|My new keychain|
Tuesday I left in the morning for Suzhou, but my train was delayed, which in this instance turned out to be a good thing. Tuesday was the anniversary of the Nanjing massacre and every year on that day there is an air-raid siren that goes off in the morning to commemorate the event. Because of my train delay, I got to hear the siren when it went off - well, sort of. I had to strain my ears to hear it since I was in the train station, but it was still cool. Nothing else really happened; people kept doing whatever they were doing during the siren.
When I finally got to Suzhou, I dropped my stuff off at the local DisneyEnglish center and went to the Suzhou Museum to learn some history. It was one of the noisiest, most crowded museums I have ever visited.
|Part of the Humble Administrator's Garden|
The next day, I took the bus to the western edge of the city center to see Tiger Hill "The number one tourist spot in Suzhou". The advertisements say it's a pity if you don't visit it, and I have to agree. Tiger Hill consists of a series of pavilions on the side of a mountain - trees everywhere - and an ancient pagoda (Cloud Rock Pagoda) that actually looks ancient and leans to the side. It's where the founder of Suzhou is buried and is called Tiger Hill because legend has it that 3 days after he died, a tiger appeared at the pagoda as if to guard it.
|Tiger Hill Cloud Rock Pagoda|
|Yard of Rocks at the Lingering Gardens|
Then, as it was getting toward the end of the afternoon, I took a cab back to the city center and went to Beisi Ta Pagoda, which is a 1000 year old pagoda next to a temple and with a Buddha statue in front. You can climb to the top of the pagoda and you're supposed to be able to see to the south side of the city, but I think that depends on smog levels. The view was nice anyway, although the walls of the pagoda itself were covered in graffiti from previous visitors, and there was a mural of the city and sights on the wall next to the temple which was interesting. I walked around the temple, which had another smaller garden, and listened to a bit of the service that was going on.
|View of Suzhou from Beisi Ta|
Finally, I went to the Suzhou Silk Museum, which was half under construction, so I only saw half of it, but it's pretty cool. I went to the silk store and was saddened by the cost of silk products. Then I stopped by the goodbye dinner for Kelly (the girl I stayed with - she's heading back to the States next week) before taking the train back to Nanjing. It's good to be traveling again.