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Monday, April 2, 2012

Day 4

April 1st 2012—

We started out the day at 9:00am. Our first destination was The Humble Administrator’s Garden located in the Jiangsu Province in the South of China. It was initially a private garden of a former government servant, Wang Xianchen. Built in 1509 during the Ming Dynasty, the garden was built to simply enjoy life. A pagoda was located in the center of the garden. Each one of its corner resembled one of the four seasons. As most of the other attractions we’ve seen on our trip, many of the tourists were from other parts of China.  There was even a large group of small school children that appeared to be visiting on a field trip.  We were surprised to see them there on a Sunday when typically there is no school.  However, many Shanghai families will be celebrating an important Chinese holiday tomorrow and many children attended school today to compensate for this time

Our next stop was the Suzhou No. 1 Silk Factory Co., LTD.  After a quick lunch, we were given a tour of the factory and were taught about the extensive process of silk production.  One of the first things we learned was how to distinguish between real silk and a blend of polyester and silk.  The three techniques we learned included burning and breathing on the fabric. When silk is burned, it produces a white smoke and smells like burning hair. Polyester, on the other hand, produces black smoke and causes the fabric to curl.   Silk is known for keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer and this can be demonstrated by breathing through the fabric onto the skin underneath.  If your breath feels cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you know you’re dealing with real silk.  The worker giving us the tour believed silk cured many ailments such as arthritis and asthma.

Our last visit of the day was to the Water Tower which consisted of six famous towers above six rivers. It became famous after a young artist did an oil painting of the location.  A famous individual in the U.S. purchased the painting at an art exhibition, and the location was later featured in several movies such as Mission Impossible 3. The Water Tower is known as the Venice of the East due to its similar appearance. Various shops selling jewelry, food, and souvenirs line the water on both sides. Many of these shops are owned by families who live in apartments above them.

We returned to the hotel early and were given the opportunity to explore around the Langham Hotel, a very young and social area where many known retailers, such as Louis Vuitton, Apple, and Cartier dominated the area. This was such an amazing experience. Thank you Kohl’s for providing us such a great opportunity.

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