Sunday, August 19, 2012

Suzhou day trip

Humble Administrator's Garden, Suzhou
This past Saturday, NZ, Sal and I joined our friends, the Royals for a day trip to Suzhou. The initial idea was to take the train into Suzhou and get some tailor made clothing made for the boys ( and maybe sneak a dress or two in for the girls). We also wanted to do some  sightseeing, so we decided between a museum and a garden walk.

Pretty much anywhere you go in China on the weekend will be busy. Wall to wall people. Suzhou was no exception. The line for the museum wrapped around the corner,  so we made a split second decision to do the garden walk instead--even if it was sweltering outside. The guys went and got tickets while we girls did our best to avoid the crippled beggar man on a home depot cart with mad rolling skills. He kept circling us asking for money and just about took Donna out at the knees on his last go round.

MEO. MEO. MEO! ( Don't have. Don't have. Don't have!)

Once inside the garden, it was a bit shadier, but not really any cooler. It was very pretty and there were a lot of architecturally neat rocks and buildings inside the gates.

The Zentils in Suzhou
As you can see by the photos, it was HOT out there. Like not just heat hot, but humid hot. I can't even begin to explain the humidity here. I've never ( not even in Texas) felt anything that compares..... I'm quite certain we all lost at least 2 kilos just walking around and sweating all day. We were all super hot messes, but didn't let that curtail the photograph taking. The boys were smart, bringing extra shirts and underwear so that they could spare the tailor their sweat soaked shirts during measurements.

From the Humble Administrator's Garden, we took cabs to the lake in Suzhou and ate the best Mexican food we've found here. It was a great retreat from the heat and we all walked out with full bellies. From the lake, we took the metro into the city again, to go to the tailor's shop. We arrived to the tailor only to find a sign taped to the door--closed the 19th and 20th.


We did try another tailor, but the prices were white people prices--and they weren't willing to budge on price. So, we walked out and decided we will go back another time for clothes to be made. No sense paying more just because we are white---which happens a lot here. We pay more for vegetables and fruit than our ayi does--or than my friend from Singapore does. It doesn't make me mad, but it is a tad bit frustrating when I sit back and think about it. I try to just be thankful that we have the money to buy things, but I also don't want to be taken a fool here by the locals.

We walked around an outdoor mall with many stores blaring techno music. It felt like we were in a nightclub duel walking from storefront to storefront. There's only so much of that stuff a girl can take (as mentioned a zillion other times in this blog, this girl doesn't do techno--talk about agitation!). To beat the heat, we grabbed 3 RMB ice cream cones from KFC, which is like an ice cream cone for 50 cents! I'll have 4 more, please!

Sal goes for geek chic in some lensless glasses. They're the rage here.
I think the sun had gotten to us by this point, so we hopped in taxis and headed back to the train station. Sal had to ride in front ( no airbags in taxis here--and the only seat belt is in the front seat in most of them--so please please please, spare me the lectures...being belted in his car seat is far beyond what most do here) and I was afraid we might crash because the taxi driver took a liking to him and was so busy making faces and smiling at him that there's no chance his eyes were on the road. Taxi driving here is not for the faint at heart.

By the time we arrived back to Wuxi and hopped in the cue to grab a taxi home, Sal had had enough for one day. He pitched a fit like no other ( his first and only fit of the day--he was a happy guy the entire day up to this point) and was Sca-ream-ing and calling all the pterodactyls in China from this hot stuffy line we had to stand in. Good thing there were only about 150 people in front of us in a cue line that zig zagged back in forth about 4 times. Were we waiting for a ride at Disneyland or for a taxi? It's so easy to forget. Oh--no cameras around the necks? Must be a taxi line.

Sorry it's sideways. My iphone pics come out this way sometimes. Sal's first train ride.
Some Chinese guy, presumably a black taxi driver ( private taxi--they charge an arm and a leg, and most their cars are black in color--hence, black taxi) came up to NZ yelling at him. Pointing to our screaming child and telling us to follow him. NZ insisted that we not go with him, and the guy just yelled more, threw his arms in the air and walked off. Pouting anyone? He came back another time and just did the same thing..Yelled, threw his arms in the air and pulled aside a railing. Thankfully, a guy in line in front of us, somehow managed to let us know that they were allowing us to skip the line to the very front. The waving taxi guy wasn't a black taxi driver after all. He was just trying to tell us we could go to the front. Apparently, screaming babies are the ticket to line jumping.

How do ya like that?

A taxi pulled up, we hopped in, and off we went.

Just like that.

Not a bad way to end a super fun day in Suzhou!

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