Breakfast at the hotel and then around 7:30 Stanley and his wife Cynthia picked me up out front. Our destination was Hangzhou (pronounced “Haan-joe”), a city just over 100 miles southwest of Shanghai. We got there in a little under two hours and the first place we visited was an area called West Lake, which as you might imagine is situated right next to a large lake. Just like Shanghai, there were a ton of people there. However as Stanley explained to me, people in Hangzhou a are little more relaxed and unhurried than the people in Shanghai. The cab drivers were still nuts, though.
Stanley and Cynthia (again, their American names) both went to Zhejiang University which is located right near West Lake. Since they both knew the area fairly well, I was able to get a very good tour of the major sights. The first place we went after walking around West Lake for a bit was a mountain right near the lake that had a huge tower on the top. Each morning he mountain (who’s name in translated as Germ Mountain – shrug) hosts a number of the city’s elders who walk up early enough to see the sun rise. There are a lot of rocks and platforms in which to see the sunrise from the top of the mountain. On our way down the other side of the mountain, we came across a Taoist temple that we spent some time exploring. For lunch we ate Hangzhou-style Chinese food at a place who’s name translates to Grandma’s Kitchen. Dishes included fish soup, lotus root, freshly caught West Lake fish, and of course Stanley’s favorite: bullfrog. After eating, we then went and checked out the Hangzhou Botanical Gardens, which is home to a pool of giant fifty year old goldfish. These things were enormous, and we fed them by tossing pieces of squash into the water. Finally, before we left Hangzhou for the day we stopped in to one of the busy street markets where I bought some souvenirs to remember my visit by. Once back in Shanghai, Stanley and Cynthia took me to a Sichuan-style restaurant for an extremely spicy yet incredibly delicious dinner.
Again, pictures will be added once I get home and get a chance to sort through them. For now, though, I am so tired I need to pass out.