The classic gardens including Humble Administrator and Lion Grove Garden date back to the Qing and Ming dynasties and if you take away the heat, I think you will love visiting them particularly the Lion Grove Garden with its peculiar stone sculptures that form a labyrinth of twists and turns. Feels like a child’s jungle gym and each time you make a turn you find yourself in yet another picture frame setting. It’s like being in a Chinese water color.
Humble Administrator Garden is almost the same as Lion except much larger and has an added benefit. You can pay 150 yuan to go upstairs in one of the monastery buildings and see a live traditional Kun Opera while drinking tea. The performance started at 2:00 pm and I had a train to Nanjing to catch but I would definitely advise making the time to do this. The Kun Opera was born here in Suzhou. It’s the traditional Chinese opera and different from what you get in the major cities so could be a really great cultural experience. Not promising it won’t be annoying as it probably will be but when in Rome…
Met a couple of friends today for the first time in what feels like forever. Learned about orienting in the oriental too ironically.
On a side note, I noticed a large number of Linkin Park t-shirts and radios blaring Linkin Park this week which is strange here in China. I learned that the reason for this is that Chester, the lead singer, hung himself this week. This news invoked a great deal of thoughts and emotions in me given that I learned this week a high school sweetheart of mine shot himself in the head, one of my father’s closest friends committed suicide a couple months ago and last year a friend of mine Stephon did as well. The common thread for all these suicides is that all of these people suffer from the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction…the deadliest of diseases I assure you – which threatened my life on more than one occasion. While sad thoughts no doubt, it made me grateful for being alive even in 45 degree Celsius weather in a country that is likely to make anyone weep with frustration if you are traveling in it alone. Rest in Peace Chester.
That’s all for now from Suzhou as Nanjing and some work deadlines are incessantly calling my name.