Interesting sight to see. I was walking to the Silk Museum and noticed this place with people sitting inside facing a series of numbers (most of them red) on a large wall panel running down the length of the room. I got talking to a guy from Malaysia who filled me in by saying people were sitting here in order to check how their stock was doing on the stock market. I've never seen a place like this before and so it was an intriguing sight to see.
While in the Old City I passed a woman who was selling herbs. I wanted to buy some ginger in order to make tea (ginger tea is fantastic). Since I needed so little ginger (only for 4-5 days) she broke off a stem (?) and offered it to me for free. I told her I insisted on paying for it and would not take it otherwise. She called my bluff though and stuffed it in a bag and shoved it over to me.
I decided to take out some American coins I had and offered her the pick of all that I had. She settled on a nickel and her face beamed as I gave it over to her- she was so proud to have a foreign coin. For her it was probably the next best thing to going there I suppose. We had a good laugh (as did everyone around us who was watching) when I told her that she picked something worth less than 1/2 Yuan, and that as a result she would probably make a very bad businesswoman. I submit her photo to these pages for eternity (or until this site comes down, whichever comes first :), as it is those individual special moments which are shared between people of different cultures and backgrounds, which makes travel so rewarding.
If you go there and see her (go in Main Entrance of Old City and shes 1 km. down on left side), tell her the guy who gave her the U.S. coin says hello.
With fast pace economic development, you can see prosperity in Suzhou with new apartment high rise and overseas financed manufacturing factories in the industrial park.
Yet just outside, there are still rural farmers ekeing a living and doing many things manually in the traditional way. Here is a farmer lugging a cart.
In the traditional garden mansions of Suzhou, it is customary to separate the public living space of visiting guests who are entertained and the the private living space of family members like unmarried daughters from open public viewing.
It could be a wood panel or sometimes a silk embroided wall. There are also special hidden walkways for servants in some traditional mansions.
They make a pleasant picture. The grey color of the tiles, the curves of the roof and flat white walls are atypical of the region. But somehow together in a cluster, there is a strong cultural symbolism.
Think most country's share this and we were lucky enough to see some of the miss Suzhou beauty pageant....great!
Weekends are for sitting near the lake, hire a bbq, having a great time with freinds and family. Also suspect they consume the local chinese white & red wine's.......nice....!!