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avant-garde_chauvintist wandering through the garden of ideals

To Suzhou! (day 4)

CHINA | Wednesday, 9 July 2008 | Views [784]

I'm impressed.  Not only did Susan show me much more than I'd ever intended to see in her city, but she insisted on paying for most of it.  I'm at a complete loss as to WHY?  If I'd paid for all my couch surfers, I wouldn't be on this trip.  In fact, more often than not, my surfers would pay for ME as a way of paying me back for hosting.  But I couldn't convince her that her way didn't make any sense. 

The city was wonderful, but often it made me feel strange.  It's a much bigger city, but in a lot of ways, it's exactly like Dongyang, the first city I lived in.  Every little thing that reminded me of that town made me feel exactly like I felt during my first month in China. 

Especially the smell.

I'd completely forgotten what China smelled like to the unaccustomed nose.  It must be stronger here.  Each and every time I caught a whiff of "China" (decaying chicken bones mixed with spoiled milk, dog shit, and a little watermelon) I got an ache in my stomach wondering, "Did I do the right thing?"

I'm sure it's just the link between memory and scent (thank you four-year-old Axe commercial), but it was so intense that those long resolved musings about my decision to move to China separated from my content like the silt from the river water of my fifth grade 4-H project.

All in all, Nanjing was a very interesting place to visit.  I think I saw more there than I did in Beijing...And I highly doubt I'll see that much of a city on the rest of my trip.

But a huge thanks to Susan (and her parents) for truly being GREAT hosts!


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