Being a Tourist
Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
11Trip End Jun 24, 2007
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The North Pagoda is perhaps the most famous symbol of Suzhou as it sits in the heart of the city. This nine-story structure is a Buddhist temple that dates back 1,500 years. The Pagoda, one of the tallest in the southern half of China, was built much later. We climb up the pagoda and receive some nice views of the city. But smog prevents us from seeing very far. (As China produces more and more cars, electricity and other modern conveniences, it has also created some of the most polluted cities in the world.)
The Humble Administrator's Garden is breathtaking
Right next to the Garden is the newly opened Suzhou Museum. The building is a western like structure designed by I.M. Pei, the world famous architect, who originally hailed from the Suzhou area. The museum contains interesting artifacts from the Ming and Qing Dynasties and has numerous other exhibits. This museum has a relatively cheap admission price (less than three U.S. dollars), so many Chinese could visit it. But the Gift shop is beyond reach for not only most Chinese, but many Westerners, too. The museum sells expensive replicas and furniture. There are some books, which are priced similar to a Barnes and Noble, but nothing piques my interest enough. And I know I would have a difficult time justifying the replica Qing chair on my travel voucher to Juan Castillo so I don't buy anything -- LOL.
We only see about half of the museum before heading back to the hotel and a banquet with the officials from Soochow University. Chinese are perhaps the world's greatest hosts and nobody throws a banquet better
We feel fortunate to be visiting Suzhou and their university because they are such gracious hosts.