Exploring Suzhou City Centre!

Trip Start Sep 01, 2012
Trip End Dec 16, 2012

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Flag of China  , Jiangsu Sheng,
Saturday, September 15, 2012

So I've been here for exactly two weeks today! Its been insane, i've seen and done so many new things, things i never thought i would or could! It feels like its been forever and part of me feels like saying i'm ready to come home now, but i'm not! This is only the beginning of my greatest adventure yet! I'm sure things are only going to get better and colder! :) 14 days down 92 days to go!

Today i went out with vera, we decided to go out despite all the stupidity between china and japan at the moment. I clearly don't look japanese so we though i would be safe! We caught the bus from Hui Jin and traveled for about 40 mins until we got to Guan Qian Jie, the main high street in Suzhou city centre. It was HUGE and super busy! We got off the bus in a swarm of people and vera was clinging onto me because she said that if she lost me the dorm director would kill her, i pointed out that i would kill her if she lost me! We walked along through a sea of bikes that just go wherever they want to in complete chaos, beeping at everything that gets in their way! Then we were going down some steps, it felt like going down to a tube station in london or like an underground walkway to cross the chaotic road. But no! It was this amazing underground shopping area! It was very dark and sooo hot, but it was so exciting! They have some seriously freaky manikins in china though!

After looking around for a while we headed back up to daylight and fresh air! And there it was the biggest high street i have ever seen and the busiest! It was amazing such tall buildings with glass fronts and colourful signs and as usual you could see all the things in place to make it look magical with lights when it got dark! It was a very interesting mixture of old and new buildings, because in china the older style buildings are protected like listed buildings in england!

We had some street food, because there was so much around, everywhere you look in china there is street food or fast food! We had some very tasty spicy barbequed chicken, but it was on such a long skewer it was impossible to eat without getting it all over your face! Classy! I also had some amazing orange juice from a milk tea stall where they just keep churning huge vats of juice!

We went in some of the largest shops i have ever been in like 6 floors high with escalators! It amused me to see that china's autumn range of clothing was out and it basically consisted of puffa coats and snow gear! I think that maybe they are expecting some cold weather! But then they don't have central heating so they wear coats inside in the winter!

China is much like england where things are much cheaper to buy online, so people look at them in the shops and then buy online! After shopping for a while we were hungry again so we went to a very large street that was just wall to wall street food stands. To sum Chinese street food up briefly I would say it looks very strange, smells either good or very very bad and tastes unique! There was a very wide range of street food on offer, so we enjoyed walking around looking at everything! Vera loves the faces I pull when I see very strange or gross things!

Ok at this point in the story I have to stop and sideline to the most horrific thing I have seen in china yet. We walked past a restaurant that is dedicated to serving monkey! They cook the monkey whole then bring it to the table, give people hammers and they literally smash the monkey to pieces and eat it! Including smashing open its skull and eating its brain! Now this I think is by far the sickest thing I've seen here! I understand not wanting to waste food so eating all of animals like, chicken feet and pig ear but there isn’t exactly an invasion of monkeys in china so I don’t understand this one!

Anyway back to the street food after wandering around being intrigued by everything around me we went up to the top of a building that served street food but in a restaurant style. It also had a brilliant view of what was going on below on the food street! People watching is so much more fun in china because there are so many more people to watch! We ordered are food and you will never guess what I tried!! I tried chicken feet! I literally ate a pickled chicken foot! It was vile!! I’ve uploaded photographic and video evidence because vera thought you would never believe me! I can now safely say that there is a reason we don’t eat chicken feet in England!! They taste like everything that is wrong with the world and it feels like you are eating someone’s hand! Yuck!! I also tried rice soup which is interesting it tastes like rice pudding!  We had kung pao chicken which was like 90% bamboo and very very spicy!

We spent about half and hour wandering around trying to find vera's friend, but china is so big and busy its impossible! Eventually we found her after we had found a tea shop and bought some traditional Chinese wheat sweet, that tastes a lot like horlicks!

We took a bus to what is basically the old high street of Suzhou before it became more developed. The street is called Shi Quan Jie. Its beautiful! It mainly consists of traditional style buildings, with all the carving and detail on the roofs and door ways! Now days there is a whole mixture of modern shops along it and some classic traditional china shops! I like the old china shops the best they are the most interesting and the best for present shopping! we spent about 2 hours wandering around shops and the road is so long that we only covered about half of it before it got dark and late and we had to catch the last bus home!

It took about an hour to get home on the bus, but luckily we got a seat! China at night still amazes me everything is so beautiful when its all lit up! Some of the lights remind me of England at christmas! But vera assures me there will be more lights in china at christmas!!! :)

We got back late and headed to the canteen for a final snack before we said goodbye and hit the hay!!

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