Images of Suzhou
Exhaustion. I slept about 3 hours last night. Today we woke up at 6:00AM to catch a train to the town of Suzhou, two hours away from Nanjing. Once we arrived, we walked to the "The Humble Administrator's Garden" (that's a translation which I'm not sure translates well. I also heard it called "The Unsuccessful Politician's Garden". Either way, I am pretty sure the name is a Taoist reference.) which was originally built in 1509 during the Ming Dynasty. It was nice, and it was a good place for me to continue getting used to my Nikon D80 that I recently purchased. Afterward we had some more crazy Chinese food. Some of it was OK, but once again everything resembled what it was when it was living. The tofu, mushrooms and rice were great. China is making me a vegetarian.
Next we went to the new I.M. Pei designed museum (this is his hometown). I wasn't crazy about the architecture. It's a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Chinese courtyard, and while there were a few nice moments, overall it bored me. And I got lost coming out of the bathroom, the circulation is a bit unclear. The art was a little repetitive, but in the cafe I saw a really cool coffee maker (should have taken a picture) that I had never seen and I want to try to find one to buy. It looked like something from a laboratory, and the coffee was fantastic.
Left the museum and just wandered the streets taking photographs. Old Chinese people have the greatest faces. I wanted to photograph every one of them that I saw, but a lot of their great faces were giving me weird looks. Walked down side streets and wondered why there were so many hot, slutty looking girls working in barber shops and foot massage clinics. Also wondered why they wanted to cut my hair and massage my feet so badly. Found out they were whorehouses and everything made a lot more sense.
Then we hired a bike taxi and had him pedal us to the Buddhist Pagoda/monastery/temple. SN and I rode and I shot a lot of video, it's amazing what you can get in China just by pushing the record button. He told us 20 yuan ($2.61) but we knew how hard he worked pedaling two Americans in the heat and decided to give him 70 yuan ($9.15). Seven bucks between the two of us totally made this guys day and that felt good. I'm pretty sure this is what people with too much time and boring conversation refer to as "Paying it forward". Anyway, I totally paid it forward for my first time.
Once at the Pagoda, we ascended the steep spiraling staircase up the 15 (or so) levels. The views were beautiful, but climbing up and then down took whatever energy I had left out of me. As you ascend the concrete openings you walk through get smaller. I had just snapped a photo of the sign that read: Lookout, Knock Head, when I walked through the opening without looking out, and totally knocked head. When I got to the bottom of the pagoda, I walked through the monastery and saw some monks meditating and some large awesome looking Buddhas. I thought that if I was anything I would probably be a Buddhist, but then I thought that they get up early and I am not much of a morning person and decided that i won't be Buddhist after all.
Got back on the train and had two warm Budweiser's and shot some video out the window. I realized that Donovan lyrics had been in my head all day, so I listened to some on the iPod. Remembered that Donovan was Buddhist and figured out why the lyrics were in my head. After Donovan, I had Bikini Kill lyrics stuck in my head. So I listened to that and figure that those lyrics were probably there because the men are dicks to the women in this country and the women are mostly super submissive. They need some Riot Girls here.