The pick-up

Humble Administrator's Garden

Humble Administrator’s Garden

When people told me about the city of Suzhou, they sang the praises of a quaint thousand year old city with canals, old streets, gardens, courtyard parks, … In a way, Suzhou’s ancient heritage has been preserved but the city has grown into a major city with numerous skycrapers & large boulevards.  I arrived by train from Shanghai (28.5CNY-30min)  Lucy, a Chinese girl who lived and worked as a English teacher in Suzhou would host me but worked till 17pm so I tried to find a luggage deposit room in the railway station before exploring the city.  Absolutely nobody understood a word I said, so after searching for half an hour I gave up and took my large backpack with me. I started with a visit to ‘Humble Administrator’s Garden’, considered as China’s finest. After that, I strolled in the ancient street ‘Pingjian Road’ & captured some hasty moments in time of Chinese daily life.

Kung, Gianna & me @ Pingjian road

Kung, Gianna & me @ Pingjian road

Suddenly 2 girls approached me and one of them asked if I’m a couchsurfer. Caught by surprise, I answered that I was indeed. She introduced me to her friend and after exchanging some words, she proposed me to show me around to the finest places. Gianna was her name and she worked in the sales departement of Nidec, a company who manufactures hard disks in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP).
Suzhou is the center of joint-venture high-tech manufacturing, boasts one of the hottest economies in the world & is the world’s largest single producer of laptops & computer components.

Michael, Lucy, Gianna & me

Michael, Lucy, Gianna & me

Her collegue & friend Kung, was a young girl from Bangkok who had been outsourced for a few months. Gianna proposed to host me too but I told her I would meet my host Lucy in the evening. She asked me Lucy’s number and suddenly I was staying with Gianna but we would meet Lucy later that evening for drinks & live music with her friend Michael after a lightshow at the Jinji lake.  What a funny, unexpected twist of events…
My plan was to leave the next day to Xi’an but all trains were fully booked due to the ‘Dragon Boat Festival’ so I booked a flight the day after. Gianna had to help her friends move so I kindly proposed to help.  I met Gianna’s friends Corrina, an English teacher from Nelson, New Zealand & her husband Shun, a Japanese teacher from Tokyo.

Corrina, Shun, Gianna, me, Leo & Aleen @ Asahi's Japanese restaurant

Corrina, Shun, Gianna, me, Leo & Aleen @ Asahi’s Japanese restaurant

Hong Wei, a local guy who was hired that day for the move joined us afterwards and we strolled around in the city.  Corrina & Shun invited us that night for a lovely Japanese dinner in a private room in Asahi’s restaurant. Leo & Aleen, 2 friends of Gianna, joined us for dinner too.
After dinner we met Xinwu Liu for a drink. He was a young fellah who had noticed that I was in Suzhou and who was eager to meet me.  I planned to stay 1 day in Suzhou but ended up staying 3 days, filled with surprises and unexpected twists.

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