On Wednesday we went to SuZhou, a small city famous for gardens and silk production. The Chinese garden in Portland was designed by gardeners from SuZhou, maybe they’re sister cities? Anyway, this small city, large town is a very famous and popular vacation destination in China. It’s about 100K away from us here in the middle of Shanghai. The Subway was crowded, the train station was a madhouse, the train was pleasant and the town, when we got there, was very crowded.

Unfortunately, it was a hot day. This means both that I was grumpy and it was extra dusty and smelly. Jesse and I invited his fellow English teacher (the school only hired 2 from the US to relocate, they’re hiring all the others here) and his boss along, as they don’t speak a lot of Chinese and could use his help getting around, too. I mention them to explain that I was grumpy but felt I had to be upbeat, which makes you tired even faster.

We were hungry by the time we arrived, just after noon (all the earlier morning trains were sold out), so headed out to find some food. About a mile into the city we found a soup place and settled in. It was delicious, but hot soup on a hot day is an odd choice. They had freshly squeezed watermelon juice and that is definitely a treat. Very good on a hot day.

After eating, we consulted our map and found that there was a garden just a couple blocks away. It was mentioned as one of the smallest and youngest, but we were ready to see a garden!

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(not pictured: 80 degree heat and humidity)

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The perfectly translated “Rock Fetish” Garden

It was beautiful and cool and calming. Everything, I imagine, it was meant to make you feel. Until the big tour group came.

We left to find the next garden (the best but most visited), but after walking there (these are no short walks, mind you) it was 5pm, it closes at 5:30 and we were denied entrance. Quite a shame, but as the train ride was only about $4 round trip, it’ll be easy to go again.

OK, Jesse and I are going to go find some coffee and breakfast, so here’s the short end to the story. We taxi’d back to the train station to buy another return ticket for the member of our party who had lost hers then wandered a bit lost looking for dinner, found a very tasty dumpling joint and then trained back, very tired.

Next, I will tell you about Thursday, which involved pizza, champagne and crocs – the shoes.


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