Last week was a Chinese national holiday, and nobody worked for one week. It was kind of a twofer holiday to celebrate the anniversary of Mao's revolution in 1949 and the "mid autumn festival." Many people chose to spend their free time at popular tourist destinations. For the most part the Gerke family chose to stay home, but we did venture out for a day trip in Suzhou...and it went terribly.
|"We've made a huge mistake"|
Even after seeing this crazy picture, we decided to be brave and go to The Humble Administrator's Garden with crying baby in tow. This particular garden is nicknamed "The Not So Humble Administrator's Garden," due to it's impressive size and opulence. It is one of the largest and most popular Chinese gardens in a city full of beautiful Chinese gardens. Here is a picture from Clif's solo visit in October of last year:
That picture is from last year, because we didn't actually go into the garden this year. We made it as close as the gate and decided not to fight the crowds on the narrow garden paths. The line to get tickets was super long but there were people scalping tickets for a $1.57 premium and without the wait. We saw a steady stream of people going in, and not so many coming out...so we swore to come back on a day when everyone else was working.
On the Friday before the holiday, Clif took a vacation day and we happened to visit the same location. On that day, ominous rain clouds sent us home early but it gave a unique perspective of what a holiday can do to crowd density. Here are two pictures, one taken the day before the holiday officially started and the other was taken during the holiday. See if you can guess which is which.
Those pictures were taken at approximately the same location: on the street in front of the garden - not even in the garden itself. There are a lot of people in China, and when they have time to recreate they seem to enjoy doing it in the company of others.
We ended up strolling through the crowd and then calling the driver back to get us - I doubt he even had time to park. He chuckled when we jumped in the van and used one of his few English phrases: "heavy traffic."
For the next holiday we'll leave the country or stay home.