Ray and I were in Shanghai only a few hours before finally figuring out how to get to Suzhou. We had planned on staying in Suzhou only one day and then moving on to Hangzhou; however, we figured out that it was just too many cities in our schedule, so we decided to leave that for another China visit!
Suzhou is a beautiful garden city. When they say gardens, I was thinking small gardens, not huge gardens that would take days to explore! Our favorite place was the Humble Administrator’s Garden, pictured above. This is Suzhou’s largest garden and it’s considered one of China’s finest gardens. It’s hard to believe that something so beautiful was preserved since its establishment in the 16th century. The garden is situated like a labyrinth, with different roads leading to other roads or to dead ends, so we had fun trying to find our way through.
Later in the day, we took a ride on a rickshaw to see a bit of the town at night. We didn’t understand the guy, except for the agreed on price, so we didn’t know where we’d end up, but we finally ended up in this big mall area that looks like Santa Monica’s outdoor pedestrian mall. This place was about four times the size of that and they had mini cars with tiny wheels blasting this extremely high pitched loud music that could take you from one end to the other. We just couldn’t stop laughing every time one of those minivan vehicles passed.
After that, we headed back to our hotel to meet my old law school buddy, Wenfeng Li. We had a fantastic dinner and discussed his new position at a big New York law firm in Shanghai. Wenfeng works so much, it’s just crazy. Every day he works from around 9:30am until 4am. He told us that he works that much because he has to deal with the American requests and it’s a 12 hour difference, then when the Americans are asleep, he has to be taking care of the requests with the Chinese government. He works during the weekends as well. I wasn’t surprised knowing how hard the Chinese work. It’s funny because throughout this trip, all the Europeans have been saying they could never live in the US because we work so hard and have a ridiculously low vacation time. Well, it turns out, my Chinese friend, Ke, only has 4 days of vacation time in a year. So, I will not complain about our two week vacations!