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这是一篇时间跨度为几年的回忆性日记,最早的一篇有4、5年了

SCULPTURES AROUND THE LAKE

1.湖边的雕塑



In the parks around Jinji Lake there are many sculptures. Some of them are abstract, some of them are not; some of them look very nice and others make you wonder what the artist was thinking when he created them. Let me show you some of them (these are not the official sculpture names, I made them up).

在金鸡湖周围的公园里有许多雕塑。有些是抽象的,有些不是;有些看起来很漂亮,有些让你想知道艺术家在创作这些作品时是怎么想的。让我给你看看其中的一些(这些不是官方的雕塑名称,是我自己起的)。



Two Huge Drops of Water: this is one of my favourite Jinji Lake sculptures. The shiny metallic surface reflects the surroundings. You can also see the Suzhou Pants building in the background.

两大滴水:这是我最喜欢的金鸡湖雕塑之一。闪亮的金属表面反射着周围的环境。你还可以在背景中看到苏州裤衩大楼。



Pink Flamingos: it would be nicer if they were real but unfortunately they are not!

粉红色的火烈鸟:如果它们是真的就更好了,但不幸的是它们不是!



Giant Rainbow-Ant: this one is also shiny and metallic, and reflect many colours when it is sunny.

巨型彩虹蚂蚁:这一个也是有光泽和金属表面,在阳光灿烂的时候反射出许多颜色。



Monkeys on the Phone: this is one of the WTFs. What does this mean? It is not even beautiful…

猴子打电话:这是最无语的一个。这有什么寓意?一点都不漂亮。



Skaters: around the boardwalk on the east side of the lake there several sculptures depicting humans. The skaters are one of them. Fun fact: I don’t think boardskating is allowed here for real humans.

滑板爱好者:在湖东侧的木板路周围,有几个刻画人类的雕塑。滑板爱好者就是其中之一。有趣的是,我认为这里是不允许玩滑板的。



Leaf Boat: at least this one is related to the lake!

叶子船:至少这一个和湖有关!



And finally, a guessing game! Do you know who these two guys are? Hint: they are from Spain!

最后是一个猜谜游戏!你知道这两个人是谁吗?提示:他们来自西班牙!

Guess!

猜猜看!

The one in the middle is obviously me. I had to take a picture with my countrymen!

中间的那个显然是我。我不得不和我的同胞们合影!

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MY FIRST TIME IN SUZHOU

2.我第一次来苏州



I have something to confess: the first time I visited Suzhou I didn’t like it at all. It was hot (and it was only the first week of May!), it was humid,and my hostel room had bugs, including one that had the courtesy of waking me up by taking a walk on my face.

我得承认:我第一次来苏州的时候一点也不喜欢这里。这里天气很热(而且这还只是五月的第一个星期!)还很潮湿,我的旅社房间里有虫子,其中有一只在我脸上散步,礼貌地叫醒了我。

I traveled to Suzhou and Shanghai from Beijing during the May holidays with two Korean classmates. A few years ago there was one week of holidays at the beginning of May, now you can count yourself lucky if you get 3 days in a row (May 1 plus the weekend). We went by train. There were no fast trains and the journey was 12 hours.

五一假期期间,我和两个韩国同学从北京到苏州和上海旅游。几年前,五月初有一个星期的假期,而现在如果能有连续3天(5月1日加上周末),你就算是幸运的了。我们坐火车去的。这里没有高速列车,需要坐12小时。



I don''t think this is legal. Or safe.

我不认为这是合法的,也不安全。

My first visit to Suzhou was definitely not among my favourite trips, and the city itself was in no way among my preferred cities in China. If I had chosen myself, I would have probably never moved there so I would have never met C. But destiny, or 缘分 yuanfen, had other plans for me. Now, after a few years living in Suzhou, I like it. It is a nice city. People are not rude, if anything, less talkative than in the north. Summers have been bearable. And I never had a bug running over my face again.

我第一次去苏州肯定不是我最喜欢的旅行之一,这个城市本身也绝不是我最喜欢的中国城市之一。如果要我选择,我可能永远不会搬到那里,那我也永远不会遇见C.。但是命运对我另有安排。现在在苏州住了几年之后,我喜欢上了这里。这是一个美丽的城市。人们并不粗鲁,如果说有什么区别的话,那就是不像北方人那么健谈。夏天还是可以忍受的。再也没有虫子在我脸上爬来爬去。

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BARBECUE SEASON

3.烧烤的季节



When I was 18 or 19 I went on a road trip through Ireland with my family. It was cloudy and raining most of the time, as it is usual there, but one day the sun started shining in Dublin. We were visiting a college or some place with a garden, and many people went to that garden and lied in the sun, wearing shorts and tank tops. I am from southern Spain and we have sunny days almost always, so I thought it was very funny that these people were so happy to see the sun that they would leave everything they were doing aside and go outside to enjoy the day.

