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Published: April 28th 2006
Laura - We went on a day trip today to a canal town called Suzhou, an hour long train ride from Shanghai. Had a bit of a palava (yet again!) at the train station, and once more could only get 1st class tickets at an inconvenient time! I swear they are just trying to con us out of out money. We planned to spend a full day there but could only get a train that got us in at 1pm so it was a bit of a flying visit. We walked around a very nice traditional garden, that is on the World Heritage List. It was called 'the Master of the Nets Garden' (see pictures). It was very serene, apart from the obnoxiously loud tour guides that sort of ruined the atmosphere (one even had a loud speaker!). We also climbed a nine storey pagoda that was built in the 3rd Century. This was quite hard work considering the 30 degree heat. I have full respect for the old Chinese women that were giving it a good go. The views from the top were pretty cool, although we felt a little dizzy from the height and lack of safety
restrictions (this seems to be a running theme of our trip of china so far!).
I really enjoyed today, the pagoda was my favorite. It dominated the skyline in Suzhou and makes a nice change to the skyscrapers of Shanghai. Another highlight was seeing some guy on the tube with two chickens casually tucked in a shopping bag like it was the most normal thing in the world! What a guy.
Paul - Well another hilarious time at the train station this morning. It's a good job we have the 'Point It' book or who knows where we would have ended up! We've learned that, basically, go to the counter, point at the train you want and don't give up until they give you a ticket. For some odd reason they only like to sell us the 'T' class trains which are supposedly the better class. So we ended up getting a return in first class but it isn't that expensive anyway (about 3 pounds I think) and got on the train to Suzhou! Anyway once that was out of the way it was a really nice day.
Very hot but probably something we'll have to get
used to. What I meant to say was, something we'll DEFINATELY have to get used to. 30 degrees in the shade and you could feel it!
By the way Dad, the Real Madrid shirt is mine from Laura's grandad, not yours. Haven't worn that yet. Hope weather in Grimsby is nice!
Anyway, gardens were lovely today, probably nicer than Yuyuan in Shanghai. The canals looked lovely too but didn't really get chance to explore them. I thought Suzhou would have more canals than it had but we probably didn't explore the town as well as we could. Didn't really have the time.
We met an amusing 60 year old woman on the train back to Shanghai. She was telling how she had been to Tibet by herself (!) and was currently staying in another hostel in town. She was really nice (if not a little crazy!!!!) and told us about her problems with the cracking Chinese Rail system. I liked her, partly because she was probably crazy and partly because she was travelling round China at 60 by herself (probably more because she was crazy!)
Mark and Katie..... met a German guy at the train station,
who thought I was German. Came over to me and started chatting in German. Legendary, must have been the sandals. Jurgen ist ALIVE!
That's about it for today. Back at the hostel, drinking beer and generally having a good time. Laura is abusing anyone with a beard which is also pretty amusing. Lazy day tomorrow I think.
Last BUT BY NO MEANS LEAST!!!! Laura's trips to the squat toilets get better... she thinks she may have peed on her foot this time!! Sexy....
See you all soon!
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