China Day 21 (WuXi-Suzhou)
Another early morning. Today we got up early and brought down our luggage as we would be going to Suzhou today. Before we went to Suzhou, we went to a garden in WuXi. Joe said that WuXi was famous for its gardens and after having seen this garden I could see where he was coming from. After we had went to the garden we were on our way to Suzhou. It was about a two hour ride and so I took that time to read more of my book. When we arrived in Suzhou, we went to Tiger Hill. This was an old Buddhist place of worship that was, again, now open to the public. Joe explained to use the differences between Indian Buddhism and Chinese Buddhism. I was unaware of this, but apparently the Buddha that we think of in America is actually the Chinese version of Buddha. The Indian version, apparently, is much more slim. Also, in China the main color of Buddhism is yellow and this is also different from Indian Buddhism. This place was absolutely breathtaking. I found it to be quite tranquil, despite the amount of people there. I think that if there is a God, it's much easier to find that entity in a place like this than in the dull enclosement of a Church. At the top of Tiger Hill there is a very tall Pagoda. As we reached the top of the Pagoda it became evident to us that it was leaning heavily to the right. This was an engineering design by the Ancient Chinese that helped ensure the structure's integrity due to the landscape upon which it was located. Joe was also telling us that under this Pagoda was the tomb of an ancient Chinese emperor, along with several other Chinese workers and quite the loot. He told us that they had not excavated it yet because they wanted to make sure that they did it right to ensure that the relics could be taken out without being damaged while also making sure that excavating it did not effect the integrity of the pagoda. Joe also said that the reason that this place was called Tiger Hill is because when the Chinese arrived to the top of the hill they saw a tiger sleeping. We did quite a bit in Suzhou, but my favorite part I think was the late night boat ride. When we arrived to the place where we took this boat ride, I kind of felt that it reflected more of Italy than it did China. It was a beautiful night outside, especially because Suzhou was a smaller city and did not have the pollution problems that were evident in Beijing and Tianjin. In the night, the streets on the sides of the river were lit all the way across with Chinese lanterns. A breathtaking site. We boarded the boat and we took a cruise down the river. During the cruise we got to see some very cool architecture and beautiful lights of these streets of Suzhou. Our group took quite a few photo's. After all of this we went back to the hotel. Tomorrow, Hangzhou!