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Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011, at 6:40 PM

Day 5: We were all up early as usual and dog tired last night, we are still not on China time. I am beginning to feel it will take at least 1-week to get on this new time zone. For the 4th day in a row, we ate a traditional Chinese dinner. Evidentially, most Chinese dinners are served family style. The food is brought out and put on a huge lazy-susan in the middle of the table. As the servers deems necessary, she brings out dishes and places them in the middle of the table. Garrett will eat (or at least try) most dishes. I am not so open minded. It almost seems odd, they serve essentially the same thing at every meal... roast duck "bone and all", sweet and sour pork, kung-pow chicken, lots of rice, steamed "soggy" lettuce, "thin-bony" fried fish, "weak"mushroom soup and "very weak" hot tea. Now, don't get to thinking this is like the Chinese buffets at home. Nothing could be further from reality.

Yesterday we left Shanghai and drove 1.5 hours to Suzhou. I never saw where Shanghai and Suzhou stopped or began. Suzhou is a small Chinese city of 6-million. No kidding, they call this a small city. This city is larger than the total population of Tennessee. We toured a silk factory and I helped stretch silk to make a comforter. We toured an ancient Chinese garden. (there are a lot of these in this city) They call them gardens but they were more like compounds for rich families. These 1000-year old gardens have several family living quarters and buildings, a body of water and some small trees and plants. The garden reminded me of something you might see on the movie "The Last Samaria".

From there we got on a boat and rode up and down a very-very old "man made" canal. I think they said it took over 100,000 men and hundreds of years to complete this system. It is over 1000 miles long. They use these canals to move water and freight around all over China. Marco-Polo lived in Suzhou for a time. He built 800 bridges over the canals. Some of the bridges are still here (I am attaching a picture of this).

I saw their high-speed rail yesterday. This train goes over 235-miles per hour. Unbelievable! These trains are everywhere and expanding. We get to ride on in 2-days.

We did several other touristy things today but I don't want to bore you. Needless to say, it was a very tiring day. We went to bed early, very tired and hungry... but we are having a ball.

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