A Travellerspoint blog

Toshi comes to Tongli

rain

I woke up pretty early but hung around seeing what Toshi would do. He wouldn't be in town until noon so I went to Tongli by myself. It was normally 100 yuan to get in but it was free with my magic tourist card!
There was a new self-driving bus that took tourists for free from the subway station to the town, so that was fun.
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It was very confusing to get around this village and I was constantly comparing it to the idyllic water villages I visited when I lived in Nanchang. The villages outside Suzhou are just too Disneyfied and sterile for my taste.
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I went to the three spots mentioned in Lonely Planet. In one mansion I got yelled at for feeding the fish some old popcorn.
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A famous pathway in a Chinese movie where the couple "cute meet" by bumping into each other.
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Another garden was a UNESCO world heritage site so it was too crowded.
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Another garden was called pearl tower because of a tiny replica pagoda covered in pearls. Not actually because of any tower on the premises, as I initially thought. Also it was the garden built by a guy who married his daughter??? I dunno weird stuff went on back then and no one cared I guess.
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Somebody was selling silk tapestries of Xi Jin Ping alongside silk tapestries of Mao. Hmmm.
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Around 1 or 2 Toshi showed up and I found him at the gate. We were hungry and immediately had some lunch. I got a deal from Chinese Groupon and toshi didn't like the squirrelfish I ordered. It was deep fried, so I should've known a sushi eater wouldn't be a fan. :P He did like the tofu, eggs and vegetables, so that was good. We had way too much food anyway.
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Toshi didn't bring an umbrella even though I told him to. So it rained and he got wet. It was not a good weekend for him.
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We wandered around but he just wanted to go home, so that night he went back to Wuxi and I went back to my dorm.

There's nowhere in the world you can go without bumping into some insufferable Germans. That night was one of those times. After untying my boots and laying down I heard a quiet "Hello" with an unmistakeable German accent coming from the shadows. I was very tired and my knee was aching. I didn't feel like talking but whatever. The woman in the next bunk over then asked me what my trip itinerary was. I just laughed and said this was it, I was going home about three train stations west of here the next day.

She then proceeded to tell me in excruciating detail about her whole plan for the next month or so. I don't know about you, but when I'm in her shoes, repeatedly answering that dreaded question "Wherehaveyoubeenwhereareyougoing?" (all breathlessly asked in a single word) is exhausting. I avoid it like the plague. She just up and volunteered that information to me and prattled right along as if I didn't exist. It seemed as if she was reciting her itinerary just to remind herself to actually continue on this quest. It seemed as if communicating such knowledge to me was just a byproduct of that process, because lord knows I was an uninterested observer.

I began stretching out my quads and massaging my ligaments while she babbled away. Then I had an idea that would either make her my best friend forever or shut her up for good. I told her I lived here for five years and hardly spoke any Chinese. Every time I told some German that tidbit they immediately lost respect for me. I suddenly became this ignorant American to be tossed in the garbage. Why haven't I been relentlessly studying Mandarin night and day since I arrived? That's what any self respecting German would do, you know. Predictably, after confessing my poor mastery of the Chinese language, fraulein suddenly had to finish watching this amazing TV show Sex in the City on her phone. Ok schlaf gut fraulein.

Posted by baixing 07:55 Archived in China

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Comments

Tongli looks amazing! That driver less train kind of makes me uneasy:):)

by Marian Catherine Brown

There was a lady walking around yelling things at people, I'm not sure what she was saying.

by baixing

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