XJTLU Day Three - Qingming Festival

Pingjiang Road, Suzhou

Breakfast this morning consisted of all bran with walnuts and grapefruit and pineapple juice. The hot plate consisted of chicken sausage onions and mushrooms and salted carrots. It was very nice. Still didn't feel brave enough to have char sui buns for breakfast. 

Pingjiang Road, Suzhou

The university was closed as it was a national holiday called Quingming Festival known in English as Tomb sweeping day.  People travel across the country to remember and celebrate their ancestors. Anna and I decided to go sightseeing in the old part of Suzhou known as Pingjiang Road, which hasn't changed much in over 800 years. Plain and simple old buildings housed a variety of food shops, silk stockists, clothing stores, and tourist souvenirs for the huge amount of visitors that day. 

Canal, Pingjiang Road, Suzhou

Being the only ginger in the village I stood out like a sore thumb. People walked past shouting "hello", nudging each other as they walked past me and many of the just stopped and took photographs of me. This was to be a common theme of the visit. Initially it was quite fun to begin with, however it did become wearing by the end of my trip.

Even though the place was teeming with people, crowded into the narrow streets next to the the canal, there was an incredible sense of calmness and beauty all around.. A great place to slowly wander around soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of a different culture. We took a punt style boat ride along the grand canal stopping off at attractions along the way. The woman steering the boat sang to us while we drank tea and eat pumpkin seeds. Stresses and strains evaporated in the late afternoon sun. 

Spring, Suzhou

View from the boat

Noodles for lunch, gifts bought, candles lit and then taxi back to the hotel. I'm very grateful of Anna being with me in China. She is great company and encouraged me to experience things I may not have, had I traveled on my own. 

My evening was spent wandering around Suzhou trying to remember where the neighborhood centre was. Eventually found it after heading in the wrong direction. I selected a restaurant for dinner solely based on the fact the menu was in picture format. Luckily my chicken and egg fried rice was very tasty. 

Menu, Hanlin Neighbourhood Centre, Suzhou

Picture Menu