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Tall Buildings and the Venice of China

Day 3 - Shanghai to Suzhou

sunny 27 °C

Early start with a Chinese breakfast of wonton soup and dumplings and then off to the Shanghai World Financial (or as we know it "the bottle opener") look out at the 100 floor level. It rises up 474 m and the building next to it is still under construction will be at 634m. Amazing look out and you get a great picture of how congested Shanghai is with apartments. The trip up only takes 60 seconds.
We then moved onto the task of buying a bullet train ticket to Suzhou and fortunately Jen's work colleague Huiliang escorted me to the train station and bought the tickets for us. The picture that would have faced me was an information board totally in Chinese and another 500 other Chinese standing in line and no one speaking english. We said goodbye to Huiliang who we cannot thank enough for his hospitality, help and being a great tour guide. We then experienced the Chinese mass surge of getting onto a train and somehow we were the last 2 to get on but made it in time, Jen and I need to learn the art of push and shove and forget about space. Talk about technology, this train travelled at 293km / hr, 30 minutes later and at a cost of $8 each. Arrived at Suzhou and met up with my friend Angela and dropped our bags off and went to the Administrators Garden.

Suzhou is called the Venice of China, full of canals and is also Angela's home town. She told many stories of her growing up there with her Grandmother. Stories like dropping watermelons down wells to cool them and then bring water up to the surface. The gardens were lovely to meander through pathways, buildings, rock formations and went through a massive bonsai garden with some bonsais over 3 m tall.
From there we went to Pingjiang Road and strolled through for about 2 km's along a single street of little shops, food stalls and restaurants, sampling treats as we go. One thing both Jen and I wanted to experience on this trip was to eat street food as much as possible so we bought a series of little snacks that were just delicious. We also had dinner in a very traditional local restaurant made up of rice cakes, dumplings, chicken and some small little sweet fermented rice balls.

It was great to catch up with Angela and just chat and having her around showing us her local town was a great privilege.

Tomorrow its Tiger Hill and the Water Gardens. Also a note Facebook, Google and some web sites are being blocked in China by the Government, go figure!

Posted by tszeitli 15:38 Archived in China Tagged gardens food traditional train suzhou

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Those bonsais are spectacular! Philip would be in heaven!

There;s nothing like stepping slightly off the tourist beaten track and getting a real feel for the place through a locals eyes. Awesome!

by Sonia

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