Suzhou IFS Center > 452 mtr

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Suzhou IFS Center is making progress. When finished it will be the highest skyscraper in Suzhou and one of the highest in China with its 452 mtr height. It will be a fitting partner for the ‘Gate to the Orient’ on the other side of Jinji Lake with its 302 mtr height: yin and yang. Nevertheless I do wonder who is going to use all that office space…

Houses for sale!

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Real estate sellers a plenty around Dianshan Lake. Dozens of young suited up boys & girls wander on highways, crossings and exits,handing out flyers advertising apartments and houses. They present a danger to themselves and car drivers.

Imagine people in a suit with a waving sign, walking up to you in the Netherlands just as you exit highway with 80 km an hour! Somehow they remind of the zombies from The Walking Dead. Connection between consumer society and zombies anyone? There are many unoccupied new houses around the area. The property market is in stagnation. God forbid what happens to the Chinese economy when it collapses. Continue reading

iMac frogs

After entering Auchan in Suzhou, my attention was immediately caught by the new aquaria. One of them contained small coloured frogs (the good old iMac 1950s pastel combinations) that were for sale. Is it a colouring agent in their food, or were they submerged in paint? What do animal activists make of this? They also might take a look at the frogs, toads and turtles for consumption purposes at the other side of the store . . . once I even saw a shopping card with a moving plastic bag: toad inside!After entering the small Auchan in Suzhou, my attention was immediately caught by the new aquaria. One of them contained small coloured frogs (the good old iMac 1950s pastel combinations) that were for sale. Is it a colouring agent in their food, or were they earlier submerged in paint? I wonder what animal activists would make of this. They also might take a look at the frogs, toads and turtles at the other side of the store for consumption purposes. . . once I even saw a shopping cart with a moving plastic bag in it: toad inside!

Chinese package deliverer

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How to get back money from university without Fapiao (an official receipt)? You can’t, which I forgot when I ordered new materials for my department. The supplier had to make and sent a new receipt by mail. Since I was not in when it was delivered I had to pick it up at the transporters.

All transporters were holding court behind the shopping mall near the university. Some of them on the street, the more official in run down basements. It looks chaotic but somehow it works. It is still not clear to me how the delivery systems exactly functions. I got my receipt : ) Continue reading

Sweet Osmanthus

Suzhou-Osmanthus-01aI arrived last June with a cab from the airport. Through the open window I smelt unfamiliar odours originating from the many construction works we passed by. They were not likeable, and over time the smells disappeared.

Now I smell Osmanthus. It is a shrub that is indigenous in Asia and is flowering. Its scent led me to it. It is sweet and typical and invades bathroom windows, restaurants, workplaces, highways, nothing remains the same. Suzhou made Osmanthus their city flower.

Some people use the flowers to flavour their food. I once bought Osmanthus tea in the Netherlands at Simon Levelt but found the smell too weird. It fits here and I like it. Makes me wonder whether Dutch cities have city flowers. After all we are famous for being enthusiastic growers!