This afternoon I went to the Old Town of Suzhou for the first time! I'll post pictures asap.
Lunch in a local Restaurant * Boat Ride on the Canal * Humble Administrator's Garden
For now I have to rest... I'll be spending the week end in Shanghai! Can't wait! I miss the city!
I think what I miss most is color.
So here are a few snapshots.
With a very hard mattress. But at least I have a mattress !
On my way to school there are many construction sites and we can see where the workers live. They sleep on wooden bunk "beds" (I'd call them bunk boards.) And they keep their windows open.
I can't complain.
The river was frozen this morning. That's how cold it is. I don't know the real temperature because they don't want to admit just how cold it is here so that people will keep coming.
The goverment considers that Suzhou in the south, therefore central heating is not necessary. hahaha
When I walked out of the bedroom, the workers just looked at me, nodded and went back to drilling. I still don't know how they got in. I guess they have a key.
When I left for school, they were still drilling and I still don't know why.
Welcome to China. I was told I would be better off not trying to figure things out. Things just are and there is not always an explanation.
Later today, during a conference on Chinese culture, we were told that the Chinese don't have the same perception of space and time... and more specifically personal space and night time.
Apparently it isn't rude to wake someone up, to make a lot of noise or to invade personal space.
I guess being 1.3 billion people in a country has something to do with it!!
Now that I know that, I guess the workers were just being nice and polite in their own way. Thank you for whatever you were doing in my living room very early this morning.
Well we got the heater to work on sunday but we hadn’t realized the water didn’t work. Oh… I was really dreaming of a nice shower after 24hours of travelling. Oh well! After going down to the reception and asking for help, the water finally started to flow to the apartment. But seconds later the electricity shut down. The people at the reception (that hardly speak English) are becoming my new best friends… The electricity shut down again a few hours later when I was about to hop in the shower.
Anyway… The drive from the airport to Suzhou wasn’t so bad. We got a van (Buick) for 1000rmb (116€) that 4 of us could fit in together. Our first negotiation went well! The drive was about an hour and a half long. The roads are good –better than in California and since it was Sunday there weren’t too many cars so the driving seemed normal. Disappointing huh?!? Lol
So far I’ve had French fries at KFC (the only thing I could point out on a picture map and be sure to like) and an artichoke soup at an Italian restaurant in the “Upper class” district where we had dinner.
I’ll be more adventurous food wise another day!
After dinner we went to a bar/club! The decoration was amazing! Chandeliers and Chinese people all over! The music was different than what I’m used to but still western… more like techno-house style music. A few girls danced but that’s all. They all had high heels though!
It seems like the Chinese have dinner early and go out early like in America.
It's still VERY cold !!!!! And although I'm not jetlagged i'm exhausted !
We haven't had any classes yet.. .just different introductions and presentations.
I got a phone card but it doesn't work... They said it might happen. I'll have to go back and get another one!
This evening I went to Auchan with my roomate ! OMG !! lol It's all chinese stuff except one aisle with "international food" which means pasta, cereal, tomato sauce...
It was kinda overwhelming since I was really tired and cold... and I had just lost my iPhone !!!!!!!
My camera in San Francisco and now my iphone... is this bad karma or what ???
It's strange, some things are really different, like food and the size of constructions but there are a lot of european things here (Decathlon, Auchan, Carrefour but also food like Nutella, Barilla... at higher prices of course but they're here!)
The driving isn't all that crazy.. the roads are nice and so are the cars, in general.A lot of things are cheaper (restaurants, food, taxi...) but it all adds up quickly ! And nice things -like cameras- aren't so cheap. I haven't been to the "real" city of Suzhou yet because it's a little far. But I think I'll go friday afternoon! And then I'll probably go to Shanghai this week end ! Now it's only 20minutes away by train !
It's.... different ! Kinda feels like i'm trapped in a video game !! Completely unreal !
The streets are really long and wide and empty and gray... There is construction going on everywhere !
And there are police booths at almost every intersection !
Suzhou is really big ! It's actually divided in several districts. I'm in the Higher Education Town which is quite far from the Old City that is famous for all its gardens and canals.
In the taxi on our way here it seemed like we were on the same street for 30 minutes and the landscape never changed.. and it's really foggy from the humidity/cold/pollution...
And there are only non english speaking chinese people !! haha
The appartments are nice & clean ! And we just got the heater to work :)
The mattresses are VERY hard though !!
Some of the food looks familiar in the grocery store !
I arrived in Suzhou, China on Sunday after a loooong flight !
My school in France, SKEMA, has a campus here so I will be studying in Suzhou's Higher Education Town for 4 months. The most challenging will be to learn the language as I only know how to say "Nihao" which means Hello and I probably don't even use the right tones !
Anyway.. I'll try to write on a regular basis ! I found a software that allows me to log on to the internet without any restrictions... hopefully it will work during my entire stay ! I'll talk about my experience here, what I see, do, learn... taste.. and who knows what else :)