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Yesterday, my wife Laura and I took our kids to Suzhou, a city of roughly 4 million people, on the shores of Taihu Lake in Eastern China. Suzhou has been dubbed the “Venice of the East” due to it’s canals and it’s rank as a top tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site. We spent the day admiring the many pagodas and gardens in the city and at Tiger Hill, we met these two elderly ladies.

There have been numerous studies citing the importance of friendship to health and quality of life and these ladies were living proof. They were well into their nineties and they easily climbed up the numerous steps to the hill-top pagoda. It was clear from their banter and obvious affection for each other that they had been dear friends for a long time. They joked with us and played a Chinese version of peek-a-boo with our 5 month old daughter who giggled with glee when the ladies pinched her chubby thighs.

It is very refreshing to see elders living fit and happy in advanced age and I suspect that for these ladies, their strong friendship had something to do with their longevity. As we made our way back to the parking lot and met our driver who we had hired for the day, my jaw dropped as I saw the ladies hop nimbly onto a single bicycle and pedal off into the insane traffic that is a hallmark of urban China!

My best,

Thomas


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