在我18或19岁的时候,我和我的家人一起自驾游去爱尔兰。和往常一样,那里大部分时间都是阴天,下着雨,但有一天太阳开始照耀都柏林。我们参观了一所大学和某个有花园的地方,许多人穿着短裤和背心去那个花园,躺在阳光下晒太阳。我来自西班牙南部,我们几乎总是拥有有阳光的日子,所以我觉得很有趣,因为这些人看到太阳非常高兴,他们会把所有的事情都丢在一边,到外面去享受这一天。

Then I came to China and I experienced something similar.

然后我来到中国,经历了类似的事情。

I live in the Yangtze delta area, a place that is not exactly famous for its nice weather: winters are long, cold and humid and summers are long, hot and humid. Spring and autumn are almost non existent. You will probably be wearing long underwear and down jacket one week, and be sweating in short sleeves the next.

我住在长江三角洲地区,那里的天气并不是很好:冬天很漫长,寒冷潮湿,夏天很漫长,炎热潮湿。几乎不存在春天和秋天。你可能上一个星期还穿着长袖内衣和羽绒服,下一个星期穿着短袖都会出汗。



When Chinese people go to the park to spend the day they do something that I think it is very weird: they bring a tent. I can’t understand why someone would go outside to enjoy a beautiful day and then spend it melting inside a tent. It must have to do with the fact that Chinese people don’t like being in the sun because they hate getting tanned (it makes you look like a peasant).

当中国人去公园度过这一天的时候,他们做了一件我认为很奇怪的事情:他们带了一个帐篷。我不能理解为什么有人会出去享受美好的一天,然后却在帐篷里度过。这一定与中国人不喜欢晒太阳有关,因为他们讨厌晒黑(晒太阳会让你看起来像个农民)。

This time our relaxing day was kind of “spoiled” by a family located four or five trees to the left, who decided that it was a great idea to bring a portable karaoke machine. The daughter, who must have been 10 or 11, was singing the whole time. And no, she couldn’t sing at all. And yes, she sang “Little Apple”. I thought about recording a video but I didn’t want to torture you.

这一次,我们轻松的一天被左边四五棵树下的一家人破坏了,他们觉得带一台便携式卡拉ok机是个不错的主意。他们的那个女儿,大概10岁或者11岁,一直在唱歌。不,她根本不会唱歌。是的,她唱的是“小苹果”。我想过录一段视频,但我不想折磨你。

A day barbecueing outside cannot be complete without a kite. In Spain, kites are something kids play with when they are in the beach, but they are not very popular. In China, kites are a serious matter and more for adults than for kids. Me? I have never flown a kite. It is like fishing, I just don’t get it.

如果没有风筝,在户外烧烤的一天就不完整。在西班牙,孩子们在海滩上玩风筝,但是风筝并不受欢迎。在中国,放风筝是一件很严肃的事情,对成年人来说更是如此。我?我从来没放过风筝。就像是钓鱼,我就是搞不明白。

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A WALK AROUND SUZHOU ALLEYS

4.漫步苏州小巷



We are having a very weird summer. While in Europe and the US everybody is suffering a heat wave, here in Shanghai / Suzhou we are having a cool wave. It is July already and right now it is 17 degrees. I had never seen anything like this in all of my years in China, but I don’t complain because I seriously hate the typical Shanghai summer with 35ºC and 95% humidity. So god bless rain and cool weather!

我们正在经历一个非常奇怪的夏天。在欧洲和美国,每个人都在遭受热浪的袭击,而在苏州和上海,我们却在经历一场寒潮的袭击。现在已经是7月了,却只有17度。我在中国的这些年里从来没有见过这样的景象,但我没有抱怨,因为我真的很讨厌上海典型的35摄氏度和95%湿度的夏天。所以上帝保佑,继续下雨,保持凉爽的天气!

The only negative side of this cool weather is that I haven’t been able to go to the outdoor swimming pool yet, so it looks the 30 day pass that we bought last year and only used 7 times will not be spent this year either. My last weekends have been pretty boring, mostly staying at home. And the more I stay at home, the lazier I become and the less things I do. And this spiral is getting out of control!

