China 2014 Day 8: Suzhou
We slept in a little longer than we could have because we prepared our bags last night for the 6:30am "bag pull" -- funny name, it basically just means "someone is coming to grab your stuff" :) We didn't use a good chunk of our food credit so we're gonna have a huge dinner tonight! So I think we were up at 7 instead. Still very much "up and at 'em".
We had breakfast and jumped onto the bus to head out to Nanjing, via the water town of Suzhou. Our first part of the day was about a 2hr drive out of Shanghai, and it was great to see all the buildings.
|Cool buildings as we drive out of Shanghai|
|Whoa, crazy building!|
|Really epic apartments|
She also pointed out the parks in the city that we were driving by. Shanghai is looking towards Singapore ("The Garden City") as an example of what an ideal city should look like. As such, Shanghai is closing down old and dilapidated housing areas and turning them into city parks. "Relocation" fees are paid to home owners for the hassle or dissatisfaction of them having to move from their homes, potentially the homes that their families had been living in for several generations. These homes can be in generally bad shape... and from what she said it sounds like these relocation fees can be substantial when you have a lot of people living at a home and also your home is in a desirable area for the country to develop in. When she mentioned "relocation" I assumed it wouldn't be a good deal for people, but I guess it's possible to refuse the money and stay in your home, and some larger building may be built around you. (Hang on, wasn't that a plot point in the movie "Up"?)
After a nice drive out of Shanghai, and making friends with some more people on the bus, we got to the Suzhou gardens. We first wandered along a street with cool markets on it, and I quickly grabbed a 50Y teapot as a backup to my awesome one from Shanghai a few days ago. Sweet! There was also lots of weird food on sticks. There were some pretty good looking Strawberries and Plums, but it looked like without much doubt they had been washed in tap water... noooopppe! So we stayed away from those, even though they looked good.
The gardens were beautiful and everyone had a great time there.
|Springs in Suzhou|
|Cool trees and waterways|
|A view into the gardens|
|Schoolkids, super excited to see us|
|Awesome Hello Kitty glasses|
|Haha so excited|
|I high-fived this dude|
|One part classy, one part silly|
|Boat Tour in Suzhou|
|A grand day out|
|Our new friend Claire, having a great time!|
|Lots of random stuff on skewers|
|More random skewers|
|Cool rice porridge design|
|And... even more food|
|On the way to the silk factory|
|Sik weaving machine, making a cool pattern|
|Pattern is drawn on punch cards!|
We then checked out some silk goods like duvets, covers, clothes. Then we wandered around the sales shop - and it was a legit sales shop - but there were some pretty funny hats that we tried on and dressed up in, costume-style. Fun times :)
|...and then we put on silk costumes.|
Fortunately, we had some tasty treats for the ride to Nanjing.
|Weird Cucumber Pringles|
|Chinese Fruit Pastilles|
We dropped off our stuff in the rooms, and the rooms were very modern and awesome. The curtains/shades on the window were controlled by a series of buttons at a console beside the bed! Crazy. We checked out the room a bit and then headed down for dinner.
|Arrived at Fairmont Nanjing, check out this chocolate game board!|
|An epic cherry to try!|
|Even the water bottles here are awesome|
Over dinner we chatted a lot with Jason and Claire, man they sure are awesome people. I really liked them. We talked a lot about the work they do, and also about movies, internships, etc. Really awesome peeps. We also made a plan to hang out with them tomorrow for the day, which will rock.
Springs got tired and headed to bed after our long and epic dinner, and I went up to say peace to the guys and have a short nitecap. The whisky selection there was pretty darn awesome, and I ordered a Hibiki 17 to finish the night off. That was super good. I got back to bed and whew... the bed was quite firm! Much firmer than the last hotel, but I bet it is going to result in an excellent sleep. I opened the shutters to see the view of Nanjing city, and there's a great view directly out the window of the Youth Olympic Stadium. This place rocks.