We began our day with a 7am wake up call, and took a two-hour bus ride to Water Country (Suzhou). It was a small simple village surrounded by a pond. We were suddenly hit by a monsoon of sound, created by hundreds of tree cicadas. The neighboring crickets, in their hexagonal cages, joined the cicadas to create a melodious symphony. We then ventured into the Humble Administrator’s Garden to find an environment so serene and breathtaking. The juxtaposition of the opposites, like land and water, were very apparent to those who had taken Mr. Freedholm’s Asian Studies class. We followed our tour guide through the winding paths, climbing over rocks and momentarily stopping to capture the beauty. Though the garden was calming, it was hard to get through the day without noticing the humidity (99.9% humidity). As lunch approached, we made our way back onto the bus to get to the silk factory.
This prose piece was written and performed by Andrea and Emily
We approached the silk factory with no prior knowledge of the intricacies of the process of silk making. To our delight, there were baskets upon baskets of the mulberry leaf-eating creatures known as silkworms. We were informed that like butterflies, they create cocoons that can be spun into silk.
We continued our journey through the silk factory and found ourselves in a Fashion show that lasted a whole five minutes. Models walked in pure silk garb (made in the factory) with such precision and seriousness, we were surprised they didn’t crack a smile. We then took a short bus ride to the Hanshan Temple, also in Suzhou. We were excited to take part in the common activity of throwing coins into a sculpture for good luck like one might throw pennies into a fountain. Fun fact: Mr. Freedholm had 100% accuracy: he was 1 for 1.
Weary of our travels, we made our way back to our bus for the trip back to Shanghai. We rested for an hour before heading to an eventful dinner.
It was a normal meal until the music started. Four Chinese dancers came on stage to present a cultural performance. They were followed by a surprising entrance: a young man dressed like a belly dancer thrusting his hips around the stage, jingling his belt full of bells. Laughter was heard around the room, and the most common question was, “Is that a man or a woman?”
The show ended, and the dinner proceeded normally. We made our back the hotel, still laughing about the male entertainer that was definitely an unintentional highlight of the trip. We are resting up tonight for an exciting last day in Shanghai tomorrow.
This prose piece was written and performed by Lizzie and Deanna