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Author Topic: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou  (Read 6372 times)

Raoul F. Duke

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An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« on: April 17, 2007, 05:08:31 PM »
I LIVE IN SUCH A WONDERFUL PLACE!    

I had a little time Sunday late afternoon...my last free day before starting a pretty heavy teaching schedule on Monday. A school I'd subbed for owed me a couple hundred, so I decided to go collect it. It was a glorious crisp sunny fall afternoon, so I decided to walk it. I'm glad I took the camera...one of the most beautiful walks I've ever had!

First, out through the apartment complex that houses El Nuevo Rancho Raoul. I'll try to get more photos here that do this place justice....



We have Moon Doors!


Then, down the main street, which quickly turns into the famous Guan Qin Jie shopping/walking area, which was a TOTAL madhouse with the nice weather...


It was all so nice I even decided to walk back. Coming back, I saw a street that had long intrigued me, and having nothing pressing I decided to walk down it and see where it went.

It was mostly a long tube of a street...and endless stream of grubby little shops facing huge blocks of decrepit-looking apartments. Only small paths turned off the street I was on, twisting their way up among the apartments. But I could see that in the distance the road ended in a 'T'.

As I neared the T, the buildings got older and cooler...


Finally, at the T, I found myself in Old Suzhou! I was stunned...amazed at where I suddenly was. The cool thing is that this apparently is NOT a tourist development of some kind...it's a neighborhood. People are living here. It was clean, green, and quiet...only the gurgle of the water, bike chains, and occasional quiet conversation broke the silence. And almost no trash or litter anywhere...





Palm trees and pomegranates. The area was loaded with pomegranate trees heavy with fruit...


Beautiful but empty...


The only concession to tourism I saw here was the occasional canal boat. These are always piloted by women, who sing old, old rowing songs as you travel the canals...


This lovely place went all the way to next to my house, emptying onto the street where I live, seen here.


And finally a duck into the night veggie market for some taters...still had sour cream left!


Ah, I do love this town. It's full of little treasures like this...
« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 04:27:37 PM by Raoul Duke »
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2007, 05:16:00 PM »
Exactly!

Meanwhile, a few more pics...

These are more from my apartment complex. This is the view from one of my windows (Laundry World)...


We have stone lions: don't mess with us.


Out on the street. This couple make the best flatbread you'll ever eat! It's flavored with a little green onion. First it's cooked in some kind of oily substance on a griddle, then placed inside the oven/barrel UNDER the griddle and baked a bit. Absolute heaven if you get it fresh and hot...


Back to the cool old neighborhood. I found out a bit more from a plaque seen near my street...apparently at least part of this area is accounted for by the presence of an old "Charity House" ("Suzhou #104 Official Preserved Building"), which I guess was a combination of orphanage, women's shelter, soup kitchen, and YMCA. Also, some of the pretty wooden buildings had work crews inside, but whether they were just finishing emptiness, building some kind of facility or business, or surreptitiously creating an illegal knockoff shoe factory, I have no idea.

This is actually garbage collection, Suzhou style...


Is it less picturesque if the boat is a garbage scow?




Yer basic concrete boats. If you haven't been to China yet, yes, you ARE reading that correctly...
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

cheekygal

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2007, 06:13:00 AM »
Looks really nice. Now I really want to visit. Just don't know when I can do so  alalalalal

AMonk

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2007, 06:31:42 AM »
Looks like a Great place to hang your hat......Lucky you!!
Moderation....in most things...

Lone Traveller

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2007, 12:54:43 PM »
Amazing photos Raoul.
Courage is not the absense of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.

teleplayer

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2007, 03:59:41 PM »
Glad to see you brought this over from the old site, Raoul. Loved it then and have enjoyed seeing it yet again.
 Those ferrous cement boats defy what most of us think as concrete. Yet, for large sailboats this was a somewhat popular medium world-wide back in 60s and 70s. I do know I want to non only see those canals, I want to take the boat ride.
Do you know anyone living on house boat/barge?

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2007, 04:19:38 PM »
Thanks, all...

Nope, don't know anyone living on houseboats here. They don't buy many English classes...

I've often thought it would be way cool to live on a houseboat here...refit a freighter or something.

My first apartment upon returning to Suzhou was near the point where a lot of the boat people would tie up for the night. Interesting to see them washing their hair in the virulently polluted and vile canal water, and so forth. Water for showering and stuff would be something of a challenge...
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

teleplayer

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2007, 05:25:28 PM »
Thanks, all...


My first apartment upon returning to Suzhou was near the point where a lot of the boat people would tie up for the night. Interesting to see them washing their hair in the virulently polluted and vile canal water, and so forth. Water for showering and stuff would be something of a challenge...

Silly me. I forget that dock Services like power, water, and sanitation,  when they do exist, are based on location and, I'm sure, da guanxi,  and lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$$.  That brick house on that floating barge from last May's party pics looked like a "cool" option. Oh well, better to have my vision set aright.

Lone Traveller

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2007, 05:08:03 AM »
The boats are cement???
Courage is not the absense of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2007, 03:17:03 PM »
Sho'nuff. Come let me show you!
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Lone Traveller

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Re: An Autumn Afternoon's Walk in Suzhou
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2007, 03:27:17 AM »
Intriguing.
Courage is not the absense of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.