Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wild and Crazy Parents


You know you have stayed in too many hotels when you get off on the wrong floor and try to open someone else’s door, then are angry because it won’t open.

The four of us had a wild and crazy evening dancing and singing karaoke for 3 hours in our own private little room and stopping only when we had exhausted all the English songs we could recognize. It was a spur of the moment, “let’s check it out” action that took us down the hall of a nondescript entry, up to the fifth floor of a Chinese KTV (karaoke) place with probably 50 little rooms. I think we blasted them out with our American singing as we kept seeing the Chinese guard looking in the window of our door. Obviously Chinese parents do not frequent karaoke places, or at least not this one, as all the other customers were in their 20’s.

This was a perfect ending to a day that started in Yangzhou and ended in Shanghai.
The breakfast buffet at the HG Metropole Hotel offered a delicious blend of Chinese and Western selections, the pastries especially were the best. Leaving Yangzhou, we headed on the highway toward Shanghai, but detouring through Suzhou. Known as the “Venice of Asia”, its canals wind through the city with homes along its edges. We were surprised at how much this city has changed since we last visited 10 years ago. Gone are the quaint old houses along the canals, replaced by new multistory apartments. Huge clusters of high rise apartments house thousands of factory workers in community like settings. Many such clusters can be found both within and on the outskirts of Suzhou. So much growth and change in such a short period of time made it completely unrecognizable to us. Where are the narrowing winding alleys and traditional courtyard homes? Where is the old Suzhou city with its unique character and flavor? Erased forever, they exist only in our memories and in the videos and photographs that we had taken.

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