Lajio Jian…This is Rafs favorite word. Those of you who know him well have probably guessed this means hot sauce or chili sauce. Oh, he has learned many other words with that knack for languages, but this one is used more frequently than the others, and he says good morning, zao shang hao to at least 6 or 7 people every day, and ni hao or hello. I almost forgot, pijiu or beer is high on the list too.
As I write this I am sitting across the street from the hotel at a restaurant, Provence that serves a nice breakfast (an omelet of choice with toast and coffee) for 20 RMB, about $2.50. It is funny, if you order a cup of coffee alone it also costs 20 RMB. There is usually French music playing and many foreigners looking for a western breakfast. We have come here a few times but still prefer the local cuisine. There are nice couches with big windows, a perfect place to write on a Sunday morning.
We are nearing the end of the program, a few more dinners with the officials, a final performance that each of us have put together for the closing ceremonies, and then goodbye to Suzhou. Most of the classes have invited their teachers to lunch and my group is taking me out tomorrow afternoon. Thank goodness the class is all girls and there will not be too many ganbeis (bottoms up). It has been interesting and pretty funny teaching afternoon classes to those who have just downed several bottle of beer. Raf and I will really miss them.
In the mad rush to see everything before we leave, we braved the heat and took off on foot to see a few more gardens and places of interest. I think I had heat stroke yesterday, my face was so red and this was with a hat, sunscreen and an umbrella. Just like the locals. Here are some pictures along the way.