July 14, 2005

Amazing Day in Suzhou

Before this trip, I don't think I'd ever heard of Suzhou. Thanks to our host, though, it's now firmly embedded in my lifelong ROM. We got up at 5 in Beijing to catch the plane to Shanghai. After an hour and a half drive from the airport, we first passed through what they hope will be a Chinese version of Silicon Valley: a large industrial park waiting to fill up with high tech companies. Then we drove through the newer part of the city, crossed a river, and ended up at a restaurant that had a surreal combination of Thai, American and Chinese dishes. Then off to the Humble Administrator Garden, which is on the World Cultural Heritage list. Another drive took us to Tiger Hill, a park filled with stories and crowned by a hugh tilting pagoda... the Eastern version of the Tower of Pisa. Then we walked through a very old street where a boat was waiting to take us down a narrow river lined with houses. We could glimpse people making having dinner or washing clothes in the spaces between homes. Finally we arrived at a restaurant where we had yet another astonishing meal done in the local style: light and a little sweet. A long and unforgettable day.



At 12:10 PM, Diane S said...

I had the pleasure of spending two full weeks in Suzhou teaching about American culture and language for university students who hoped to secure horticultural internships in the USA. I absolutely loved it there and would someday like to return! The fragrance of osmenthus (sp?) trees, the gardens, the people, the silk...just wonderful indeed! I did not realize in 1999 that his was the Silicon Valley of China.


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