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Dumplings or buns?

As it is almost the weekend and I am starting to get a little peckish, I thought I’d share what I have learned so far about dumplings (jiǎozi) and steamed buns (bāozi), other than the fact that they are very tasty when you get good ones.


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Venice of the East

When I visited Suzhou earlier this year, with the aim of putting my stamp of approval on the whole ‘moving to China’ project, I thought calling the place the ‘Venice of the East’ was a bit of a stretch. As I was only here for a week and spent most of it either tired, overwhelmed or looking at shopping malls or supermarkets (don’t ask), not much sightseeing was accomplished.

One day last week as I was walking around the old town (well I was at stop two of my ‘let’s get off at every metro station, look around and if it looks anyway decent, go for a wander’ game), I found this tiny little old street called ‘Ping Jiang Lu’ (Lu meaning road) which ran along a narrow canal with some lovely arch bridges. I quickly realized that this street is probably in every guide book (obviously we didn’t have one the last time…) but I didn’t care because it was very nice and I was beginning to get on board with the whole ‘Venice of the East’ thing.

Ping Jiang Lu

The ancient cobblestone road is aligned with trees, cafes, some of the oldest tea houses in this area, and my favorite, a few small shops selling cards and paper goods.

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Suzhou Metro

I had the pleasure to try out the new Suzhou metro line 1 this week, the first of the planned four lines which opened at the end April this year (line 2 contruction is planned to be completed by 2014 – will I be here to witness it, who knows…). The design is pretty much identical to the Shanghai metro and very easy to navigate. Tickets range from 2-6 RMB ($0.30/€0.25 – $0.94/€0.76), my ride being just 2 RMB!

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Hello China!

Woke up in China this morning! Is there a song about that? Opened my eyes at 6.30am and the first thing I could think of was breakfast. Felt pretty peckish and considering I missed last night’s dinner thought it was appropriate to get up and avail of my breakfast coupon. Lots of people in the breakfast room at 7am (they’re probably all Californians). A buffet style breakfast is laid out with different kinds of chicken, fried noodles, fried rice, potatoes etc. Exactly what my confused body is craving. I skip the noodle soups (too hungry) and the European style breads. I do however add some steamed buns to my plate, some sushi and some lychees. I am a happy camper.