Short stories & travel reports from a life spent living, working and exploring the globe.
Life in China as an expat can be tough, make no mistake. But for me.. as a veteran of sorts… most of the associated frustrations and challenges are like water off a duck’s back, I’ve become somewhat numb to it. The one time of year that is still really difficult for me is Christmas. I just want to be home with the people who know me best and to indulge in all those childhood treats that my vagabond lifestyle denies me. Unfortunately for Christmas 2018 I couldn’t get back to The UK so I did as best I could under the circumstances by booking a five-day trip away from Ruian, the nondescript Chinese city I live in.
With the scope of reachable places I haven’t already been to rapidly closing in on me, the highly-rated city of Suzhou stood out as an obvious choice. Affectionately nicknamed “the Venice of China”, this buzzing metropolis on the edge of Shanghai is home to a major section of the country’s Grand Canal and is the gateway to a fascinating collection of handsome water towns. It also has some of China’s best preserved gardens, traditional shopping streets and a hugely impressive ancient, stone arch bridge among countless other delights.
To find out how I distracted myself from the disappointment of yet another Christmas away from home, check out my articles on: