So Christoph had a business trip this past week up further north outside of the Chinese city of Hangzhou. Now, most of you have probably not heard of Hangzhou; however it has a population equal that of New York so it is no provincial backwater. We decided to go a day early and could have gone to Shanghai but upon some research, I decided upon visiting the West Lake area in Hangzhou instead. Apparently there are around 36 West Lakes in China but the one in Hangzhou is considered the most beautiful. So we hopped on a plane in the beautifully modern airport in Guangzhou and without much fuss but a lot of stares, we made our way to the Orange Hotel on the western side of the lake. In Guangzhou the weather is very mild, most days since I have been here, the temperature has been somewhere in the 70F range; however Hangzhou was definitely in the throes of winter. We arrived, made acquaintance with Alice (see photo),bundled up and headed out to walk the lake. I actually enjoyed having a wintery gray day, the wind was blowing across the lake and it was dark and gloomy. It is apparently a popular destination because Chinese tourists were out in hordes as well. It was nice to be out of the city and just walk among tree-lined paths and over small stone arch bridges. We ended up at the oldest restaurant in Hangzhou on the east side of the lake and had a decent dinner where once again I showed my highly developed choptstick wielding powers(not!!!!). So that was just Tuesday and there is so much to say about the rest of the week but that will be in some forthcoming posts.
As I stuck my finger into a small bowl full of water wondering if the plants were real, it was to my great surprise that there was an actual occupant somewhat disgruntled by my casual finger dip. I apologized and Alice (yes there was a name and even a note welcoming us) seemed to accept our appearance with rather apathetic resignation.