September 29th, 2011, 4:17 pm PDT by Greg

We have now had our first full day in Hangzhou (plus an afternoon after the flight). With apologies to the Beijingers out there: it’s better here.

Wednesday night (after the flight), we took a walk around the city: north along the lakeshore and back through the city. Somewhere in there, we realized we were all hungry and found this fast food place upstairs (at Yan’an and Qingchun roads for anybody keeping score).

When we went in, it was immediately obvious to Oli and I that ordering was impossible: you seemed to have to buy tickets (from a Chinese-text-only menu) and then go to the prep area and give them your tickets to get food. The text-only menu was a dealbreaker for us and we suggested moving on.

Kat and Tina went up to the food-getting area and started pointing at things. Some dude that worked there took pity on them, led them to the cashier, ordered the things they had pointed at, and took them back to get food.

Oli and I were left thinking “what the hell just happened? Why are we eating?” Then they somehow ordered seconds.

This illustrated the strategic difference between our coping strategies. I want to have a plan, like I did with the great wall driver: I’ll translate “lunch noodles” and then reply “yes” to whatever he says next. Kat is much more comfortable going in guns-blazing (with a note pinned to her chest that says “sorry I don’t understand Chinese”). I believe these strategies are complementary.

Other than that, good first day here: paddle around the lake and tour of the tea fields (by taxi). It’s pouring rain and I was really a lot wetter than I was comfortable with yesterday, and today promises more of the same.

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