Hangzhou, day 2

April 16th, 2009, 7:53 am PST by Greg

My turn to write an update…

We started today by happening to find the same cab driver as yesterday. His total English consisted of “Hello” and “Welcome to Hangzhou”. To be fair, that’s more English than we had Mandarin to offer, so good for him.

With a complicated series of hand gestures and pointing, we managed to communicate that we wanted to go back to the silk market, and that he was pretty sure we should go and drink some tea (at the place where he gets a kickback, I assume). With an even more complicated series of hand gestures, we decided to spend two hours at the silk market, then he would meet us to go to the tea thing.

The silk market was properly open this time, so we got a bunch of stuff.

The tea place was basically a tea tasting in somebody’s house (where the whole little village seems to be dedicated to this industry) and then getting the squeeze to overpay for some of the local (and apparently very high quality) tea. We totally overpayed for some tea, and everybody was happy.

Then we headed to Zhejiang University, the other half of our Dual Degree Program.

We met Xiaolan, the staff member who oversees the DDP from the ZU side. She took us to Baoshi Hill, to the north of West Lake. Nobody had mentioned this hill to us before and it’s not big in the guide books we’ve seen, so I’m going to say it’s totally underrated: there was a stunning view of the West Lake and the city. Even though the day was a little overcast, it was worth the climb. [KS: This place is totally in the guide book. There is a pagoda on the hill that we also saw. The view was totally worth the multitude of stairs!]

We met up with Qing (CS instructor and woman who Janice is staying with) for dinner at a restaurant I didn’t catch the name of, but was obviously an upscale kind of place. The food was entirely unlike anything we have had before, but it was unbelievably good. I had come to think that you could pretty much sample the food of China in Vancouver, but I was obviously wrong (or haven’t looked hard enough for Hangzhou/Zhejiang food). [Edit: the restaurant was called “Zui Bai Lou” and is on Dragon Well Road in Hangzhou.]

Then Qing took us for a drive around West Lake at night and back to the hotel. Xiaolan and Qing were excellent hosts and wonderful people to spend the afternoon with.

Hangzhou summary: two days isn’t enough, but you can pack a lot into two days if you try.

A few more pictures up.

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