In Suzhou in the morning we took a boat trip on the Grand Canal (which links Hangzhou with a place in the north near Beijing). Susan and I went on such a boat ride before. I did another boat ride here two years ago. The ride this time was different from the last one in terms of the places we saw.
I told Susan I would see the bonsai in a garden in Suzhou, which is famous for gentry gardens. Susan has visited the Lingering Gardens and the Humble Administrator's Garden here, and our plans this trip were changed to to Visit Tiger Hill, which neither Susan nor I have seen before. It has a leaning pagoda (finished 961 AD) from the Song Dynasty. Our guide said she knew we were familiar with a famous leaning pagoda in Europe. None but one of us actually saw the bonsai here as we wandered over the extensive grounds. But I've got pictures of bonsai from two years ago. .
When we stopped for lunch we discovered the air conditioning in the bus went out. So our stay was extended as we waited for the driver to fix it. drivers have to have hese skills in order to get their license. All he needed was a part, as he correctly diagnosed the situation. The wait actually allowed some of our group to shop at the attached embroidery shop and to continue to boost the Chinese economy.
Arived in Shanghai and went to the Bund, the 1920s-30s era buildings of the International Concession of the foreign powers. Our guide showed us a place at an entrance to a walk along the Bund where there was supposedly a sign which said not Chinese or dogs allowed. A bund is a water front area that I think is an Anglo-Indian word. It is on the west side of the Huang Pu river. This is Susan's favorite place in her favorite city in China. When we were here together before in 1985, there was nothing east of the river (pu dong
) but agricultural land. Now it is named Pudong and is the financial center of China with skyscrapers and accommodations that boast malls similar to ones you find in the US, but with a difference, and living areas with green swards and playing fields for Brit kids who do soccer. Soon Pudong is expected to take over Tokyo's financial role in east Asia.
Went over to the Peace Hotel on the Bund and took a picture of the Jazz Bar there. In the 1900s the Peace Hotel was given te award of being the most famous hotel in the world.
At dinner tonight, some of the people at my table encouraged a toast to Susan for her love of the Bund and Shanghai. We all drank to her and hoped she heard it.
Went on a cruise on the Huang Pu River and saw all the lights come on the buildings, especially the Aurora inPudong which has a adds in lights all over its front, including moving pictures of soccer, humming birds, etc. Then there were the lights on the Oriental Pearl TV tower. the surrounding area, and best of all, the lighted up Bund. The guide told us that Shanghai is without makeup in the day but with makeup on at night. And she is from Hangzhou, which she thinks is the best place in the world. But she comes to Shanghai to shop.