Since I started working at Roku, I’ve been anticipating that eventually I would get shipped to Asia for some sort of business trip.  That’s just what happens when you work at a small company in the consumer electronics industry, where all the big companies are Japanese and the manufacturing is all done in Taiwan, China or Malaysia.  Sure enough, on Wednesday, April 5 it began to look like I’d be going to China, and on Tuesday the 11th I was on an airplane!
Since this was one of those last-minute kinds of trips, I had no time to plan.  It being a business trip, I have also had limited time to sight-see.  But, I did bring my cameras.  So far, I’ve been able to get a little exploring in, and managed to snap some nice shots.  (The shot above, by the way, was my attempt to snap a pic of a really cool lighted bridge from the car.  Sometimes the accidents turn out better than what you planned.)  
iWeb only allows 99 photos per page, so there are more pictures on page 2.
Thanks to my flight routing through Japan, I plan to stop in Tokyo for four days on the way back.  Those photos will be on their own page.
My flight went via Narita (Tokyo, Japan).  This is the first sight of land in 12 hours...
Welcome to Japan
Shanghai’s Pudong Airport is pretty impressive.
At my hotel in Tongli Town, near Suzhou.  Definitely not in Kansas anymore!
This is the Tongli Lakeview Hotel, in Tongli Town, P.R.C.
On the way to the Tatung factory.  The lady was there every day selling produce.
Construction is happening all over the Wujiang area. Note the bamboo scaffolding!
Many new factories are being built.  Dozens.  It’s hard to shoot level from a moving car.
Arriving at the Tatung factory.
The dormitory at Tatung, to house foreign workers.  It also housed the cafeteria.
Walking into the factory.  That’s Urs from Soundmatters on the left, and Bruce from Tatung on the right.
Max had a problem with his foot, so Delia and Bruce arranged alternative transport.
Me, in the Suzhou historic district
Also in Suzhou.  The area was largely closed, so I’m not sure what this was...
Suzhou is a city of canals, and one runs through the historic district.
Now we are in a different area of Suzhou, in a park by the river.
An ancient city gate, I’m told
This is the garden at the Sheraton in Suzhou, where we went for tea.
This building is on the hotel grounds, right at the shore.  It’s a modern building, but built in a traditional style.
The Tongli Lakeview Hotel really is on a lake!  This view is from the upper floor of that lakeshore building.
Also from the upper floor, looking across the lake.
Again from the upper floor, looking towards a cluster of houses.
More detail of the houses.
I really liked the colors in these rocks, and I thought the bridge was neat too.
Same rocks, same bridge.  Different framing.
Maybe I should have been a geologist or something.
I don’t know if it’s because the hotel is new, but practically every tree was braced with bamboo
There was what looked like a fountain between the hotel and the lake, but no water was running at the time.
What I liked about the fountain was that its floodlights were all LED.  They’re pretty energy conscious in China.
I liked this perspective, and how the tree shows between the columns.
A picture with people in it.  Well, a person, anyway.  I have no idea what this gentleman was doing.
The appropriately-named Zig-Zag bridge, on the hotel grounds.
Yours truly, on the Zig Zag bridge with the hotel in the background.
They have a real appreciation for interesting rock formations in this area.  There were several featured at the hotel.
Yours truly, with a stony friend.
More self-portraiture with geology.  The building will be a tea house.
Even mundane objects look cool with ideographs on them.
For some reason, the Chinese despise bugles.
This is the lobby of the hotel.
This is the garden area of the hotel.  My room is on the first floor along the right.
Yup, I am actually working while I’m here.
Working.  But certainly not suffering.  This is the very nice turn-down service provided at the hotel.
This is my room.  It’s very comfortable and well-appointed.  I sleep better in this bed than in my own.
This should give you an idea of the lunacy that is Chinese traffic.  Nobody was stopped.  Note the cops on the right.
Tongli ancient town.  Apparently, we arrived on the opening day of tourist season.
I haven’t seen a modern broom since I’ve been in China.
The opening ceremonies for tourist season brought a lot of people!
Even dragons need a rest.
This was a public exhibition game of go in the town square
One of the two ancient mansions we visited.  These folks lived in style.
The door is tiled with stone.  Pretty nice!
I absolutely loved some of these interior courtyards.  What a tranquil and attractive space.
Or, try this on for size.
The reverse angle
I don’t think I can afford to have my patio done like this.
Pretty plantings abound.
This room overlooked a lovely pond
The pond in question.  This is inside the walls of the estate!
They really do like these dramatic rock formations, and I totally see why.
A slightly different angle on the pond.
How’s that for a pretty tree?
Where there are walls, there are often little windows into neighboring areas.  It really gives a sense of space!
Here’s a clever way to do urban planting.  No in-ground bed.  Just potted flowers.
Tongli is a bit like Venice.  The whole town is built on canals.
And, the canals have steps down to the water.  These serve many purposes, from washing to boat access.
It’s worth emphasizing that this is not just a tourist attraction.  Real people live here.
All along the streets there are these doorways, and every now and then you’d get a glimpse into someone’s home.
Max, Delia and Bruce walking towards our next destination, the “Pearl Pagoda”
A canal intersection
The entry courtyard of the Pearl Pagoda.  This would make an impression, don’t you think?
Evidently a private dock was incredibly opulent and rare.  This is the water gate to the private water lane.
And, the private boat in its house.
Why on Earth have a rectangular door?  This is the right idea, and there was quite a variety.
I shot this because I love the landscaping.
In the central courtyard of the Pearl Pagoda is a manmade mountain of those dramatic rocks, with seating on top.
The view from up top. All of those rooftops are part of the mansion complex.
Also from up top.
Looking back at the mountain from across the water.
Yet another building on the interior pond.
Another lovely interior courtyard.  Not a lot of space, but how pretty!
Max and Delia pose by the bamboo garden.
We didn’t have time to explore all the tantalizing corners.
If you’re going to have a koi pond, don’t screw around.
I’m told that traditionally, the “deeper” a house is, the greater the status of the family.  This house was deep!
A particular dramatic rock feature.
Another one of those beautiful interior spaces.
The kitchen stove.
And, the master bedroom.
The vases were rather impressive.
To give you a sense of scale, that’s a hell of a vase!
I don’t know what this says, but when walking in from outside, the blue letters really appeared to glow in the dark.
This is an overview of the Pearl Pagoda grounds.  The only thing missing was “You are Here”!
I absolutely love this view.  I love how you can see a hint of what lies beyond the doors, tempting you onward.
The writing room.  Check out the super-cool screen patterns in the windows.
Another cool window.
No rectangular doors here.  No way.
A quiet street in Tongli
The info on the Pearl pagoda
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