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Published: February 7th 2007
is one city in China I do hope to visit again. I thoroughly enjoyed my few days and wish I had stayed longer and forgone my excursion to Nanjing. The former has to be one of the easiest cities in China for navigating and sightseeing while the latter' sights are spread miles and miles apart and the streets full of traffic. When I arrived in Suzhou, I rented a bike from near the train station, a typical one-speed jalopy that makes flat surfaces into mountains, and pedalled across town - why is it these towns look so much smaller in the guide books - to Dongwu, a budget hotel in the city's south-west. My Chinese isn't very good but I imagine dongwu translates as 'no frills'. No worries, i spent little time in the hotel room. The gardens of Suzhou are to fall in love with, a Chinese version of paradise, complete with tour groups. Actually, it was possible to avoid the groups in the earlier hours and whenever I sat to sketch, most tourists left me peacefully to myself. In the museum alongside the Humble Administrator's Garden, several local artists have their works for sale. I bought a couple
etchings of the canal scenes and a couple bright woodblock prints. What I spent on art and antiques during this trip, I saved on food. I found my safest and tastiest bet were the popular roadside canteens where one may point at his choice of food. 'I'll have that green slop. Yeah, the one that isn't moving."
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