Our first stop in Suzhou, a quaint ‘little’ town with a population of 3.8 million, was at the Old Town Market. Bus parked, we followed close behind Jackie to a busy crossroad where he pointed across either side of the busy street. On one side we could visit the old town market. On the opposite side was a more modern, touristy shopping area. At last we were allowed to roam as we chose for a couple of hours. We were to meet at a designated area at 6:00 p.m.
I joined up with Bonnie and Russ and we headed to the market and a whole different world: open stalls, sidewalk displays; elbow room only and brisk exchanges of money and goods. No health concerns were in evidence. We saw small squirmy fish; large fish in shallow tubs of (cloudy) water; frogs; eel; cut-up pig parts with skin on and live chickens, As well, there were shoes, fabrics, and all types of outdated (to us) clothing. If you were hungry hot food was available as well as unrecognizable vegetables. These people were poor.
We walked through the market until a bridge came into view and crossed over to the other side of the canal. Talk about being thrown back to another time, a world of bicycles and mopeds, old shops, dank houses with peeling paint hanging over the river, some without stoop nor steps. I imagined someone opening the back door and falling into the water.
Small river boats were kept busy as one after another appeared.
We wandered into the shop and found paintings and hangings of the same bridge we’d crossed as well as many recreations of past times at this location. With a little time to spare, we wandered across the road to the newer, touristy section but it was of little appeal.
Pizza Pizza, McDonald’s, KFC are not plentiful but not unusual. I had to take a picture of this, though, my first sighting.
On our way to the bus and the hotel, I realized how much we’d covered this day, including the flight. My stomach rumbled and my feet wanted a rest.
Dinner: (30 minutes after we arrived at hotel)
- Breaded and fried chicken
- Scrambled eggs and white kind of fish
- Breaded pork
- French fries
- Cauliflower with bacon and young beans
- Green vegetable (mystery)
- Rice with fried egg
- Soup with tomato
- Watermelon for dessert
- Tea and the usual drinks
Our hotel was gorgeous and the room attractive, but the shower leaked. The sink and toilet were Koehler brand and I noticed either the door or the door frame in the bathroom were not plumb.
Chinese will eat anything with legs except a table; anything that flies, except a plane and everything that swims, except a boat.
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Next on October 10: Day 10, Part 1, Suzhou to Shanghai
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