We met up with our van and our guide, Rocky, at 9:00 to drive to Suzhou (pronounced Sue-Joe) and Tongli (a water town – the “Venice of the East”). It was about an hour and a half drive to Suzhou. Not so much traffic today as it’s Sunday. And the skies are pretty clear and sunny.
Our first stop in Suzhou was the Garden of the Master of the Fishing Nets. This garden was begun as early as 1140 AD, but had fallen into disrepair when it was overhauled in 1785, and it’s bones remain about the same as then, although it has been “improved” by each subsequent owner.
The first stop this morning was going to be the Shanghai Museum, but when the driver pulled up, the line to get in was miles long, so we went to the Jinmao Tower first instead. It’s in the Pudong area on the east side of the river. The van went under a really long tunnel under the Huangpu River to get there. Not crowded and the day was clear – probably the best day we’ve had. Jinmao Tower is designed as a modern adaptation of a traditional Chinese pagoda. It has 13 distinct tapering segments, with high-tech steel bands binding the glass like an exoskeleton. We zipped up to the 88th floor on a very fast elevator (45 seconds to the top) – my ears popped a couple of times. The view from the top is pretty spectacular. Continue reading