This is going to be quick, as I’m in the time-ticking local net bar, and as un-eager as I am to go outside and face the heat of Suzhou, I’ve a meeting with my boss in 15 minutes.
So, yeah, we’ve arrived and man is it hot. It’s so hot that chili peppers are drinking iced tea. It’s so hot that the slightest wiff of air conditioning (from shops blocks away) seems like a breeze from heaven.
Apparently we missed the worst of it. Everyone’s told us that had we arrived two weeks ago we would REALLY have known hot. Aside from the heat, Suzhou is awesome. After struggling to get our luggage from our old apartment to the train (Maggie showed excellent managerial skills as her feeble feminine muscles proved useless), we settled in for our 23 hour train ride. Sleep was made easier by the two bottles of wine we consumed just prior (this also led to a rather heated game of Crazy 8s… Maggie went from novice to master in three games).
We arrived in Suzhou and were immediately put into a van headed to the New Area (新区) of the city. As the previous teacher for the school is still in residence, our apartment won’t be ready for a week or so, and as such we’ve been put up in a hotel. Staying in a hotel has its advantages (fresh towels, etc), but we’ve got a crapload of stuff and are eager to get settled. I’ve met the staff of my new school, and attended one of the classes to observe.
It’s a great little school. Not nearly as busy as the other schools I’ve worked for, as it’s still new (only about 8 months old), it seems to have a much more familial atmosphere. I think I will enjoy working there a lot. Our neighbourhood is fantastic. Surrounded by quaint streets, small shops and scenic canals, it’s exactly the antithesis to where we lived in Dalian. Pace of life here seems simpler, and we’re really enjoying it. We took a trip to one of the city’s many gardens yesterday and I’ve got loads of photos and stuff. Unfortunately I still need to see about bringing a USB key into this netbar, and so they’ll have to wait until next time.
The one other big difference between Suzhou and Dalian is the number of bikes on the road. It’s insane. I guess it makes sense that a city with better year-round climate would have more people taking advantage of the cheap and convenient transport, but man there are a LOT of bikes here!
I think I’m going to buy one. Not just a bike… an ELECTRIC bike!