07 June 2006

Day 5 - Suzhou, Zhouzhuang and Hangzhou

Suzhou is a place where all the scholars gathered. It is a quiet city with much greenery. The first we visited the next morning was a big house of a rich man where many scholars have gathered and meet it's called the Ou Garden. Nothing much there to see but lovely garden, cosy place where people can share their learning's and thoughts and old furniture and nice architecture. We entered via the main door of Ou Garden but left the place via a short boat ride from the back of the gardens.

One of the study chambers at Ou Garden

Rolls of Tiger Lily at Tiger Hill
The boat ride form the backyard of Ou Garden
The leaning pagoda at hangshan Temple
A view at the enterenace of Tiger Hill
The leaning pagoda view from a distance
At the foothill of the Tiger Hill temple, Darren managed to find a bigger version of his Olympic mascot, Huang Huang.

The next place we taken to was the silk factory. Siu Chang told us that how silk is evolved. He mentioned that the silk factory that we are going was made famous by our former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir. The story goes that he was in China attending the APEC meeting. He woke up the next morning saying that he had a very sleep and was using a silk blanket. He then asked where the silk blanket was made and he was taken to factory in Suzhou where the silk blankets were manufactured and distributed. After his visit there, he requested that tourist should be introduced to the comfort of the silk blanket and it's impact on health. It seems that Suzhou has also honour our former Prime Minister by naming a road after him.

We reached the silk factory and there were many people there buying the silk blankets. I was impressed by the story and bought 5 pieces of the blankets costing RM400-00 each. Other than the blanket, we have also bought the blanket cover. Overall the silk blankets plus the covers cost me over RM2,400-00 but I think it's money well spent for the comfort that it will bring when we are sleeping. We were also treated to a silk wear fashion show but sad to say the model parading in the silk wears were not pretty and did not generate much "Ho" and "Ha". Other than the blanket I have also bought myself a silk shirt and some ties.

After lunch, we went to the Tiger Hills and the Hangshan Temple. The place was nice and my son managed to find a giant Olympic mascot, Huang Huang. The main attraction of Tiger Hill is the Yunyansi Pagoda. The pagoda is called Tiger Hill pagoda by the local people and was built in 959 A.D. which is almost 2,000 years ago in the Song dynasty. It is 47.7 meters high and leans to the north to east at an angle of 3.59 degrees. The leaning angle is greater than the Leaning Tower of Pizza!

After the visit to Tiger Hill, we we off again on along journey to Zhouzhuang. Zhouzhuang is located on a river mouth where the Zhou people staying there are very rich from money earned from merchanting trade. Since it was located on a river mouth, the house were built very close to the waters and it looks very much the Venice of the East. What interest me was the sale of roasted pork, pig thighs to be exact. There were many stalls selling the same item and by the time we reached there it was already evening, I wondered what they will do with the roasted pork when they could not sell it on the same day.

Zhouzhuang.. lovely looks like the Venice of the East.. hey.. I have never been to Venice yet!

One of the many boats along the canal
Ahh.. jaga.. ini tak halal.. BABI!!

After the short trip to Zhouzhuang, we were again on the road heading to Hangzhou. By the time were reached Hangzhou, we were checked into our hotel for the night.

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