Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

Homecoming – Suzhou – Part 7

Click here for Part 6:


At 7:15 AM the next morning, Zen Master, Zen Mum and I were in the lobby of the hotel where we met Ms. Lee, our driver and Jacky Chang, our escort to the train station.

HA!  We met Jacky Chang!  Get it?  Jacky Chang?  Jackie Chan?  Jacky Chang?

Okay, so you had to be there.  But he was a cutie!

Ms. Lee took us to the Shanghai Rail Station, while Jacky was there to escort us straight onto the train platform.  I thought it was kind of strange, because why would we need help getting to a train?


Think sardines in a can.  That’s exactly what it was at the train station.  O.M.G.

With my one hand on Jacky, we formed a human chain, where I held on to Jacky, Zen Mum held on to me, and she held on to Zen Master.  He told us to hold on tight and not let go because as we slowly made our way through the mass of bodies, we would have been utterly lost in that unyielding crowd if we became disconnected.  Jacky will forever be my hero.

The train ride was only 1/2 hour and it was our first time on a bullet train.  I don’t know if they called it a bullet train because of its shape, which was sleek and thin, or for its speed. 

But trust me when I say that “bullet train” is an apt description for the speed part because it flew across the landscape.

John, our tour guide, met us at the station and we went to see some of the highlights in the city of Suzhou.

We saw the Pan Gate.  According to Wikipedia, this structure is 2,500 years old. 

This was the view opposite the Gate.

It was a magnificent structure.

John took this picture for us.

Then we went to see this pagoda.  Unfortunately I didn’t write down its name.


Nor did I listen to John when he was telling us its history.  I just remember thinking Oh My.

But the real highlight was the Silk Museum. 

These are the cocoons and the silk threads that are produced from them.

The worms munching on mulberry leaves.  I don’t remember if these were real worms or not, but it was a convincing display.

And here is where they start pupating.   

And then they’re cooked!

At this point, we enter the “kitchen”.

Here is where the cocoons are cooked, cooled and threaded into the rig.  The process is kind of like threading a sewing machine.

Multiple cocoons are threaded and eventually unwound into the spools on top of the machine.

And then the silk threads are further combined through this machine.   In what way, I don’t remember.

In the very very end, what is the result?  Handsome hand-crafted silk clothing.  Fascinating.

I apologize for my lack of recall of critical details, but I was in the Oh My mind fog throughout most of that day.  That’s why I don’t remember if I took this picture at Suzhou or at a museum that we had visited earlier in either Xi’an or Beijing.

I vaguely remember that it was a museum that displayed authentic historical imperial clothing, but I just can’t remember what city it was in.

But I promise that the next time I get a chance to visit such fascinating sights again, I will keep more thorough notes and pictures!

Final stop:  HANGZHOU

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