Monday, April 11, 2011

Hangzhou

Since we had a 3 day weekend for some Chinese holiday,I took a day trip to Hangzhou, which is a pretty city about an hour and a half south of Shanghai and where the other half of my cohort lives. Known for the famous West Lake, it is noted as one of the most beautiful cities in China. Having only been there once for less than 18 hours to attend a dinner in the fall, I went with Kirsti, Paulette, Sherry and Annie to actually see the city and the West Lake, not to mention some of the other members of the Cohort. Once in Hangzhou, it was a mad house, filled with tourists, who also wanted to see the West Lake on this beautiful sunny day. We hopped on a bus from the train station which was supposed to take us four stops to the lake, but since the traffic was so bad, after an hour on the bus and only going two stops, we decided we could walk must faster than the bus. We were supposed to meet up with our friends Mo, Jared and Phyllis who were waiting at the lake but that also turned into an adventure in itself. Overflowing with tourists, the lake was definitely a hot spot. Everywhere you looked there were people walking and taking pictures. The girls wanted to get Starbucks and there was one somewhere near the lake so we told Mo, Jared and Phyllis to meet us there. I should have known better than to take directions from women, as we went the complete opposite way and even backtracked multiple times. In what should have been a 10-minute walk, turned into almost and hour and a half trek. No worries, though I was able to take in the beautiful scenery and snap some photos of it.
            I also encounter another ridiculous scuffle with an Asian. As the streets and walkways were filled with pedestrians, some idiot decided it would be a good idea to ride his bike even though there was no room to maneuver a bike yet alone walk. He ended up rolling over my foot without apologizing and giggled as he rode on, so I did the only sensible thing I could think of to show him that his actions were unacceptable. Yes I could have screamed at him or dropped a few profanities or even have brushed it off, but instead I decided to kick the back tire of his bike, making him fall off into the crowd of people.  NOT SO Funny anymore is it? You thought he would have learned the first time but he wanted some more of me and decided to ride past shouting nonsense and once again tried to run over my foot, so what did I do? I kicked his bike again making him wobble some more and almost making him crash again. Third times the charm they say, and this time he was out for blood. As I kept walking he decided to stalk me and try to run me over with his bike so I did a little power walking and lost him in the crowd. I must say that some people here do some ridiculous things and the only way to make things better is to do them back.
            We finally met up with our friends and was joined by Carla another one of our classmates. Hanging outside talking, we gathered quite an impressive crowd gawking at us as we provided a diverse group that included multiple white people, some Asians and a black girl, which is very rare in this prominent Chinese city that only has a handful of foreigners.
            After hanging out and enjoying the pretty scenery, the girls went back to Shanghai, but I decided that I would stick around and visit some of the rest of my classmates that I haven’t seen in awhile.  We met up with more friends from our cohort Zach, Saad and Kate for dinner and drinks and then later went to see one of Mo’s friends perform at a club called club 88, which is infamously known in Shanghai as the Asian club. Knowing the performers, we were kinda a big deal and they provided us with free drinks and a table, which made for a fun night.
            Overall my trip to Hangzhou was pleasant, and it was nice to see some of my friends that I had not seen in a long time and also take in some fresh air compared to Shanghai. I must say though that I could never live there happily, as there is not much to do there, but for time being it was nice to get away from the big city.

                  













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