The title of this article rhymes, if you say it right. I’m finding it a lot easier to get around in China with my little bit of Chinese. Just the small matter of knowing how to pronounce the name of a place when buying train tickets to that place saves me a lot of time miming and staring at puzzled faces.

I didn’t write anything yesterday, mainly because I didn’t do a lot of photography. The day was devoted to recovering from the last couple of days of strenuous activity and body-clock adjusting. Dad and I took a river cruise to see Shanghai from a different perspective. The amount of development evident in the city is astounding. There’s a neverending stream of barges heading up-river, carrying loads of construction materials. At any time, and in every direction, there seem to be dozens of skyscrapers under construction. In the run-up to the 2010 Expo, Shanghai is fully caught up in a frenzy of transformation.

In the evening, we got dinner and massages, which is probably about the best way you could spend an evening. After the very vigorous massage, I feel ready to tackle the rest of the country.

This morning, we checked out of the hostel and taxied to the train station. The high-speed train to Suzhou was a snap, taking about half an hour. Suzhou is one of many canal towns in this region. I use the word “town” lightly, as there are almost 6 million people living here. Considering Shanghai’s ballooning population of 19 million, it’s all relative, really.

The hostel is charmingly located on the edge of a canal, along a pedestrian street of renovated Ming Dynasty buildings. It’s been renovated, and has plenty of character, although some things don’t work. Some of the fancy light fixtures in here remain stubbornly dark when you flick the switch.

I took a few photos around the neighbourhood around dusk, and then later on in the evening. The town is pretty lively. There was some sort of dance warmup or rally in front of one of the local businesses. That’s a pretty cool marketing trick!

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