Friday, April 9, 2010

"Sue me? Sue everybody!" No--SuZhou!!

Making friends at a classical garden in Suzhou...





Early April in Shanghai means a couple things: grousing about the cold (to wit: Tuesday's forecast calls for a high of 47 F) and 3-DAY WEEKEND FOR TOMB SWEEPING DAY. Neither of our families has any tombs nearby, so we chose to beat the cold by going to Suzhou. It's about 40 miles west of here, and was visited by Marco Polo a while back. He said it was a great and noble city. True dat. Suzhou is a pretty city. Especially for a place with over 6 million people, it has a lot of greenery, and natural bodies of water incorporated into even the downtown area.



After riding the train to Suzhou (insert HERE whatever wacky misadventures you assume a train ride would entail, then divide by 2), we checked in and then took a sunset boat tour of the Grand Canal, which surrounds the core of downtown ("old city"). Lots to see: up-lighted trees, bas-relief sculptures on bridge-support columns and a rainbow-lighted waterfall. On the boat itself, a tour guide explained the sights, and my Mandarin is clearly improving, because I distinctly heard her say "27" and "We." Didn't catch any of the rest, but I distinctly heard those words.

Also on the boat, a musician play the pi pa (see here). She was a beautiful young woman, and emmett and sarah were sitting in the front row, just a few feet from her. Sarah noticed the look on Emmy's face and asked, "Do you love her?" He nodded up and down.

The next day was Easter, and the hotel we stayed at had a nice brunch. It's part of a German chain, so they even had an Easter bunny walking around. And a kids' room, so we adults got to eat in relative peace and quiet. Until, that is, the giant bunny man walked into the kids' room. At that point, this little white girl in what looked like a wedding dress starts screaming. She staggers out of the kids' room, frantic to find mom or dad, sobbing over and over, "I don't like the bunny." Talk about schaudenfreude. Meanwhile, our kids were so into Tom & Jerry (which is ubiquitous here in China), I'm not sure they even noticed bunny man.

Besides the hotel's egg hunt (which taxed even my well-known hunting skills--damn those Germans!) we also visited a classical garden. Lots of fun climbing on rock structures and being ogled. See pics below.

Birthday party today and tee ball tomorrow.

Contest update: Two free songs still available! Congrats to Nate Oetting, who correctly emailed me the date of my first post to mention Expo. Come on, folks! Get on it!