(Due to the server crash at Travel Blog, I am trying to recreate some of the entries that are lost in the ether between China and Texas.)
We had a smooth flight from Guiyang to Shanghai and then transfered to the bus for Suzhou, the Venice of China. Suzhou is built around a series of canals and is known for silk production and classic Chinese gardens. Rich merchants often retired to the Suzhou area and built homes and gardens. The area was also known for its highly literate and educated population; so retired civil servants devoted themselves to calligraphy, poetry, and painting--three very important virtues. They often described themselves as fishermen or hermits to emphasize their distance from the world of government and politics after their retirement.
While in Suzhou we visited The Master of the Nets Garden and the Lingering Garden. The weather in the south is incredibly hot and humid--for an old desert rat, it was seriously hot!
The gardens are elegant and have small pavillions, ponds, and large curious rock formations. The Lingering Gardens have musicians performing in various spots. I was surprised to see bonsai tress--given the way the Chinese feel about the Japanese--but I was assured
the trees were Chinese bonsai.
The day included a canal boat ride through the canals of Suzhou and a trip to a silk weaving workshop.
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