Friday 25th September
Up and out late, another nice brekky in the garden before heading to the station, where I realised I'd left washing on the line DOH!! So while Ad was booking our train tickets I wizzed back in a cab to get my clothes, crazy, but great timing, he had just purchased the tickets when I got back YIPEE. I was well impressed with myself for making the cab driver understand to wait while I came back and take me back to the same station. Otherwise I could have ended up at the wrong station and what a pickle that would have been.
Not so great, the tickets were for tomorrow, but we wanted to get the next train in 15mins DOH!!, luckily Ad managed to get them changed, but we had to wait for the next train now, only an hour away NOT SO BAD!!
Got to Shanghai quickly, but was at the wrong station to go to Suzhou, so had to underground to Shanghai central station, didn't take too long and before we knew it we were on our way. A Chinese guy was chatting to Ad for most the journey, but I feeling a wee bit tired, might have come across unsociable but just chilled and caught up with my diary. He seemed a nice guy and was handy cos he told us when we needed to get off. Took a little longer than expected but was ok.
On arrival, we decided to book our tickets now to go back to Shanghai tomorrow cos we needed to be back there ready for our flights the following day, so it just made sense to get them now instead of worrying about getting them tomorrow.
The cab journey was long enough not to walk but not too far and it dropped us at the end of a canel, all lit up now it was getting dark and we were told to walk down as the taxis were not allowed to drive that way. It was beautiful, a little like one of the area's in Venice, so cute and the hostel was situated right on the edge of the canel, perfect, I now wished we had longer than one night here.
Although the reception lady seemed a bit stressed that we were late, there was still plenty of room and the beds were very nice and comfortable. Dumped our bags quick and went out to see as much as possible as this would be our only night here. On our way to the town we smelled that awful smell a bit like a pigs farm and realised that it was Tofu cooking - Ad wanted to try some and said it tasted better than it smelled, but I will have to disagree, it tasted fowl to me.
Wandered into the main town, full of restaurants and shops, decided to have dinner in one that looked a bit like a BBQ place, the menus were not in english and there was very few pictures, but the waiter was pointing at one that seemed reasonably priced and doing the thumbs up sign, so we decided to give it a go. To this day we do not know what meat was on top, but the very large bowl we was given was covered in this meat and underneath was heaps of fried slices of potatoe, which tasted delicious and tones of veg, it was scrumptious. So filling though and just when we thought we were done, they took the remaining meat on bones out and filled the bowl with hot water and made the dish into a hot pot. WOW it was a struggle but we did manage to eat a tiny bit more. Was hillarious, they gave us gloves to eat the meat with cos it was soooooo greesy, was kinda strange to eat it that way and we still got in a mess te he.
With full bellies, we decided to head back to the hostel. On our way through the small quiet streets we came across a building, which at first glance looked a bit like a hotel, but it was surrounded by young teenagers, so we thought maybe it was a club. As we got closer we noticed that it had a proper reception desk (like a hotel) so thought perhaps it was a theatre or concert or something. Went in to investigate. The reception staff couldn't speak english and we couldn't understand what they were telling us. There were pic's all around of people singing, so we kinda wondered if it was a big Kareoke bar and headed upstairs to find out. A few waiters were walking around and all we could see were corridoors with doors all around, then we realised it was a huge Kareoke place with heaps of booths where you can go and sing with your friends. It was imaculate - the cleanest place I have seen yet.
At 30p for three hours we couldn't resist, so away we went to our very own booth, which had everything in english to and there we sang our hearts out for three hours, it was brilliant and so much fun. Good job no-one could hear us really, but we had hours of fun and at 2am we were surprised at how quickily those 3 hours had passed. Such a giggle, would be up for doing it again, but do not feel it would be fair to do it in front of other people te he.
Saturday 26th September
Left our bags at reception while we went to explore, don't need to catch the train until 6pm, so most the day at hand. Our canel was the best area, but we did find a gorgeous little temple, which to be honest, didn't look like much from the outside, but once you got into the grounds, it unravelled a whole new world, a lot more land than we expected. Little rocky areas, with caves going through, tidy little gardens and a farely large pond, many temples within, such a nice little discovery.
We chose to take a little boat trip, was really nice, the lady who took us, even sang a little song to us, was really sweet, VERY ROMANTIC ARRRHHHH!!
Found a nice little restaurant, which looked busy - GOOD SIGN, no english menu so pointed to a couple of cheap priced meals and hoped for the best, was a surprise to see what we get. Not a bad choice, a plate of noodles came out with onion and meat and a plate of very boney, but very tasty fish mmmmmmmmmmmm
Pet shop next door caught our attention for a bit, lots of dogs and cats, Ad spent a while playing with a golden retriever sooooo cute.
Next stop was the Suzhou museum, got asked to have a photo with someone's parents, was kinda odd. The museum was ok, lots of pottery, artifacts etc. The pond outside was really nice, sat on the pavillion for a bit dangelling our feet over the pond and watching the fish and a terrapin go by.
Didn't really have time for much else, looked around the market on the way back, saw a guy sculpting the faces of this couple out of clay, was a really skill amazing to watch and it looked just like them, wish we had more time to get one done of us, maybe some other place.
Grabbed our bags and even though it took a while to grab a cab, we got to our train in plenty of time. Back to Shanghai - check the Shanghai section on this blog.