In Kunshan, Yangcheng Lake, we went to the hotel that is built and owned by government in the large lake area. State hotel always has best location.

We came there nearly in the end of the hairy crab season, a specialty in the lake, which is appreciated highly that no boats except for primitive boats of fishermen, with their trained birds, are allowed hunting on the light blue and peaceful lake. The small restaurants cook seasonal crabs to serve tourists, and close when the entire population of small city temporarily moves on the inland to avoid freezing. However, Fairmont Yangcheng Lake hotel stands still while other area has difficulty. Managed by a Canadian hotel chain, it must always be ready for official visit - one block is reserved for officials. Many of them come for dinner suddenly… a half will be canceled later. Hotel staffs rush to prepare, smile and shrug with rapid change at last minute.

Fairmont Yangcheng Lake hotel

Fairmont Yangcheng Lake hotel

They can smile, because in return they have a vast area and unparalleled view by the lake, in a "small" city (1.7 millions) in large Shuzhou, as well as having full heritage of culture and history, a modern business opportunity and the delicious food. It is the best bargain of the hotel owner. In the view of high speed railways, this suburban outpost of Shuzhou is very beautiful with the red roof villas of the rich who work in Shanghai and return home in Kushan. Resort includes one farm suppling 70-80% of the demand of the kitchen, a small beekeeping, a rowing place and a lot of rooms for sports from climbing walls to the 18-hole golf course.

When the sun rises in a cool day, the bees are in the nest, we put some fresh honey in tea. In the two room house of the beekeeper, there is the kitchen where she poured us fresh, sweet soy milk and a multipurpose room where she shared with her family - we have talked a lot about catha tree, dogs, and put our hands around the bowl of bread pudding.

In the fields, rice paddies are moving, many local farmers are working. At dinner, we taste other fruits - jeera aloo (dry fried potatoes with fennel seeds and spicy), which is made with incredible purple potatoes, along with "makhanii" eggplants. Customer will be served gnochhi pumpkin with tomato soup and India spicy. Three Indian modern desserts are followed, gajar ka halwa is excellent, banana potli is amazing, and milk pudding is also delicious.

Right now, on the other side of the beekeeper, you are on a shortest canoe trip in the world to one island that is full of sleepy white rabbits sitting on red-brown leaves, which are flying because of the wind of the Rabbit year. However, the birds in the warehouse on the other side of the honeycomb are considered good thing - do not like their friends finding food on the lake, their throats are not tied and they can catch fish for themselves instead of basing on the owner.

The highlight results of the human efforts and the chasing of power are still the topic of the trip to modern Shuzhou trip in the next morning. Again, we are afraid by the majestic height. The shopping malls has the size of big buildings in Lutyens' Delhi city, the giant glass office buildings and the wide eight-lane intersection make us keep silent in new economy sector.

Far away for 30 minutes driving, in the ancient Suzhou town, we come to the gravel road with humble, more familiar width. The cyclo is brighter than the home cyclo. The famous cake shop of the area sells the cake stuffed pork with hard shell by lard. The vendors invite visitors to buy embroidered handkerchief, the small mobile shirts are made of Shuzhou silk ... etc. All located on Humble Administrator's Garden.

the ancient Suzhou town

The ancient Suzhou town

Originally, this area is home of a scholar of the Song Dynasty, this 13-hectare area is the biggest reason for the reputation of Shuzhou, like Unesco world heritage. As an extreme example of classical Chinese garden, this ambitious park was founded by the king's envoy cum poet Wang Xiancheng in 1513, when he occupied the property from one monastery. Many roads meander around the garden; finally, most will lead you to the seat of "happiness in all directions" - a modest house with one door each side, a window in the middle and a semicircle traditional long chair, a stream flows into a quiet lake.

It is reasonable that the locals think a sight is worth. This is true with Zhouzhuang. 1000 years old and is probably the most famous "water city" of China, it owns the name "Venice of the East", despite other competitors also compete this title, including some at our home country. Founded as a halt in upstream from Shanghai port, this small village still uses waterway for trade.

Tourists enjoying a boat tour through Zhouzhuang's ancient canals

Tourists enjoying a boat tour through Zhouzhuang's ancient canals

Tourism brings much money. This place is not only beautiful with many canals, which are crossing by small stone bridges and rounded gates, suspended with the willow trees, decorated with lanterns. The women sell shrimp and crab harvested from canals and dried fish. The barges still carry vegetables to the kitchen. Some houses are turned into teahouses. The ancient houses of the rich in the past are still available for tourists to visit.

At the top is the house of Shen Wansan, Jiangsu's first millionaire. Actually, his house has many halls. In addition to living areas and kitchen, courtyards and corridors, the altar of wealth god and Confucius. Kitchen steamed dumplings for you to eat, as the tour of this house is very long.
Outside, there are pumpkins with drawings (the cover is scrawled characters when they are young to keep the scars), the Buddha is painted in peanut shells, the drawings (or photos) of the bridges, dragons, roosters and straw locusts, gloves, scarves and other things to buy - it likes any market in the country, a little bit flashy and expensive, and a little interesting.

However, there are many things can not be defeated in Kunshan. Such as opera. Kunqu is one of the oldest forms (600 years old), the mother of opera and perhaps godmother of Italian opera. The recent recovery efforts have witnessed the foundation of Kun opera museum in Tinglin park, which also contains three treasures of Kunshan - the Kun jewel, Chinese hydrangea and Tinh De lotus. So does the Qiandeng ancient town, the Ming and Qing buildings has 80 thousand square meters in wide, is the largest flower center of China. About agriculture, there is a long controversy between China and Japan about the first country where planted rice - the latest architectural excavations discovered the rice fields of the Neolithic in Chuodun, it proved that Kunshan may be the rice granary of the world.

The women sell shrimp and crab harvested from canals and dried fish.

The women sell shrimp and crab harvested from canals and dried fish.

However, at the bottom of my happiness cup, there is still Chinese crab. Female crab has roe, male crab has sharper shell with more meat, so you should eat both. However, I have not eaten any crab in 2220 tonnes mined from the lake during spawning season in Yangtze, which is announced by the chef.

Locals agree that I have attractive reason to come back in May, just as the terns and the rain will come in the spring.

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