So far today I have had an absolutely wonderful time. We are on a day trip out of Shanghai. We are in Suzhou. It is about a 2 hour bus ride from Shanghai. We left at about 7am. I slept for most of the bus ride there. Our fist stop was to this place filled with beautiful gardens and old buildings. The whole way through it I kept thinking about how mom would really love it here.
Kassy and I decided that if someone gave us a book and a hammock we could spend the rest of the day there. The weather is beautiful. The sun is out and the sky would be blue if it was not for the pollution, though it is not that bad out here. I took a lot of photographs because it was so beautiful. I also got a fair number of photographs of me. At the end of the tour we were led to a big tower. I guess that it was built on soil that had not settled yet, so the tower leans to the right. It is China’s version of the Leaning tower of Pisa.
After we left that place we went to another that had a lot of the same features, so a group of us girls decided to just sit for a while. We found a really good spot in the shade on a planter box. We were just sitting there when a man came up and asked if he could have is picture taken with us. We thought it was kind of weird but we said ok. Then a few minutes later a group of about 10 Chinese women and a few men cam over and wanted to get their pictures taken with us. We said yes again and spent the next 10 minutes having our picture taken.
The women were really the only ones getting their picture taken with us. They were so nice and so sweet. They would tell us exactly where to sit, arrange us then squeeze themselves in with us. One woman put her arm right around my shoulders. They were not at all shy. We were all laughing and having a blast. Kassy, who speaks Chinese, told us that they kept exclaiming about how cute and beautiful we were. I must have had my picture taken by them 50 times. It was so much fun though. Later we were told that the reason they wanted their picture taken with us was because we were Americans and we had light skin. They were most likely farmers from out of the area and they may have never seen anyone like us before.
Lunch was only Ok today.
I must say that I have been very good about trying almost everything that is put in front of me. I even like the majority of it, but I am getting sick of it. They put some kind of sauce on everything; I need something with no sauce. Soy sauce is defiantly their favorite. It is ok, but I really can not eat a lot of the food because it is drenched in it. It makes me sick if I eat too much. It has taken me a couple days to get used to the food. The first three days were kind of uncomfortable because I felt as though someone was constantly stretching my stomach, but the last 2 days I have felt fine. And they don’t serve rice as much as I thought. I have had 12 meals here and I have only had rice 3 times. I love rice and would like more. Oh well.
Anyway, after lunch we went to the silk factor. The tour of it was not very good because I could not really see anything and it was hard to hear with all the other tour groups using different languages. After the tour we got to watch a small fashion show of some of their clothing. After the show we walked around for a while in the shop. I only got a green scarf for Robin, but it is very beautiful.
We left the silk factory and thought we would be heading back to Shanghai, because we really have done a lot today and we are all hot, smelly, and tired.
However we had yet another stop to make. I really hate not knowing what is going on. I hate following blindly along. So this stop was to the Lion Forest Garden. It was beautiful, but not fun when all you want to do is rest for a while. The reason we went to this garden was because it has a quality very unique from all the others. The whole area was filled with limestone rocks that were hand-carved. It was nice to see, but I am ready to go back, so hopefully that is where we are going now.
Well, they did try and make us take one more stop.
The key word there was TRY. They pulled over and turned off the bus. Everyone started asking really loudly “Now what are we doing?” the “tour guide” (put in quotes because they are not doing a very good job) told us that we had an hour and 1 ½ hours to shop. Everyone then started complaining. This was funny because we have some avid shoppers in our group. One lady made the comment that you know we are tired when we turn down shopping. So we left. It was a 2 hour drive back to Shanghai.
After we got back we had dinner at the hotel. (It was very good). The plan was that Kassy and I were going to take Katie with us the Pastry shop, then maybe stop by the small grocery store to get me some chopstick. However that did not work out. Dr. Ellis and his wife came to our room so that they could use Kassy’s laptop to transfer their pictures to their USB drive. So then we ended up looking at all their pictures. We had a blast doing that. Then he spent some time looking at his email from school. This was fine with us because it was related to his job, so he paid for our internet and will get reimbursed later. They were here for almost 2 hours so we decided we really just wanted to take a shower and go to bed.