Monday, 17 March 2008

Lost in Hangzhou

OK, I'm not lost, and really wasn't. But let me explain. Two of us decided to go to Hangzhou for the day yesterday.

Hangzhou is a city just an hour from here - I think was the original capital of China many years ago. It has a population of 6.9 million people.

It is famous for its West Lake and Silk Museum among many places of interest. M2 and I had been through the outskirts of the city on our way to Shaoxing, so we hadn't really been there. This was going to be an experience. And it didn't disappoint.

Island in the West Lake - Hangzhou

Island in the West Lake (above)

We had our destination, what tickets we had to buy, what bus we had to catch, all written in Chinese characters. We did very well and arrived - at a different bus station to what we had been told. No matter, we were safely there.

We were set upon by touts - wanting us to catch their minibus and eventually we haggled and got a fair price (bit expensive - but we were OK with it.)

We arrived safely at the famed West Lake. We walked around to see the shopping, and the people. Thousands of people were out walking.

We had our first drama in a restaurant. No English. We left hungry because everything we ordered they didn't have any left. So we got on one of the quaintest boats we have seen! Photos below.

We disembarked onto pretty islands and walked around. It wasn't a good day weather wise - a bit cold and smoggy - but all was fine. We met some Danish people and had lunch with them. Despite having a Chinese interpreter things didn't work out there. They messed our order up. But in the end we did get a meal which was quite tasty.

From there we caught a taxi to where we thought our bus went from. "No bus. No bus." No English either, so we did not know what to do. The information desk was our next stop. No English. But we were "saved" by a young Chinese man, who had also been given the wrong information about the bus. We caught a taxi to another bus terminal and managed to find a seat on the late bus. We sat around in a very crowded waiting room until our bus departed. Without him we would really have been in a pickle. In the end all was well.

We were safely transported back to Shaoxing by the bus (really a coach), and then we had trouble finding our own bus back to the college.

Four taxi rides, two restaurant meals, one boat ride, two coach trips, for little more than $25!

What a day. We certainly thanked our Chinese saviour. A wonderful young man whose help saved us from disaster I think. :)

Boats on the Westlake

Boats on the Westlake.

No comments: