Luzhi, located on the southeast side of Suzhou, is actually closer to Suzhou than Tongli is. In fact, we found a public bus (No. 518) going there by our hotel, and it only cost 4 RMB/person. Since there are forty some stops between our hotel and the town of Luzhi, I was afraid that it might take too long to get there by bus. So we still took the taxis in the morning. It cost 90 RMB, same as to Tongli. I could tell for sure that the taxi driver was taking the long way. I didn't care the extra 15 - 20 RMB it cost. I only cared about the time he wasted and the extra pollution we had to inhale. The highway was so heavily polluted that I had trouble breathing even sitting inside the taxi.
3. Can you do this: walking on a narrow plank while carrying heavy load? I can't.
4. Luduan, a unicorn like beast, sits near town entrance.
5. According to this, luduan is a lucky beast, and it only sits where there is good feng shui.
7. Baoshen Temple, a main tourist attraction in Luzhi.
9. Ye Shengtao Memorial Hall inside Baoshen Temple. Ye Shengtao, a famous Chinese educator and writer, was a teacher at Luzhi from 1917 to 1922.
10. While we were looking around Baoshen Temple, we heard morning exercise music on loud speakers. It turns out that Luzhi Primary School is right next to the temple, and the kids still do morning exercise like I used to do when I was a kid, except that the campus is a lot more decorated, and the music much more fun.
15. Both in Tongli and Luzhi, we saw this over and over. People do their meal preparing, dish/clothes washing, mop rinsing ...... all in the same canal. I saw they had faucets in their home, why does anyone want to wash his food (fish in this case) in the dirty water?
17. My uncle, who was 74 years old, still had the energy of a kid. He didn't want to leave any path unwalked. :)
20. Dave's favorite sweet potato man. Sweet potatoes were slowly cooked in his homemade device and sold as snack on the street.
21. Inside Wan Sheng Mi Hang (萬盛米行), where Ye Shengtao's famous article "多收了三五鬥" was based on, the whole article is carved on a wall. There are many old farm tools on display. The one my aunt and uncle trying to pedal is a water wheel. If you pedal hard, water will be brought up from the pond on the belt (to water rice field).
Luzhi is a much smaller town than Tongli. Even with our leisure pace, it only took us half a day to look around. After lunch, we tried to find taxis to go back to Suzhou, that's when the problem came: there was no taxi at all. We checked with the locals, they said you had to call ahead to book taxis from nearby city to come here, there was no taxi service in Luzhi. The only "taxis" they had were the "black taxis", which were private cars for rental, and they usually waited at the main bus station. Since Dave and I wanted to go to Tiger Hill in the afternoon, we wanted to get there ASAP, we decided to try the "black taxi". It wasn't too bad. We first took a bus to the main bus station in Luzhi, spot a "black taxi" driver, negotiated the price (He asked for 120 RMB, I offered 100, and he agreed. I knew I could get the fare down lower but there was no point.) and off we went. My dad, aunt and uncle didn't want the trouble, they took the No. 518 bus back. Later they told me that it took about an hour to get back to our hotel in Suzhou. So it wasn't too bad.
(To be continued)
Ye Shengtao's article "多收了三五鬥": 萬盛米行的河埠頭，橫七豎八停泊著鄉村裏出來的敞口船。船裏裝載的是新米，把船身壓得很低。齊般舷的萊葉和垃圾給白膩的泡沫包圍著，一漾一漾地，填沒了這船和那船之間的空隙。河埠上去是僅容兩三個人並排走的街道。萬盛米行就在街道的那一邊。朝晨的太陽光從破了的明瓦天棚斜射下來，光柱子落在櫃台外麵晃動者的幾頂舊氈帽上。