Suzhou City Limits
Suzhou City Limits are hard to reach, because it is a really big city. We took an hour and a half bus ride from the campus to the "old city" and the downtown shopping core. The shopping core (imagine Yonge and Dundas that goes on and on) is just one tiny part of downtown. There appear to be several downtowns. At least that was how it seemed to me from the top of the North Temple Pagoda (the tallest pagoda south of the Yangzi - and a little scary, I kept thinking, the foundations of this were laid down 1700 years ago, and it is really tall and really full of people). The pagoda is part of a working temple, so there were lots of monks, people burning incense (the biggest incense I have ever seen, over a meter long and about a decimeter around!), and plenty of incarnations of the Buddah.
Before that we had lunch at the saddest restaurant in the world. We only went in because we couldn't find another one, and it had these tanks full of live turtles, and frogs and crabs, and eels and fish, all waiting to be eaten. On top of that the only staff person present spent her time staring vacantly at some Chinese Idol type show from 2009. Creepy and weird, and the tofu dish had meat in it that we had to pick out.
Before the depressing lunch we saw the Humble Administrator's Garden, one of the nicest and largest enclosed gardens in China. Morag promises me that when she is a billionaire she will set up something like it.
And before that it was the Suzhou Museum. It isn't very big, but it is a beautiful building, the exhibits were well laid out, and the English translations were easy on the brain. (By the way, a big "thank-you" to China for providing translations on so many signs. Thanks!)
Tomorrow and the next day are Shanghai, after that we aren't sure and then it is time to go home. I really miss Nicci and Jemima, I can't wait to see them.