Introduction and Flight on AA
Google Maps in China
Sheraton Changzhou Xinbei Review
Intro to China High Speed Rail (CSR)
Cantonese Food and Ramen in Shanghai
Intercontinental Shanghai Puxi Review
Nanjing (City Wall, Nanjing Massacre Memorial, Purple Mountain)
Suzhou (Tiger Hill, Humble Administrator’s Garden)
Changzhou Tianning Temple
Hangzhou (West Lake, Leifeng Pagoda, Longjing tea)
Flight Home and After Thoughts
For today’s trip, I also booked the morning HSR ticket to Suzhou with a travel agency. I took the train from Changzhou Railway Station as i was meeting a coworker in Suzhou and it was more convenient for him. Suzhou is famous for its classical gardens.
The first stop was Tiger Hill.
On the way up to the Cloud Rock Temple Pagoda, you walk over the Twin Well Bridge. People used to use this bridge to lift water from the pool.
On the other side of the Pagoda, there was a tea field. You can see some workers tending to the leaves.
Here is a close up of the tea leaves. They are the smaller bright green leaves. They are picked and dried.
The next stop was the Humble Adminstrator’s Garden, which is the most famous of the gardens in Suzhou.
The garden also had a nice Bonsai garden.
The covered walkway was designed so that it looked like the tail of a dragon.
After the garden, we went to Pingjing Road for lunch. It was labeled as a historic street and when I was there in 2012, they were in the process of cleaning up the street, paving it with stones and opening more stores. It is right by a small canal and I can see them developing it into a nice restaurant and bar district.
We were driving down towards Xishan island when we stopped at a popular park. This grass area is right by Taihu lake, which is a large lake that both Suzhou, Wuxi, and a few other cities share.
There were about seven couples taking engagement pictures here. I am not sure what they see in a large wooden water wheel.
There were a few bridges and we got to Xishan Island.
My coworker took me to a farm that grew tea leaves among other things. They grow a tea called Biluochun tea, which can be upwards of about 2000CNY per kg during Chinese New Year. It is one of the most famous green tea’s in China. The farmers use a giant wok to dry the tea leaves. The local tea leaves i’ve seen here aren’t as dried as what are in tea bags or in some stores in the US. They are just lightly dried and when submerged with hot water, they look like small full leaves, rather than thin shriveled up tea sticks. In my next post about Hangzhou, there is a few pictures of how tea looks like.
When i got to the station, i took a picture of hot water dispensers in the train stations. This is very common in China as everyone drinks hot water or tea everywhere.
Everyone carries around a thermos or water bottle and carry hot water and tea with them. They believe that the hot water is safer to drink and healthier for them. Given all of the current problems China has with their air, water and food supply, I don’t blame them. It is very common to use the same tea leaves over and over again so they would carry the same leaves, just add more hot water. The good quality tea leaves are usually like this and sometimes gets stronger the more times you brew it. Normally, you would first wash the tea leaves with hot water and its the second brew you drink.
Not surprisingly, everyone is anxiously waiting to get through the turnstiles and onto the train. Once the train number display turns green, there is a mad rush to get through. It’s always funny to see people standing right in front of the door as they are putting in their tickets, and the machine beeps at them for being between the gates and then delays everyone behind them. I personally take my time to get to the gate as everyone has assigned seats so there’s really no need to get on the train first.