26 July 2010
Trip to Hangzhou (Day 1)
I love this Chinese program I'm in. It's fantastic. Not only do I get to learn Chinese (which is one of passions right now) but also get to experience cultural activities and local trips. This weekend we went to Hangzhou. Pronounced "Hahng-joe" I really love this city. I've heard about it a lot. All my students kept telling me I had to go. They said that Hangzhou has one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in China. The city is well known for the "West Lake" or in Chinese "Xi Hu." There are many lakes called "West Lake" in China but they're all named after this one because it's the most famous. Many ancient writers have written about this lake and many Chinese billionaires retire in nice condos by the shore. The cost of one of these places are about 10 million USA dollars at least. Ouch. You can tell Chinese people love this lake!
The first day, we took a 3 hour bus ride and arrived in Hangzhou. The city of Hangzhou provides thousands of free bicycles for those who want to ride around the lake. They only ask for a deposit and will give it back once you safely bring the bike back. I wanted to do this but it wasn't part of the itinerary so I will come back some time with Ramsey and do it. Also, we took a boat tour on the lake but we took the biggest boat with too many people. I will come back with Ramsey alone and ride one of those tiny raft like boats. But all in all, the tour was really good and well-organized. We went to a lot of temples I wouldn't have thought to go to.
We had lunch by the lake at a traditional Hangzhou restaurant. The dishes reflected the culture of Hangzhou but I felt like there was too much fish!
Then we went to this place called Chenghuang temple. This man who was a judge was a very fair judge and many people loved and respected him. Well one day, he sentenced a gang to prison and somehow they were able to persuade the Emperor to kill him by tarnishing his name somehow and then after the Emperor killed him, the people were very angry and to make amends the Emperor gave him the title of the City God and erected this temple for him.
This place is a great lookout to see wonderful views of the city and lake. This lake is 100% natural, and the water is fresh, because the Ocean cycles new water in continuously because it's connected to a river.
After that, we went to "Old China Street" on He Fang Street--the most famous shopping street that has a bunch of fun souveniers to look at and traditional Hangzhou street food. One cool dish is pineapple with yummy sweet rice cooked in the middle of it. Ramsey bought some peanut brittle that we saw some Chinese men smashing into one flat piece.
We ate a dinner that consisted of way too much fish and then headed back to our hotel. It was a 4 star hotel. Ramsey and I took to the streets to explore and Ramsey bought me a couple pretty bracelets and a small wooden chest.
Posted by V.a.n.e.s.s.a at 7/26/2010 05:24:00 PM