maanantai 27. heinäkuuta 2009


I joined a group of Chinese colleagues to a trip to Suzhou (about 160 km from Shanghai, if I am not mistaken). First of all, I had never been to Suzhou. And secondly, I would have taken ANY excuse that would take me away from the exam materials I should have been reading. As a matter a fact. I should be reading the right now...

The trip was overnight, but I chickened out from the over-night part. When you get a return bus-trip (Changshu-Suzhou-Changshu), meals, water park entrance, other park entrance (70 CNY) and a hotel altogether only 300 CNY's (30 euros), something has to be wrong. Or not wrong, but just... you know: when something sounds too good (too cheap) to be true, it usually is. And, I really, really had to study. So I joined with a separate car from Shanghai for the first day.

Water Park was on the menu, and what a day it was for it! Sun was shining from blue sky, and all was well in the world. Well not really, as that was the day J. went back to Finland, but considering the circumstances.

I mainly hanged out with my colleague and his wife, since the rest of the ladies where not really that talkative in English. Big surprise there, not something I anticipated at all. No, because that's just what always seems to happen: everyone speaks Chinese, no matter there is someone who can only guess 50 % of what is being said and is unable to say anything at all :o)

Well, it's partly my fault, I have no problem practicing with people a) I don't know at all b) I know well, but not with people I sort of know but not really. Thankfully I have a great colleague who has a great wife. One of the kids was very interested in me: he kept poking my feet and stared at me mischievously. At the age of 7 he might not have seen that many laowais yet.

But even he forgot me when they got down to the business: splashing and running and jumping in the water.

That big cone-looking thing was a good one!

Can you find an error in the photo? No? Don't worry, there isn't one. But there could have been, have I not been warned in beforehand that bikini isn't really what Chinese ladies wear when they go swimming. They were something to cover their buttocks and their bellies. I didn't have a swim wear that fulfilled those conditions, so I needed a new one. I had about 10 minutes to get it, so I doubt I will ever wear it again. Except, of course, if I try the Shanghai water park, which, I was told, is so much bigger and fancier, but like, crazily expensive. I have no way of guessing how expensive that is. Anyway, I did see one (out of couple of hundred?) yong lady with a bikini in that park, and noone seemed to discriminate her, so maybe I would have been ok in a bikini. Then again, I rose enough attention just by being a foreigner...

It was an ok park, with three bigger slides, wave poold, childrens climing/splashing pool, a river, showers, actual swimming pool and what not. But by noon it was... crowded. Again, totally unanticipated event in China, but that's just what happened. There was a separate "spa" section that required additional 20 RMBs to enter, but provided about 20 small pools: one with rose pedals, another one was filled with milk, another had lemon (essance?) in the water, another was with dead sea effect (salty, makes you float) another with rose wine, and so forth. It was nice: peaceful, only a handful of people, and some contemporary, western music on the background.

And then there was a pool with small fish, which eats the dead skin from your feet. Or any other part of you, depending what you offer them. First few fish come a have a try. Once they have concluded it is all ok, they come by hundreds. I guess. Oh lord. You could not help but laugh, so much did it tickle. I sat there for 4 songs (I didn't have a watch, so I had to measure time by songs) and only then I started to get used to it. I still giggled by myself, but at that point I was able to keep my feet steady. I don't know how much good it did, pedicure-wise, but it was such a good laugh, that I would absolutely recommend it to anyone.

Now, would I go back to Suzhou for this? Maybe not, as there is suppose to be a better one right here in Shanghai. But it was a nice day and a nice experience. And I am definitely going back to Suzhou for... the wedding district. No, not getting married, but they make the most gorgeous dresses there, for any party, and they say a fancy wedding gown only costs you about 60-100 euros. So a more simple party-dress should really be affordable... I'll keep you posted on that.

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