September 22: Suzhou is a city of seven million people known as the Venice of China, maybe someday but not really. The city is known for its gardens and old luxury homes, we toured one of those homes today and viewed the gardens. Later in the day we went to a silk factory and learned how silk in made from the silk worm, to the mulberry tree, to the mill, to cloth. It was quite interesting and educational; of course this was all followed by a huge gift shop selling everything silk. We finished the afternoon with a boat ride through the city’s canals taking us into old town. Nita and I and Michael and Marcia then caught a cab and went to the city center and commingled with the locals out for a day of shopping. Four two hours we only saw two other Caucasians in the streets. For those two hours we were the attraction. Mothers brought their children to us to practice their English, people wanted to shake our hands to touch us, a boy put on a demonstration of his inline skating skills to entertain us. We went into stores that were not normally visited by foreigners and communicated our needs with the aid of sign language and the few words of Chinese that we could speak. Back at our hotel we found a Chinese wedding reception going on, our guide Rosie in Urumqi had educated us on the courting and wedding procedures of the Chinese so it was neat to see the customs unfold. Tomorrow morning we leave for two days in Shanghai.