By Donna Evans, President and CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce
The weather in Suzhou was sunny and beautiful. Our first excursion was to the beautiful Lingering Garden. Covering 4 acres, it is one of the four most famous gardens in China. It was constructed in the 21st year of the reign of Wanli under the Ming Dynasty (1593 A.D). The Lingering Garden is celebrated for it’s artistic way of dealing with spaces between various kinds of architectural forms and garden courts. It has a lot of unusual limestone peaks from Lake Tai with interesting shapes. The largest one is 16 feet high and was excavated and moved to the site on 10,000 pounds of crushed green onions to “pave” the way 40 miles to the site. The gardens were beautiful and serene.
Our next stop was a large silk factory where we were shown how silk comes from silkworm eggs that hatch and form silk cocoons. Once the cocoons reach the factory, the silk is spun onto spools by a large machine, dried and stretched numerous times and then shipped to companies to make garments and household items. They had beautiful items in the store and many of us were compelled to contribute to the local economy. Then we headed to Hangzhou. There is a lot of farmland on the way with very large homes on the land.
In the evening the Hangzhou municipal government gave us an amazing banquet with an overview of their economic goals. They are very interested in partnering with U.S. businesses interested in having a presence in Hangzhou.
Tomorrow we visit the Lingyin Temple, the main feature is a 64.3 ft-high camphor-wood carved Buddha and then we will go to the Dragon Well Green Tea Plantation. Then on to lunch next to West Lake and take a cruise on the lake with stopovers at the jewel-like pagodas. Afterward we take a late afternoon bus trip to Shanghai.
Tips if you go:
Business cards–If you give out your business card, do so with both hands, careful not to cover your name with your fingers, and present with your name facing forward.
Toast–To properly toast, make sure that your glass is lower than who you are toasting when the glasses touch to show them respect and look them in the eye.
Language–Learn a few words of Chinese like please, how are you, no thank you (for the street vendors) and bathroom.