这个凉爽的天气唯一的负面影响是我不能去室外游泳池了,我们去年买的30天通行证,只用了7次,看起来今年也不会用了。我以前的周末都过得很无聊,大部分时间都是呆在家里。我呆在家里的时间越长,我就变得越懒,做的事情也就越少。这简直是恶性循环!

Yesterday we had to go bring some things to C.’s parents. As it was not raining on that particular moment, we decided to make the most of trip and take a walk around the neighbourhood. C.’s parent live in an alley in the center of Suzhou, not far from Guanqian Street, the pedestrian shopping avenue. Their particular street is not very beautiful because it has been taken over by garbage collectors and recyclers, so both sides are full of metal scraps, carton boxes and other trash that they pick and sell. But other streets around are nicer and give an impression of how Suzhou was a few decades ago. C. wanted to show me the way to his primary and high school, as he grew up in that area.

昨天我们要把一些东西带给C.的父母。由于那天没有下雨,我们决定充分利用这一天的时间,在附近散散步。父母住在苏州市中心的一条小巷里,离步行购物的观前街不远。他们住的那条街不是很漂亮,因为它已经被垃圾回收者占领了,所以两边都是金属碎片,纸箱和其他他们收集来卖的垃圾。但是周围的其他街道很漂亮,给人一种几十年前苏州的印象。C.想带我去看他的小学和高中,因为他是在那个地区长大的。



The houses remind me of Beijing hutongs. If you enter through the front door, you will find yourself in a narrower alley that zigzags around many small houses.Most of the people living here are old Suzhounese people or migrants that only want a small space and a cheap rent.

这些房子让我想起了北京的胡同。如果你从前门进去,你会发现自己身处一条狭窄的小巷,在许多小房子周围蜿蜒曲折。住在这里的人大多是老苏州人或外地人,他们只想要一个小空间,租金也要便宜。



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SEASONAL FOODS IN SUZHOU

5.苏州时令食品

After spending several years in Suzhou I noticed that you can guess which month of the year it is without looking at a calendar: you only need to check which fruits are being sold in the markets, or what foods are eating the customers of the restaurants with tables on the street. Many of these products can also be found in other parts of China, of course, but I have never seen people in Beijing or Shanghai raving so much about seasonal products. In Suzhou, you know the second half of May has arrived because you step into the subway and everybody is carrying baskets with loquats; or you realize autumn is here because all the restaurants offer hairy crabs in their menu. So, what are the favourite seasonal products in Suzhou? Here’s the list I compiled:

在苏州生活了几年之后,我注意到你不用看日历就能猜出现在是一年中的哪个月份:你只需要看看市场上卖的是什么水果,或者街上餐馆的顾客吃的是什么食物就知道了。当然,其中许多产品在中国其他地方也能找到,但我从未见过北京或上海的人对时令食品如此赞不绝口。在苏州,你知道5月的下半月已经到来,因为你走进地铁,发现每个人都提着装着枇杷的篮子;或者你意识到秋天已经到来,因为所有餐馆的菜单上都有大闸蟹。那么,苏州最受欢迎的时令食品是什么呢?以下是我列出的清单:



– Crayfish (小龙虾 xiao longxia): their Chinese name literally means “small lobster”. They start appearing at the end of April and are a big favourite in the small street restaurants. There is one such place right next to my apartment in Shanghai and it is always full. The crayfish are bright red and smell really good! However I was a tad disappointed when I tried them: they are very spicy! So spicy you don’t really get to taste their true flavour (so I guess this means it is not too good). Also, the amount of meat you get is not too much; half of the crayfish is the head! Eating crayfish is definitely a pain in the ass, as you have you crack and slurp and the reward is not that great. People usually eat them with plastic gloves to avoid getting (too) dirty and there is always a basin in the middle of the table to throw the shells in.

小龙虾:它们的中文名字的字面意思是“小龙虾”。它们在4月底开始出现,在小街上的餐馆里很受欢迎。在我上海的公寓旁边就有一个这样的地方,而且总是人满为患。小龙虾是鲜红色的,闻起来很香。然而,当我尝试吃它们的时候,我有点失望:它们太辣了,以至于你不能品尝到它们的真正味道(所以我猜这意味着它的真正味道不是太好)同时,你能吃到的肉也不是太多,因为它的一半都是头!吃小龙虾绝对是一件痛苦的事情,因为你在吃的时候会发出啜吸的声音,而且也吃不到什么东西。人们通常戴着塑料手套吃,以免手被弄得太脏,而且桌子中间总有一个盆可以把壳扔进去。

– Loquat (枇杷 pipa): I think this fruit can also be found in Spain but I had never tried it. The season starts in mid May and only lasts for 2 or 3 weeks. Craziness ensues: there is a mountain close to Suzhou with a lot of loquat tree plantations and on the weekends the road there is completely jammed with families and groups of friends driving to the mountain to pick loquats. The peasants from that area have a great business: they grow trees and the city people pay to pick their fruit, so peasants save some time and earn some money! I have never done that. I have never bought loquats either as there is no need: I always get free ones from C.’s company. Many companies give loquats to their customers and employees during the season.

