Saturday, June 7, 2008

China Day 08: From Bullet Trains to Barges

Today we go on an all-day excursion to nearby Suzhou. Suzhou is maybe 50 miles from Shanghai, and we will cover the distance in one of China's famous bullet trains!

Now, this isn't the maglev train that hits 500 KPH (310 MPH) that runs to the airport. We didn't get to go on that one. But this was pretty good; it clocked in at over 150 MPH at its peak.

We left the hotel early (nobody was late to the bus this time; I wonder why...) and headed to the train station:
It was a teensy bit crowded
because today is the first day of one of China's biggest national holidays, the Dragon Boat Festival.
When we got to the train
we spread out among four or five cars to enjoy our ride. They had an electronic sign up front to tell you the approaching stop:
and the speed:
The seat backs also had these nifty little maps of the train compartment:
The train goes all the way to Nanjing, but Suzhou was the second stop. Our entire trip only took maybe half an hour!

When we debarked we were met by June, our perky local guide:
This is in addition to Fred the program director, and Tom the Shanghai guide. I'm getting confused. Anyway, June bore her banner at the head of our cavalcade
leading us to the first treat of the day: a canal boat ride. That's right - we traveled 150 MPH in order to travel at about 5.

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