14th September 2018, a tour to the Suzhou museum was organised by the school.We met each other at the West gate of our dormitory.
After a short wait, we were cheerfully greeted by our future Chinese teacher and her teaching assistants. “Hello!” she introduced herself in an energetic tone which I was too tired to match. She helpfully took us to the bus stop and even offered us coins for the bus. As a proud holder of Suzhou Citizen Card, I didn’t need the 2 yuan coins.
As the bus cruised through the calm traffic, we had joyful happy conversations about Suzhou while we looked out of the windows to appreciate everything Suzhou had to offer. “Women dao le!” I heard our teacher say -which means that we have arrived.
Everyone jumped out of their seats ready to go on the tour. “Are you hungry?” asked the teacher. “Yes!” I answered enthusiastically, knowing I only had 10 minutes before my stomach would start making disturbing noises.
Luckily, we walked to the food street just in time and our teacher treated us to some delicious snacks. I do not have the name but a picture speaks more than a thousand words:
It wasn’t long before my mouth morphed into a vacuum cleaner and I swallowed all of the snacks in an instant. They were very delicious.
As we walked through the food street, we observed the beautiful surroundings, had more wonderful conversations, laughed and—“LUNCH TIME!” I heard someone shout. Surprisingly, it wasn’t me.
“PHOTOS!” I heard someone else yell. Again, surprisingly, it wasn’t me.
It was decided that a group photo was needed before lunch so we all gathered in a group ready for our teacher to snap a photo of us. But it wasn’t only our teacher who took a photo; an old lady looked at us curiously and snapped a photo. Then an old man. Then a security guard. At this point, I was impressed by how long I could stay still for and briefly considered being a living statue as a full time career.
When enough passerbys had taken our photos, we decided to head for lunch. Well… we tried. “More photos!” I heard someone suggest. And then, many of us in the group started snapping photos of the beautiful surroundings.
“A photo of the boys!” I heard someone suggest. Like a true man, I joined.
After plenty of photos, we finally headed for lunch. If our experience of finding a place for lunch had a “moral-of-the-story”, it would be “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. Initially, we stepped into a restaurant that looked quite nice but was too expensive for us. Naturally, we stepped out. We then went into a restaurant which had better prices but the seating area looked average from the outside. Oh, how we were so wrong. After going inside and up the stairs, we were dazzled by the beautiful balcony-garden seating area. It was wonderful. We never could have guessed this would be where we would eat lunch by simply looking at the outside of the restaurant. As we settled down on to our seats and made ourselves comfortable, suddenly the waiters came up and told us to go downstairs as they had a bigger table there. We reluctantly obliged. Downstairs was a massive down-grade; we went from balcony to basement. Upon seeing the basement area, we decided the balcony area would be much nicer… even if it means we could not all sit at one table.
For lunch, we split into two tables, ordered food and shared. The food we had was delicious – there was enough for all of us. Even me and I am a vegetarian! Chinese food has so much variety; there is always a never-ending list of delicious dishes in any Chinese restaurant.
After our stomachs were satisfied, we finally made our way to the museum.
Our Chinese teacher challenged me to speak Chinese to a local and ask the way to the museum. I gladly accepted the challenge and approached a local with “Nihao. Bowuguan zai nali?” which means “Hello, where is the museum”. After repeating this phrase enough time to enough locals, we eventually arrived at the Suzhou museum.
The museum was wonderful, especially the area outside. We explored, took lots of photos, had a lot of fun and then made our way home.
It was a beautiful day.
Written by: VIVEK，ANUSHRAVAN
Editor: ZHANG MINGYU