There were a few major adjustments I had to undergo when I moved to Suzhou from Dalian back in August 2006, namely: a lack of abundant Korean food, no Walmart, no slick light-rail mass transit, and no English-language movie theatres.
Well, it’s been a year and a half and I’m happy to report that this little garden down has caught up (or soon will in regards to the light rail) on all counts.
The one that I’m most thrilled about is that we’ve finally got a feckin’ movie cinema that plays more than dubiously dubbed duds. You see, I am a movie addict. Hell, I paid my way through college by working at Blockbuster Video, and would have happily worked there for the free rentals.
Coming to China with its complete lack of respect for anti-piracy laws was just a little piece of heaven, and I’ve amassed enough videos to easily restock my former employer’s shelves.
However, as much as a dodgy copy of Hollywood’s latest and greatest for a buck puts a smile on my face, I absolutely love going to the cinema. Even here in China, where you have to put up with the guy behind you giving a play-by-play to his buddy on his mobile, I still crave it.
The fact that Suzhou didn’t have a cinema that played English-language films (in English) crushed me when we moved here. I couldn’t believe it. Dalian, which wasn’t much bigger and likely doesn’t have many more foreigners, had at least three big modern cinemas that regularly ran Hollywood hits with their original English soundtrack.
But, as I said, Suzhou’s caught up – some time ago actually, I was just asleep at the wheel. The new(ish) Suzhou Science and Cultural Arts Centre features a state-of-the-art IMAX-equipped cinema that routinely plays the 20 Western films the country allows in each year.
And the best part? It’s cheap! A regularly priced seat is only 50 RMB (about $7) and the cinema is no stranger to the seemingly universal law of half-priced Tuesdays.
Located way out on the north-eastern side of Jinji Lake, it’s a bit of a hike to get there, but checking out the cinema’s site, they list a number of buses (as well as the coming light-rail) that will take my ass from the city centre out there.
From the site:
Take No.26 at Suzhou Railway Station and transfer No.219 to Suzhou International Expo Centre ??
No.812 and No.219: North Suzhou Bus Station to Suzhou International Expo Centre
No.47: Suzhou Panmen Scenery Area to Suzhou International Expo Centre
No.108: South Suzhou Bus Station to Suzhou International Expo Centre
(It’s 3 minutes’walk from Suzhou International Expo Centre to SSCAC.)
No.206, No.2, No.100, No.28 bus and Jin Ji Lake-sightseeing bus
Light Rail Transit
Light Rail No.1: Renmin Road to Suzhou International Expo Centre
SSCAC Regular Bus
Totally 45 buses each weekend drive you to Cineplex of SSCAC,and the stations are as follows:
1.Xin Yi Ke Suzhou Clinic (Ganjiang Road, Feng Huang Street)
3.North Branch of Soochow University
11:00-20:00 one for each hour,route: Xin Yi Ke Suzhou Clinic-SSCAC (on board only)
13:00-23:30 one for each hour,route: SSCAC-Xin Yi Ke Suzhou Clinic (alight only) Last bus switched from (23:00 to 23：30)
Suzhou International Expo Centre,Jin Ji Lake Emporia,Times Square,The Shilla Suzhou,Genway International Hotel,Suzhou Industrial Park Administration Centre
So, off to see 10,000 BC tomorrow, and probably going to catch National Treasure next Tuesday (good or bad, it’s $3.50 for a cinematic experience!).
The site’s got showtime listings as well.