Suzhou

A couple of days ago I came down to this beautiful city for the first time to have a look around, meet my site designer (a great designer and a great host) and maybe get a glimpse of the eclipse tomorrow morning, though weather reports and the current rainstorm don’t bode well for that. The eclipse was last on my list, but I can imagine the swarms of people that checked into my hotel this afternoon (which was empty yesterday) will be very disappointed if the forecasts hold true. What can you do?

I leave China next week. I came here seeking to unwind, and somewhat ironically and wholly unexpectedly as soon as i arrived I got an offer for a freelance assignment that’s kept me in the room all day today. Which wasn’t such an unwelcome thing, since the day before I nearly melted down in Suzhou’s famous summer heat climbing the hills on Dongshan Dao. The new work practically guarantees I’ll be busy until my flight takes off for America in a few days, and for the next two weeks after that. So more silence to follow.

Below is a picture my friend Ben took yesterday from the top of Suzhou’s San Shan Dao. It really is a dreamlike place that, like Kunming and Qingdao, has a distinctive look and feel that makes you wonder for a moment whether you’re still in China. (And sorry about the photo screwing up the alignment – working on it, but my connection now is too slow to re-upload and align. It may have to stay that way for a day or two.)

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 10 Comments

I assume you must have heard this Chinese saying by now, but it’s worth repeating: 上有天堂,下有苏杭 (Above, there is heaven; below, Suzhou and Hangzhou.)

July 22, 2009 @ 3:24 am | Comment

Yay! A new post! And a lovely photo too.

Best of luck on the assignment, Richard!

July 22, 2009 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Not much of a post. But I sure love Suzhou. Saw the eclipse this morning despite the heavy overcast – it was quite dramatic when a relatively bright sky went nearly black in a matter of minutes. In Hangzhou again now. Lisa, I am so sorry we didn’t spend more time here back in 2005. I sat at an outdoor cafe overlooking the lake until past 11 tonight thinking of nothing much aside from how beautiful it is. After the showers ended this evening it was simply dreamlike.

July 23, 2009 @ 12:18 am | Comment

Acid Flask – yes; exactly.

July 23, 2009 @ 12:20 am | Comment

Richard: Unfortunately I am in Hong Kong this week. Otherwise I would love to have a cup of coffee with your at one of the Starbucks shops by the lake. Hope it is not as hot as in the last week.

July 23, 2009 @ 12:17 pm | Comment

I’m in Moganshan with a friend at the moment, enjoying a sorely needed vacation from the Beijing grind. You’ve got to come here the next time you’re back — October, did you say it was going to be?

July 23, 2009 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

It’s funny, it turns out I’ll be back in Asia on assignment withing ten days of arriving back in the US., but am not sure I’ll be able to get as far north as China this time. I can already feel the magnet pulling me northwards….

Serve, next time. It is hot and muggy today, but it’s so gorgeous, who cares? It’s at night, however, when those lights illuminate the weeping willows along the lake, that you truly feel you’re in a magical kingdom, someplace not of this earth.

July 23, 2009 @ 4:09 pm | Comment

:-O

A place to visit indeed.

July 24, 2009 @ 12:18 am | Comment

You’d never made it to Suzhou before? Well I’m certainly glad to hear you got over there in time – it’s definitely one of my most favourite places in the whole of China.

Have a safe flight back to the US.

July 24, 2009 @ 8:30 pm | Comment

Didn’t see this post until just now (like an eclipse, it requires my memory, VPN and schedule to be in alignment!). It was great finally meeting face to face, glad to hear you enjoyed Suzhou and wish you had more time here. For a small, just out of the way, place it has a lot to offer both travellers and expats like myself.

Come back anytime!

August 9, 2009 @ 5:21 pm | Comment

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