Stephen shows off the large amount of food available at the breakfast buffet which he thinks has about 150 different options. The buffet was so big that they had trouble finding everything on the first day. Stephen mentions that breakfast is his favorite meal of the day. Today, they are going to Suzhou which is called the "Venice of China". They will be riding a boat through the canals of Suzhou and going to see a garden. It is now 8:00 AM and they won't be coming back until 5:00 PM.
They take a 2 hour bus ride to Suzhou. Stephen, Mallory, Mark, and Rhonda all ride on one boat with a translator. The lady steering their boat started singing Chinese songs for them. The translator explains that the 1st song was called "Welcome to Suzhou", the 2nd song was a famous Chinese song called "Jasmine", the 3rd one is about a local lake called Lake Taihu, and the last one is about beautiful scenery. After the boat ride, they are given 1 hour to explore the 1,000 year street full of shops. They are already excited because they saw a cat.
Then, Stephen talks about how the temperature here is the same as it is back home, but the humidity is really high. It's only been half an hour and Stephen is profusely sweating. It doesn't feel hot, but he's drenched in sweat. They find it strange since the humidity back at home is often at 100%, but the humidity here seems to exceed that. Rhonda had bought a chicken foot in order to try a local snack. She says that it tastes like soy sauce and rubber. Then, they had a brief and delicious lunch.
Next, they went to the Master of the Nets Garden which is a UNESCO site. This garden was briefly owned and lived in by a famous Chinese watercolor artist who notably had a pet tiger. The artist loved the tiger so much that he buried the tiger in this garden and put a black rock on top as a tomb stone. Some of his works of art are featured on the walls and Stephen says that the garden is very beautiful. It started to rain, but he says that the rain creates a nice background sound for this gorgeous garden. Shortly after they arrived, 4-5 other tour groups consisting of about 20 people each arrived at the garden. The garden quickly became crowded which Stephen thought was a shame since it's harder to appreciate the scenery with so many people here.
Afterwards, they took a 2 hour bus ride back to the hotel. Stephen then talks about what's been happening back at home while they've been on vacation. They had left for the trip just before Hurricane Dorian was supposed to hit. They weren't worried about the storm, but were worried about possible flooding because it the last few years there has been terrible flooding. Stephen told his parents to bring Rocko over and stay at their house since their house is better built. So, their house will be able to withstand the storm better and it's also easier to move 1 cat. His parents stayed over at their house last night. Debra got woken by the strong winds outside. Mal has everything set up on her phone to check the weather back home. So, they both got an emergency alert about a tornado that was a mile away from their house. Their parents also received the alert and had to take shelter immediately.
Stephen says that they felt guilty because they're on the other side of the world and they are completely powerless to do anything. They could only help his parents over text messages by telling them where to find the cat carriers or where Sagan's hiding places were. They had to tell them quickly since there was a threat of real imminent danger. It felt awful because they were sitting on a bus on the other side of the world unable to help. The good news is that the tornados have passed and his parents and the cats are safe. His parents told him that they holed up in the laundry room with all the cats. Stephen says that the cats are probably losing their minds in there. Then, he talks about how his parents are staying at their house so they don't even know what's happened to their house. Stephen was worried that there might be flooding which would cause his parents to get stuck, so he told his parents to either go to their house or bring the cats to their place. If his parents were stuck from flooding, they wouldn't be able to feed their cats.
The worst of the storm has passed, but the river waters have risen which will cause flooding. The power also went out, so his parents don't have any way to charge their phones. They might at some point just lose contact with them until the power turns back on. They were supposed to be enjoying their vacation, but it's hard to enjoy it when they are worried about how things are back home. Stephen says that they've learned their lesson and will never book a trip during hurricane season ever again. Then, he says that there will be no more tour stuff today because it's almost 6:00 PM. They will try to do Breakfast Stream tonight if the internet is good enough.
They have dinner at Ramen Iroha which they found in a shopping mall called Capital Square. The restaurant has a weird obsession with Shin-Chan because there are multiple plushies of him around the restaurant. Mal's only have gyoza because her stomach has been acting up. Stephen has ramen. There was also a Dukin' Donuts in the shopping mall, so they got a doughnut to eat for Breakfast Stream. Currently, they are walking back to the hotel. Stephen talks about how the closest restaurant to the hotel was a Taco Bell which they briefly considered going to for dinner. Then, he mentions how this street is really beautiful especially with all the lights in the trees lining the street. Stephen says that the blue bird lights look like a Twitter ad because the shape and color are similar to the Twitter logo. They are looking for a conveninece store, so Mal can pick up some stuff and then they will go back and so the stream.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
- Crayon-Shin chan, also known as Shin Chan, is a Japanese series that follows the adventures of the 5 year old Shinnosuke "Shin" Nohara and his parents, baby sister, dog, neighbours, and friends