at the garments on display – layered colourful jackets, patterned leggings, plaid shirts, knitwear, and also a selection of gowns all made using warm materials.
The Miss World ladies attend a talk by the head of BoSiDeng fashion brand
The Chairman himself then gave a speech about the company, in which he revealed he had named it after Boston, a city he had spent time in and loved, and that his hope was that the brand would become a big international player. He told the contestants that Ordos and the world would become a more beautiful place because of them and the good work they aim to do, and that the brand hoped to be able to support Miss World in its Beauty with a Purpose initiatives. He ended by saying ‘We are always happy to see friends from afar, and you are always welcome back to Changshu’.
The picturesque waterways where locals gathered to meet the contestants
A beautiful traditional village was the next stop on the trip. The old white houses were ranged along scenic waterways, dotted with lily pads. Across the water (under the weeping willow trees) singers were ranged along the banks. They serenaded the contestants as they wended their way past the crowds who had gathered to meet them.
Anastasija Skibunova of Latvia pauses by the tranquil waterway
The beautiful village made for many lovely photo opportunities
Our final stop was a library of the Ching Dynasty era (1644 - 1911) which, as well as being a beautiful building rich in architectural beauty, used to house around 2501 texts concerning every subject from medicine to Buddhism. There were also paintings and sample manuscripts dating back to around 800 years ago.
A warm Miss-World welcome outside the Ching Dynasty library
There was a particularly special moment for one contestant: Canadian representative Tara Teng can trace her lineage back to the Tang Dynasty and our guide was able to show her carvings directly related to that family. She said she had always wanted to come back to China and find her roots.
Tara Teng outside the library where she was shown carvings relating to the Tang Dynasty
As they left, the contestants had the chance to sign a canvas to the local people to say thank you for their hospitality and many lovely messages were left as a testament to a wonderful day.
Stay tuned for more news of the contestants on MissWorld.com.
Contestants pose in front of the canvas they covered with messages
Amina Dagi makes her mark on the message wall given to the local community
For broadcast details of the final show, please see below (please note that screenings for other territories will be announced soon):
The Miss World final will be broadcast on TV5 in the Philippines on August 18th at 19.30 local time
The Miss World final will be broadcast on Paris Premier in France on August 18th at 13.30 local time
The Miss World final will be broadcast on Televisa in Mexico on August 18th at 07.00 local time
The Miss World final will be broadcast on Star TV in Turkey on August 18th at 17.00 local time
The Miss World final will be broadcast on Zee TV in India on August 18th at 17.00 local time
The Miss World final will be broadcast on Venevision in Venezuela on August 18th at 7.30 local time
The Miss World final will be broadcast on Medcom in Panama on August 18th at 07.00 local time
The Miss World final will be broadcast on RCTI in Indonesia on August 18th at 19.00 local time
The Miss World final will be broadcast on SABC in South Africa on August 18th at 13.30 local time