We slept in a little this morning before leaving for the Shanghai airport to fly to Hong Kong. Pam and Sandra went shopping – man, they are energetic! We used to the time to repack and get a little organized. We all met Rocky at 11:30 for the ride to the airport. Got there in jig time, but took forever at the ticket counter, as line was miles long. Going through security, Pam was stopped with fingernail polish in her carry-on. Even though less than 2 oz I guess this is a no-no. She elected to have them retrieve her checked bag, rather than throw it out. Our flight ended up being delayed and so she had no problem getting there in time. We didn’t land in Hong Kong until 4:30.
William was our Hong Kong guide. The van (more like a small bus) ride ended up being another traffic jam nightmare. Apparently, a neon sign was going up on a high-rise building in downtown Hong Kong when the workmen dropped one end. The police then cordoned off the street, which just happens to be the main thoroughfare into town and where we have to go. We arrived at the Kowloon Shangri-La around 7:00. Two and a half hours!
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.
My sore throat is worse today – definitely a cold. And I sound like I have a cold – no hiding it now. I don’t think folks are too happy about it, although no one is saying anything.
Another fantastic breakfast at the Ritz-Carlton. Love some of the pastries, especially the croissants. The van picked us up at 8:30 for an early start.
This driver makes me really nervous. We all think he’s a maniac. Very aggressive in intersections, which are chaotic to begin with. This is a picture at one of the Beijing intersections. I had claimed the front seat of the van as I tend to get car-sick. Sometimes being in front is not an advantage, as I could actually see what was going on – pretty scary at times! Continue reading