原创翻译:28大神—加拿大28 http://mpfv.cn 翻译:超级凉快 转载请注明出处




In the parks around Jinji Lake there are many sculptures. Some of them are abstract, some of them are not; some of them look very nice and others make you wonder what the artist was thinking when he created them. Let me show you some of them (these are not the official sculpture names, I made them up).


Two Huge Drops of Water: this is one of my favourite Jinji Lake sculptures. The shiny metallic surface reflects the surroundings. You can also see the Suzhou Pants building in the background.


Pink Flamingos: it would be nicer if they were real but unfortunately they are not!


Giant Rainbow-Ant: this one is also shiny and metallic, and reflect many colours when it is sunny.


Monkeys on the Phone: this is one of the WTFs. What does this mean? It is not even beautiful…


Skaters: around the boardwalk on the east side of the lake there several sculptures depicting humans. The skaters are one of them. Fun fact: I don’t think boardskating is allowed here for real humans.


Leaf Boat: at least this one is related to the lake!


And finally, a guessing game! Do you know who these two guys are? Hint: they are from Spain!




The one in the middle is obviously me. I had to take a picture with my countrymen!





I have something to confess: the first time I visited Suzhou I didn’t like it at all. It was hot (and it was only the first week of May!), it was humid,and my hostel room had bugs, including one that had the courtesy of waking me up by taking a walk on my face.


I traveled to Suzhou and Shanghai from Beijing during the May holidays with two Korean classmates. A few years ago there was one week of holidays at the beginning of May, now you can count yourself lucky if you get 3 days in a row (May 1 plus the weekend). We went by train. There were no fast trains and the journey was 12 hours.


I don''t think this is legal. Or safe.


My first visit to Suzhou was definitely not among my favourite trips, and the city itself was in no way among my preferred cities in China. If I had chosen myself, I would have probably never moved there so I would have never met C. But destiny, or 缘分 yuanfen, had other plans for me. Now, after a few years living in Suzhou, I like it. It is a nice city. People are not rude, if anything, less talkative than in the north. Summers have been bearable. And I never had a bug running over my face again.





When I was 18 or 19 I went on a road trip through Ireland with my family. It was cloudy and raining most of the time, as it is usual there, but one day the sun started shining in Dublin. We were visiting a college or some place with a garden, and many people went to that garden and lied in the sun, wearing shorts and tank tops. I am from southern Spain and we have sunny days almost always, so I thought it was very funny that these people were so happy to see the sun that they would leave everything they were doing aside and go outside to enjoy the day.


Then I came to China and I experienced something similar.


I live in the Yangtze delta area, a place that is not exactly famous for its nice weather: winters are long, cold and humid and summers are long, hot and humid. Spring and autumn are almost non existent. You will probably be wearing long underwear and down jacket one week, and be sweating in short sleeves the next.


When Chinese people go to the park to spend the day they do something that I think it is very weird: they bring a tent. I can’t understand why someone would go outside to enjoy a beautiful day and then spend it melting inside a tent. It must have to do with the fact that Chinese people don’t like being in the sun because they hate getting tanned (it makes you look like a peasant).


This time our relaxing day was kind of “spoiled” by a family located four or five trees to the left, who decided that it was a great idea to bring a portable karaoke machine. The daughter, who must have been 10 or 11, was singing the whole time. And no, she couldn’t sing at all. And yes, she sang “Little Apple”. I thought about recording a video but I didn’t want to torture you.


A day barbecueing outside cannot be complete without a kite. In Spain, kites are something kids play with when they are in the beach, but they are not very popular. In China, kites are a serious matter and more for adults than for kids. Me? I have never flown a kite. It is like fishing, I just don’t get it.





We are having a very weird summer. While in Europe and the US everybody is suffering a heat wave, here in Shanghai / Suzhou we are having a cool wave. It is July already and right now it is 17 degrees. I had never seen anything like this in all of my years in China, but I don’t complain because I seriously hate the typical Shanghai summer with 35ºC and 95% humidity. So god bless rain and cool weather!


The only negative side of this cool weather is that I haven’t been able to go to the outdoor swimming pool yet, so it looks the 30 day pass that we bought last year and only used 7 times will not be spent this year either. My last weekends have been pretty boring, mostly staying at home. And the more I stay at home, the lazier I become and the less things I do. And this spiral is getting out of control!


