Tag Archives: Jiangsu Province

Suzhou – Master of the Net Garden

netgardenAfter spending a few hours at Lingering Garden, the kids and I called a taxi and headed to Master of the Net Garden. Known as Wangshi Yuan in Chinese, this garden dates back to 1140. It was completely remodeled in 1770 and for many people, and most tourist books we have read, they claim it to be one of the finest of all Suzhou’s gardens.

Although small, it succeeds, with great subtly, in introducing every element consider crucial to the classical garden. It included a little lake in the center, discreet connecting corridors and pavilions with neatly decorated courtyards with flowers and rocks. This garden was Briana’s favorite by far. She just loved it.

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Suzhou – Lingering Garden

lingeringgardenWhat a day to wake up to! Sunny, little haze, low humidity and warm… a perfect day to go visit some gardens. There are quite a few gardens here in Suzhou. So many, I doubt we will get through all of them by the time we head home in two weeks. We did know we needed to for sure visit the Liu Lingering ‘Liu Yuan’ and Master of the Nets gardens. Both are claimed to be the best in gardens.

Remember back when we went to Humble Administrator’s Garden in September last year, I told you I would let you know if Humble was all it was touted at being. Well, Humble shies in comparison to the two we visited today. Easily… Master of the Net is perfection in a tiny package and Lingering was simply gorgeous–my favorite personal favorite. Since we have two major trips planned before leaving, Mike did not have the time to take off to spend with us visiting the gardens, so you will see mainly the kids. As usual, the gardens are best viewed during the week when attendance is low…

Lingering offered more than just garden views. We enjoyed a lady playing the Sheng, two people playing instruments and storytelling and a tiny opera performance. It was so darn neat! Loved every minute at this garden. Sheng is the oldest reed instrument in China. It’s the earliest music instrument using free reed in the world. This gal performed in one of the pavilions…

Suzhou Storytelling and Ballad Singing is sort of a folk art originated in Suzhou in ancient times. Performed by two people, sometimes telling and sometimes signing. Accompanying musical instruments are Pi-pa and the Chinese Tricord…

In China, there are many kinds of opera, including Beijing Opera; all are nurtured from Kunqu Opera. Kunqu Opera, “the Ancestor of Chinese Traditional Operas”, is one of the oldest operas still existing in Modern China today. It originated over 600 years ago…

Fun videos, huh? So different than what we see in the US. Here are the photos from Lingering Garden…

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Wuxi – Lingshan Buddhist Scenic Area

lingshandafoAs most of you know, Mike received his license last year and has been driving around town for months now. All the driving has developed a large amount of courage in his ability to drive beyond Suzhou. Already having drove to a nearby city of Changshu, Mike was ready to travel farther.

I had found an article in an Expat magazine about a Buddhist-styled theme park north in Wuxi. Since it touts as having one of the tallest Sakyamunis in the world, we just had to go. Located in the Maji Mountain area, the park was nicely thoughtout with the tallest mountain behind the Grand Buddha, hills on the side with the view of Lake Tai (where the gardens in Suzhou attained their rocks-you have seen them in past garden posts). The Buddha was erected near the 1000 year old temple of Xiangfu, where many come during the Spring Festival to hear its bell rings for luck in the following year. The Buddha (Da Fo) is made of tin and copper and weighs over 700 tons. Standing over 100 feet taller than our own Statue of Liberty, this Buddha leaves an impression. On its left hand is the symbol called “Shi Wu Wei” with its intent to reduce suffering in the world, the right hand has the “Yu Yuan” symbol for happiness and the chest has the ancient symbol of solemnity and virtue.

Interestingly, this place was built by Japanese investors in 1997. In the recent years, the overdone, elaborate palace was built. We were in shock as we cruised through it. It was way beyond anything enlightened, i.e. humble, mild and meek. It was over-the-top; beautiful & tacky. We spent most of the day here. Mike only took one wrong turn, that paid off for us… we found all the strawberry farmers. They were super sweet and juicy. We ate one large bowl on the way there and purchased three more on the way home. Yummy!

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Suzhou – Kids Enjoying a China Spring

Thought we would get out and take a few photos while the flowers are still on all the trees and bushes. Springtime in Suzhou is amazingly colorful. The kids let me take a few of them.

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Suzhou – Tiger Hill on Chinese New Year’s Day…

Tiger Hill

Briana and Mike…

My goal for Chinese New Year was to find a place where dragon and lion dancing was being presented. According to the local Expat magazine, Tiger Hill was one of the places in Suzhou on New Year’s Day this was to happen. So we packed up the company car and Mike drove us to Tiger Hill for the festives. Unfortunately, there were no dancing. All we found was massive photo happy people. As you will see in the photos, Mike and Briana were used for numerous photo ops. There were so many that day, I think I deleted over 20 photos I took of them. I did leave a few in the pictures below. They did get a bit out of hand and really upset Briana because they were starting to use her as an object, no longer being seen as a person. She was mentally and physically drained from this day out. I finally had to put on my protective mommy look and hold her close so no one would come and grab at her any longer. It worked, thank goodness.

Tiger Hill is an area you can see from a lot of Suzhou. It is a popular destination for locals and tourists due to its age and the mystery surrounding the Sword Pool. According to Historical Records, King Helu was buried under the Sword Pool, and upon his burial is over 3000 swords. The legend goes that three days after his burial a white tiger appeared squatting the hill, thus the name Tiger Hill. The site has not been excavated because above the pool and potential burial is the Leaning Yunyan Pagoda. It is seven stories height with a lean and predates the the Tower of Pisa. If excavation were to take place, the pagoda would tumble. As we could see, it is hanging on by a thread anyway. Here is a little video of a few things we did for the day…

And the following are the photos.

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