枇杷:我想这种水果在西班牙也可以找到,但是我从来没有吃过。它的季节在5月中旬开始,只持续2到3个星期。疯狂的事情接踵而至:苏州附近有一座山,那里有很多枇杷种植园,周末,路上挤满了人,无数的家庭和他们的朋友开车去山上采枇杷。那个地区的农民生意兴隆:他们种树,城里人花钱采摘水果,所以农民既节省了时间,又赚到了钱。我从来没有这样做过,我也从来没有买过枇杷,因为没有必要,因为C.总是会从公司带回来许多免费的。许多公司在节日期间会给他们的客户和员工赠送枇杷。



– Sticky rice wrapped in a leaf (粽子 zongzi): they start being sold at the end of May but are traditionally eaten during the Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 duanwu jie), a festivity that is normally around mid June. There are sweet zongzi and salty zongzi; the sweet ones have a filling of red bean and the salty ones have meat and boiled egg. I am a big fan of sticky rice in all of its delicious forms so of course I love zongzi! My favourite are the salty ones. I have been dreaming about them for several months already, I can’t wait for the season to start! In my previous company we would always be given a few zongzi the day before the Dragon Boat Festival.

粽子:它们是用糯米做的,包在一片叶子里。它们在5月底开始出售,但传统是在端午节期间吃,这个节日通常在6月中旬左右。粽子分为甜粽子和咸粽子,甜粽子有红豆粽,咸粽子有肉粽和鸡蛋粽。我是粽子的超级粉丝,所以我当然喜欢吃粽子。我最喜欢吃的是咸粽子,我已经梦想吃它们好几个月了,我等不及新一轮粽子季的开始了。在我以前的公司,我们总是在端午节的前一天得到一些粽子。

C.’s grandma does them herself and last year she tried to teach me how to wrap them. It is more complicated than it looks! But I think I got one right at least.

这些粽子都是C.的奶奶自己做的,去年她还试着教我怎么做,这比看起来要复杂得多。但我想我至少完成了一个。



– “Chicken-head rice” (鸡头米 jitoumi): such an interesting name comes from the shape of these seeds, round with a small beak-like protuberance. I have no idea if it has an official name in English! According to wikipedia they are the seeds of a water lily. They are cooked in a sweet soup and are soft but a little chewy. I love them! Their season is around September.

“鸡头米”:这样一个有趣的名字来源于这些种子的形状,它们长得圆圆的,有一个小的喙状突起。我不知道它是否有一个正式的英文名称。根据维基百科,它们是睡莲的种子它们是在甜汤里煮的,吃起来软软的,但是很有嚼劲。我很爱吃它们,它们的季节大约是在9月。

– Hairy crabs (大闸蟹 da zhaxie): these crabs are very appreciated in the whole country and the best (and more expensive) come from Yangcheng Lake, between Suzhou and Kunshan. When October arrives, all the fancy restaurants in China serve them at quite a pricey cost. They are very good, to be honest, but I think all the cracking and slurping (as with the crayfish) is quite annoying. Last time I ate them my MIL cracked all the parts open for me and I felt like a small child. The best piece is a yellow/orange part located inside the female crab’s tummy. They are called hairy crabs because they have some kind of hair in their “arms”.

大闸蟹:这些螃蟹在全国都很受欢迎,最好的(也更贵)的大闸蟹来自在苏州和昆山之间的阳澄湖。每当10月到来时,中国所有的高档餐厅都会以相当昂贵的价格供应它们。说实话,它们非常好吃,但我觉得所有这些掰碎它们的噼啪声和吃东西的啜吸声(就像吃小龙虾一样)都很烦人。上次我吃的时候,我的婆婆把所有的部分都给我打开了,我觉得自己像个小孩子。最好的部分是位于雌蟹肚子里的黄色/橙色部分。它们之所以被称为大闸蟹,是因为它们的“胳膊”上有一些毛。

Have you tried any of these foods? Do you like them?

你吃过这些食物吗?你喜欢吃吗?