Souzhou and Nanjing and a weekend in Chengdu…
Kevin Horton, Dancer, Bann Company
With Shanghai being such a busy city of sightseeing and nights out, we were all looking forward to a nice relaxing week. Relaxing, but hectic as we traveled to three different cities this week. We started off in Souzhou. This city is ranked the second highest annual income city out of 69 Chinese cities, and everything seemed a bit different from the other cities we had visited prior. The streets were very clean and there was a gorgeous shopping center just walking distance from the hotel. We were happy to know that this complex contained a Starbucks; something we have become accustomed to living without in most cities! The hotel was pretty far from the downtown area and this shopping center seemed out of place. Almost like a “if we build it, they will come” type of deal…only no one showed up and the place was a dessert town. But we enjoyed the restaurants and other shops it had to offer.
The Humble Administrator’s Garden is one of the largest and most famous gardens in all of China. Located just off the center of Suzhou, it boasts of bridges and stone pathways interwoven with Chinese architecture similar to buildings that would have been found throughout the Qing Dynasty. It was built starting around the year 1513 and holds history important to the city of Suzhou. We often forget how lucky we are to be able to be part of such amazing history and taking a stroll around these gardens really made you think of what people did there thousands of years ago. A real treat to see!
We were only in Suzhou for two days then it was off to Nanjing. Nanjing has a metropolitan area of over 6 million people and acts as the second largest commercial center in the East China region, only after Shanghai, where we were last week. The city had a great downtown area that contained a huge array of different specialty shops and side alleyways where you could get noodles! To be honest, we were only in Nanjing for two days, so not much was done there, but it was great to be able to relax for a few days before off to our third city of the week.
Last Saturday, we flew to Chengdu at 5:30 in the morning, nothing like an early start to get the day going! We were happy to have a few days off in Chengdu since our first show wasn’t until Tuesday. We were informed earlier in the week about two press conferences that we had to do on Sunday. One was in the hotel in Chengdu and another was in Chongqing, a two-hour train ride away. I was part of the group that went to Chongqing and it was definitely interesting. I have never been part of a press conference before and it was exciting to be the main guest for many television stations, radio stations, and newspapers. It was a long day for all of us, but worth the trip. We will be making a stop to Chongqing later this tour, so it was nice to get a forecast of what was to come. We are spending the rest of the week in Chengdu, so check back to see what we get up to the rest of the week!