Yesterday we had to go bring some things to C.’s parents. As it was not raining on that particular moment, we decided to make the most of trip and take a walk around the neighbourhood. C.’s parent live in an alley in the center of Suzhou, not far from Guanqian Street, the pedestrian shopping avenue. Their particular street is not very beautiful because it has been taken over by garbage collectors and recyclers, so both sides are full of metal scraps, carton boxes and other trash that they pick and sell. But other streets around are nicer and give an impression of how Suzhou was a few decades ago. C. wanted to show me the way to his primary and high school, as he grew up in that area.


The houses remind me of Beijing hutongs. If you enter through the front door, you will find yourself in a narrower alley that zigzags around many small houses.Most of the people living here are old Suzhounese people or migrants that only want a small space and a cheap rent.





After spending several years in Suzhou I noticed that you can guess which month of the year it is without looking at a calendar: you only need to check which fruits are being sold in the markets, or what foods are eating the customers of the restaurants with tables on the street. Many of these products can also be found in other parts of China, of course, but I have never seen people in Beijing or Shanghai raving so much about seasonal products. In Suzhou, you know the second half of May has arrived because you step into the subway and everybody is carrying baskets with loquats; or you realize autumn is here because all the restaurants offer hairy crabs in their menu. So, what are the favourite seasonal products in Suzhou? Here’s the list I compiled:


– Crayfish (小龙虾 xiao longxia): their Chinese name literally means “small lobster”. They start appearing at the end of April and are a big favourite in the small street restaurants. There is one such place right next to my apartment in Shanghai and it is always full. The crayfish are bright red and smell really good! However I was a tad disappointed when I tried them: they are very spicy! So spicy you don’t really get to taste their true flavour (so I guess this means it is not too good). Also, the amount of meat you get is not too much; half of the crayfish is the head! Eating crayfish is definitely a pain in the ass, as you have you crack and slurp and the reward is not that great. People usually eat them with plastic gloves to avoid getting (too) dirty and there is always a basin in the middle of the table to throw the shells in.


– Loquat (枇杷 pipa): I think this fruit can also be found in Spain but I had never tried it. The season starts in mid May and only lasts for 2 or 3 weeks. Craziness ensues: there is a mountain close to Suzhou with a lot of loquat tree plantations and on the weekends the road there is completely jammed with families and groups of friends driving to the mountain to pick loquats. The peasants from that area have a great business: they grow trees and the city people pay to pick their fruit, so peasants save some time and earn some money! I have never done that. I have never bought loquats either as there is no need: I always get free ones from C.’s company. Many companies give loquats to their customers and employees during the season.


– Sticky rice wrapped in a leaf (粽子 zongzi): they start being sold at the end of May but are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 duanwu jie), a festivity that is normally around mid June. There are sweet zongzi and salty zongzi; the sweet ones have a filling of red bean and the salty ones have meat and boiled egg. I am a big fan of sticky rice in all of its delicious forms so of course I love zongzi! My favourite are the salty ones. I have been dreaming about them for several months already, I can’t wait for the season to start! In my previous company we would always be given a few zongzi the day before the Dragon Boat Festival.


C.’s grandma does them herself and last year she tried to teach me how to wrap them. It is more complicated than it looks! But I think I got one right at least.


– “Chicken-head rice” (鸡头米 jitoumi): such an interesting name comes from the shape of these seeds, round with a small beak-like protuberance. I have no idea if it has an official name in English! According to wikipedia they are the seeds of a water lily. They are cooked in a sweet soup and are soft but a little chewy. I love them! Their season is around September.


– Hairy crabs (大闸蟹 da zhaxie): these crabs are very appreciated in the whole country and the best (and more expensive) come from Yangcheng Lake, between Suzhou and Kunshan. When October arrives, all the fancy restaurants in China serve them at quite a pricey cost. They are very good, to be honest, but I think all the cracking and slurping (as with the crayfish) is quite annoying. Last time I ate them my MIL cracked all the parts open for me and I felt like a small child. The best piece is a yellow/orange part located inside the female crab’s tummy. They are called hairy crabs because they have some kind of hair in their “arms”.


Have you tried any of these foods? Do you like them?