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Suzhou Bird Park and a little forest bathing

rain 15 °F

I had six days off for the labor day holiday, when most people had five, so I immediately took advantage of that and left for Suzhou on Monday afternoon. Most Chinese people wouldn't have any days off until Wednesday so I thought it would be easier that way. I sent a message to my hostel owner friend, Claire in Suzhou and she said she had a bottom bunk waiting for me. Excellent. So I took the teacher bus to the train station and set up camp.
I mistakenly booked a day at a spa without realizing it was too far away, so I spent the rest of the night and the best part of the morning compiling a list of all the free tourist spots on my card by distance from my hostel.
I decided to spend the week visiting places 20 km and closer. At first Claire told me that the hostel was fully booked on May 2nd, so I initially started to plan on going elsewhere. Luckily somebody cancelled and I was free to stay the whole week in Suzhou. However this was at holiday price, way higher than normal, but there wasn't much choice, as every other hotel was doing the same. It was basically a choice of staying in Suzhou or just going home, both of which were fine, but why should I do day trips when I have the week free? On top of this, I was relieved because I was able to pay in full for the whole week. When I sent money home last month, I miscalculated my income and I was running dangerously low. After I paid for my bed and the train ticket home, I only had about 2000 yuan left, so I felt good about making it to pay day on May 10 with about $400 for food and bus fare a few days after the holiday. Phew.
At about 11 am I headed out to the southwest corner of town, where there was a bird park and a small mountain retreat.
The mountain home was a place for a man that became a hermit there and planted thousands of pine trees. There were also carved rocks with calligraphy on them. I wandered around slipping on the rocks all the way up and down the hills.

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When I was tired of that, I caught the bus to go down the road to the bird park. Tom told me that all the birds would be in cages but I didn't believe him. He was right again. Although it wasnt the tranquil natural spot I thought it would be, I had the place to myself the whole time as it was raining pretty steadily. It turned out to be a really good day to visit the bird park. All the birds were out getting a bath in the rain, and all the humans stayed home.
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Posted by baixing 07:07 Archived in China

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