I posted about the trees that bloomed at the start of spring. Here are some non-tree flowers that came along subsequently. I’m astonished at the beauty and variety! There are roses, irises, lotuses, and many kinds I don’t know the names of. It’s so good to be able to walk around and just look at this stuff. There’s a lot to see.
Every place is a place, and connecting places, there are roads. Along the roads, there are trees, plants, buildings, bridges, lights, power lines, signs, and maybe animals. There are millions of combinations of things you can see out the window of a car. And if you’re not driving, you can take photos. Which is what I did on the road to Suzhou.
My boyfriend Siqi drove us to Suzhou for a short vacation when we had a long weekend for the Dragon Boat Festival national holiday here in China. Suzhou is famous for “Venice-like” water towns, ancient residential complexes with exquisitely landscaped courtyard gardens, and the city museum adjacent to the city’s most famous garden.
We didn’t plan very far in advance—in fact, we didn’t plan much at all—but we still enjoyed our time. The main tourist sites were completely booked and/or full of people, but we were lucky with the weather, and were able to amuse ourselves just fine by walking around in the historic district. Now that we’re more familiar with Suzhou’s geography, we know where to go when we go back, which is easy to do since Suzhou is just next door to Hangzhou.
I took photos mainly of:
- modern infrastructure on the highway (see separate post: The Road to Suzhou)
- new and old Suzhou buildings, including shops and their wares (see below),
- a few signs with amusing English (see separate post: Suzhou Signs),
- a Taoist temple (see separate post: The Xuan Miao Temple),
- Lake Tai (see separate post: Glimpse of Taihu).
A friend wanted to have dinner by the river. After some deliberation, we identified a place called Blue Mountain Café (Lanshan Café) that suited our purpose. Below are the photos we took after dinner, from both sides of the river.
The Zhejiang Lab campus is impressive, not least because a veritable army of gardeners is employed to look after the enormous variety of trees, bushes, grass, and flowers. I appreciate their work daily on my short walk to the main building, and during lunchtime strolls, which take me and my colleagues in different directions on different days.
This post features flowering trees. Some are cherry blossom (sakura), but mostly I don’t know what kind of trees they are; kinda wish I did.
I arrived in Hangzhou in winter with a pair of breathable sneakers suited to the summery weather in Singapore, a pair of somewhat worn but comfortable heeled leather office shoes, and two other pairs of office shoes, one of which broke and the other of which didn’t fit as well as I thought. Since arriving, I’d acquired a pair of casual leather boots, but they didn’t fit me as well as I thought either. So Siqi took me shoe shopping.
There’s a fantastic underground outlet mall at a place called City Balcony, near the spherical Intercontinental Hotel and Hangzhou Grand Theater in Qianjiang New Town in Hangzhou. After thoroughly exploring the mall, we were blessed by the shoe gods with no fewer than four well-fitting pairs of shoes, one from Hush Puppies and three from Columbia; two for me and two for him. (Also, I took down the product number of another pair I wanted to buy from Hush Puppies, and bought those later, when the weather got warmer.)
By the time we finished our subterranean shopping, it was night. We emerged and enjoyed the lights across the river:
My boyfriend Siqi and I took his parents to Xi Hu (Hangzhou’s famous West Lake) to see the scenery. We walked around and also took a boat ride across. We saw the famous “three pools mirroring the moon”. Kinda.
I like mountains better than lakes, but the sky over the lake was gorgeous when the sun started going down! I’ve selected the best few photos out of the many many many I took.