The Venice of the East

Trip Start Feb 25, 2012
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Trip End Aug 14, 2012


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Flag of China  , Jiangsu,
Friday, August 14, 2009

Our first night in Suzhou we found ourselved winding through small dark alleys because of our late arrival. Suzhou was quiet, the first silence I had heard since arriving in China. It was a much needed change of scenery I loved seeing the water and trees filling the streets; a peaceful walk under the moonlight. Luckily we found a friendly woman who was walking and stretching with her friends to help us find our way to our hostel. She was happy to assist as most Chinese people are however it took some searching around because addresses aren't exactly easy to find unless your a mail man. Mamny random alleys and small doors in Suzhou. Sleeping that night was difficult because the old old buildings of China smell of mildew and dirt. We did choose a prety old place to stay the first night, but I didn't think it would be run down inside necessarily...most 300 year old homes have been renovated for use in this century. One of the problems found throughout all of China so far is mildew. Mold and mildew in the walls of the buildings is a result of not keeping inner corridors protected from the elements, i.e. central heating and air. All the open windows and doors in the buildings let in water, dirt and animals. Mold and mildew have happy homes here. Most Chinese here do not live in the same type of clean that we do, not even close. Still, Suzhou was a very old city with gorgeous historic views. We spent the first day exploring the area and taking pictures of everything. The canal system, bridges and cobblestone streets created a romantic atmosphere and we often saw couples and women taking glamour photos or engagement/wedding photos around the town. It was a very quaint and nice place to visit. The women dressed up in traditional Chinese gowns and pranced around for photos!  The next day we rented bikes and made our way out to the Suzhou Gardens and musem. The gardens were pretty and filled with people, we were visiting the gardens during the busy season so it was loud and crowded. The pagodas and ponds full of fish and lily’s made for beautiful picture opportunities and the soft drizzle of rain kept us cool. Many famous people including President Bush had visited these gardens which were home to ancient Chinese gardening techniques. After spending most of our day in the gardens we ate dinner at a local Chinese food chain. I explained to the girls what we wanted but what we weren’t aware of is that they bring you your food as it is ready and not all at once. After eating our first dish we thought she had misunderstood what we wanted so we ordered the pre-made  dumplings from the food bar and then later received our original ordered dish. Of course by this time we were full and had too much food on our table. In fact most places we ate brought us way too much food. It is hard to order for two even though we tell them only bring food for two we end up having food for four. My favorite place to eat in Suzhou was a little café that served "Dim Sum" which is a Chinese appetizer of steamed dumplings containing various fillings. This cafe had many Chinese appetizers which were cheap and declicious and allowed us to sample several dishes without over ordering……more coming soon
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