SUZHOU, DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL: Day 168, Tuesday June 03 2014

Nothing opened before 10:00! Had the worst time trying to find breakfast. Ended up finding refuge at the golden retriever restaurant where we ordered sandwiches on home made brown bread with sausages on the side. Delicious!

The man in charge of the restaurant was very helpful at giving directions. Sonya had recommended a dress street for me to check out and try on wedding dresses, so we asked for a bus route there.

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The dresses were close to a park called “Tiger Hill” that apparently “those who go to Suzhou and don’t visit this park will regret it”. We went there first, (after one stop to far on the bus, and a walk back along a very busy road).

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I had been flipping through the guide book trying to figure out how to fit in everything I wanted to see, when Nate stopped me. “This is our valentines day, lets just enjoy it.” (I had given him a travel IOU back in February, which he totally topped 100 times over with his proposal), so I stopped trying to cram in extras and took in the sights instead.

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The big sight in the park was a crooked tower called Cloud Rock Pagoda, and nicknamed “China’s Leaning Tower of Pisa”.

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We found ourselves sitting on rocks in the middle of a pond, while not far away a beautiful little spring bubbled up from within a cave and flowed into a river.

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Moving on we ended up sipping lavender tea in tea house.

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The dress street began at the park exit. We spent a good two hours poking through them.

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Most of them were ridiculously pouffy and made of cheep material. They didn’t have big enough sizes of the Chinese style dresses for me, so every time I tried to cram myself into them I looked awful. At one store I had three woman all trying to squeeze my butt into a dress! Fishtail dresses looked horrible, lace ones looked worse.

We ended up looking for lunch in that awkward time of the day between lunch and dinner when everything closes down. We made reservations at a Thai restaurant and went back to the hostel to change while we waited for it to re-open. We were going on a boat ride, and wanted to prepare for potential bugs.

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Pad Thai for dinner was delicious. Nate and I are talking about traveling Thailand when our contracts done, and eating Thai food made me super excited.

Back to the subway we headed for old town. The day had grown dark and lights now decorated the parks and pavilions along the water’s edge.

There were massive crowds of ladies dancing in the parks. It was quite peaceful and our boat was practically empty. Believing we were doing a loop we were surprised when our boat turned around, docked, and let on more passengers! We’re not sure if we got a bonus tour or they got a shorter one!

There was Chinese commentary going out along the water, and then Pingtian music performed live on the way back. The music was much quieter then the beijing opera had been and much more pleasant to listen to.

We tried to go to “Times Square”, thinking we could get a drink or something to eat, but at 10:00 pm everything was already closed. We walked back to our hostel from there, and happened upon a massage place! Best massages yet!

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