Suzhou & Discussions About Everyday Life in China
Trip Start Mar 18, 2011
24Trip End Apr 15, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
One of the more curious things is that apparently there is quite a wedding industry in this town. There are many stores selling wedding gowns and brides and grooms put on their wedding clothing and get there pictures taken on the sides of the canal, weeks before their weddings.We saw several of them. Our tour guide had pictures of her own weeding for us to look at. She had on a traditional white, western gown, her husband to be was wearing a tuxedo and the attendants were wearing very ordinary street clothes.After our boat ride we walked through a park and then went to lunch. Lunch was must better than dinner last night. Everything tasted wonderful, all served family style on a lazy Susan. The food just keeps coming, and we just kept eating. ;Many vegetables, sweet dates, seaweed salad, jellyfish (yes I ate it and it wasn't bad) chicken, beef, a whole fried fish, egg drop soup, fried rice and watermelon for dessert.
After lunch we went to the Humble Administrator's Garden.This garden is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was very beautiful, with small buildings, which they called rooms, water features, big pieces of limestone and lots of Chinese tourists. I am learning to push they way they do. We then returned back to the ship and had a very interesting conversation with our tour guide who was about Nate's age. She explained many things about China from her point of view. She went to college and majored in tourism management. She hadn't wanted to do this, she had wanted to be a biologist, but her test scores weren't high enough, so her college told her what she was going to major in. She was not forced to work in this area though. She said in the past the government would have found her a job and she would have had no choice in what she was going to do, but now she did have a choice. The government does not provide health care for the citizens, although I think they run the insurance company. She and her employer must buy the insurance and it didn't sound very good. They may purchase their condominiums but only for 70 years, as the government owns the land. She said know one knows what is going to happen when the 70 years are up. The government limits the number of auto license plates that are issued each year, and they are auctioned off, going for $6,000-$7,000. She said before the economy took a downturn, they would go for as much as $10,000. The cars on the road are large and new. All the high rise apartments have clothng drying on racks outside the windows, they have washing machines but no dryers. Although it getts pretty cold in Shanghai in the winter, they don't have central heating in the high rise apartments and condos, or central air (They have extremely hot and humid summers). She said they rarely use their heat, just putting on more clothing. It has been pretty cold here and the lack of heat in the buildings was obvious to me
Tomorrow we will take a short tour of Shanghai before we leave in the evening for a day at sea and then a day in Xiamen. We were supposed to meet with some college students there, but that was cancelled. We speculate that the government doesn't want the students causing trouble, but that is sheer speculation.