Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I joined everyone in Shanghai late Friday night (someone's gotta bring home the chicken feet!). We started off our Saturday by going to the train station and buying tickets to Suzhou, a nearby water town. While waiting for our train, we witnessed many latecomers running over the gates. Instead of showing tickets and walking through, they climbed up and over and continued running! This happened often enough that Adam eventually took out his camera and caught someone mid-jump:
We boarded our bullet train and settled in for the ride,
which ended up being the smoothest 30 minutes at 320 km/hr ever. The train was incredible! Upon arrival, we found an adorable noodle shop and refueled for a day of sightseeing.
(I swear I change my clothes, but that silly green jacket has been in every picture for the past few months! Adam's side note: it now has enough stains on it to make me wonder if I'm marrying a bag-lady-in-training)

We were initially surprised by how metropolitan Suzhou seemed, as it's known for historic gardens and waterways. Then we read the guidebook and learned Suzhou has a population of almost 6 million it was not really an ancient town enveloped by modern city (like Pingyao or Lijiang) but more like pockets of old in the midst of modern buildings. Anyways, we picked a garden to visit, and were dropped off in front of a long "shopping street" (tchotchke heaven!). Weird. After hurrying through, ignoring the shouts of "hello!" and "look, look!," we came to the entrance of Master of the Nets Garden.

The first thing was saw was a scraggly tree in the courtyard. Strange but beautiful:
We then walked through a few aptly named buildings (ex: Room of 10,000 Books used to hold 10,000 books) and into gorgeous courtyards. Some were filled with bonsai trees,
others had rocks and trees,
while others had flowers.
The central garden stood out, with the contrast of pink, green, stone, and water.
We came at the perfect time--everything was just beginning to bloom!
Perfect opportunity for a window picture, looking into the central garden.

After leaving the garden, we had time for one more sight before our return train, so we chose the Silk Museum. While it was not as interesting as we hoped, we did learn about how silk is made and saw women in the process of weaving.
If you look closely, you can see the silk threads on the left and the intricate pattern they have been woven into on the right, wrapped around the log.
Mama acquired a beautiful scarf at the silk shop next to the museum, so it wasn't a total bust :)

We had a yummy dinner when we got back to Shanghai, and then Mama and Papa went back to the hotel while Adam and I walked along the Bund. It was breathtaking and so alive, with tons of brightly colored lights, people, advertisements, music, etc. I definitely didn't feel like we were in China anymore!
European-style hotels and buildings:
Bridge between our hotel and the Bund area:
It began to rain, so instead of grabbing a drink at a nice European hotel, we opted for water and a warm bed to gear up for another day in Shanghai.

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