Sunday, June 9, 2013

Suzhou Silk Factory

No matter what major tourist site you go to, very nearby is a major government enterprise with the best large scale buffet cafeteria for tour groups. The facility will also be themed with a manufacturing operation such as cloisonné, jade, silk, pearls, or whatever tourist product they want you to buy.

On the Suzhou trip our group stopped at a silk factory/buffet. Lunch was good, but the rest was better. It was really fun seeing the processing of the silk worms, weaving the thread, and weaving of the fabric. Then there was the large silk retail operation. Department store size. Bedding. Beautiful. Many in our group bought silk pillows, comforters, or bed spreads.  Silk embroidery art work. Silk clothing. These operations are truly for tourists because they actually have clothing in our sizes (unlikely in the local Xi'an stores - even the high end western brands). We enjoyed buying some clothing.

We also bought a beautiful embroidered silk scene. They want you to think the prices are fixed, it is all very formal and the sales help is typically dressed like they work in a jewelry store. When I ultimately bargained it down to 30% of the starting price, I still wonder how much I actually overpaid. I felt better on this one as they followed me out of the building to bring me back when I would not budge on the price. But I wish I knew. Maybe I am better off not knowing.

It really is beautiful. Mary is babysitting it on a wall in her apartment if you want to take a look.


Mary sent us a picture of it. We still like it!

Hangzhou & Suzhou - People

On a recent 3 day holiday, a large group of the BYU China Teachers met in Hangzhou and Suzhou to visit some parks, waterways and tourist attractions. Ann took lots of pictures of people we shared the tourist sites with. Kind of a fun glimpse of China.

This is where the bus drivers nap waiting
for their tour groups to return

Very common gathering of men gambling

Couples in matching shirts is not uncommon.
Groups of men touring with matching shirts
and shorts is quite striking!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Out our kitchen window - art at the elementary school next door

The other day they built a large decoration around the entrance to the elementary school just out our kitchen window. Ann mused about it on Instagram and Tim suggested it was a graduation celebration. Robert actually read the Chinese and said it was in honor of International Children's Day. Wiki says it is a June 1st Chinese celebration. I suspect if we would have paid more attention last week we might have seen some fun activities.
We are not sure if it is related or not, but at the beginning of this week, big display panels were erected on the court outside the school entrance. The next day they were full of art work. One of our teachers was looking with us and said all the art was done by the school's students from age 6-12. These must be the grade level winners. We thought you would enjoy seeing the world through the eyes of Chinese children as expressed in art. We would love to hear thoughts from those of you with kids of comparable ages doing art projects. Fortunately Ann took these photos the day before yesterday because yesterday it all got taken down.