Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hangzhou: West Lake (杭州: 西湖)

November 14, 2014
On Friday afternoon, I left work a little earlier than usual to head over to Hongqiao Railway Station (虹桥火车站) to catch the high-speed (G) train to Hangzhou. It was only 1hr 12mins away and it is pretty punctual. It's basically like a train version of a plane because the seats are the same with an overhead for luggage and it's a very smooth ride.

We met our tour guide when we got off the train and she brought us to the restaurant. It was frustrating talking to her cuz she barely understood me. Like I tried to tell her my Chinese name and she kept mishearing me.

Me: it's XXX
Me: No, no it's XXX

Even if you didn't hear the exact word you should at least understand no and not ask if it's the same word. Cuz this repeated itself a few times. Made me want to strangle her. 
 We went to 杭州酒家 (Hangzhou Restaurant) for dinner and tried a bunch of different food like beggar’s chicken and 东坡肉. The food was overall pretty good, 4/5.
 So I got the chance of using the hammer thing and knocking on it for luck
Viola! The inside of the thing above.
 We checked into the Merchant Marco Hotel (杭州马可波罗酒店) and I thought it was going to be a sketchy place at first because that’s what it looked like as we headed toward the building, but then as we closer and saw through the glass doors into the lobby, it was a REALLY nice hotel. My room was HUGE as well compared to some of other others. Out of four other rooms that I saw/heard about, mine was definitely a lot bigger.

In photos it looks like a very standard-sized room though T_T But there was a huge “living room” space and there was like a small hallway for the closet. The bathroom was divided into the sink area, toilet room, and bath/shower room. 

 We didn’t really do much for the rest of the night because it was already about 10:00PM and freezing cold outside. We walked around the neighborhood and found a store called Miniso that sold just about anything for really cheap. I bought pens that were 3 for 10RMB. Oh yeah, I guess stuffing myself during dinner wasn’t enough because I also went to this fast food restaurant and ordered fries.

November 15, 2014
Breakfast the next morning was buffet styled on the second floor of the hotel. It was a mix of Western and Chinese, but mostly Chinese. It was pretty good, except I wish that ice cream wasn’t only for lunchtime :(

Kitty makes her first guest appearance (photo stolen from Cory)
(photo stolen from Cory)
 Saw so many wedding shoots here!

We went to the West Lake (西湖) for a boat ride that lasted an hour. It was very relaxing, except it got chilly towards the end. I’m also a bit disappointed that the area we were in wasn’t as pretty as what we saw on our way to be dropped off because the lake was like glistening but not from what we saw when we got off… 
We also walked around 郭庄, a Chinese classical garden with bonzais and a shop to make a stamp out of your name. 
 I was still pretty full from breakfast, but we had a lunch buffet at 西湖国宾馆 (Xihu State Guest House). There was so much seafood, yumm….and dessert… yummmm^2. Needless to say, I helped myself to seconds and then proceeded to two servings of ice cream and then cake. Not even surprised.
During the afternoon, most of us opted to bike around the West Lake. There are a lot of rental shops in the area and I believe it should be 10RMB/hr, and did it for two hours. I had mixed feelings about the activity though. It wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds because although you’re biking around the West Lake, it’s really just on the roads so you’re probably….biking 25-50 feet away from the water itself.

Most of our group also biked on the sidewalk and it was really frustrating to do so because the place is PACKED with pedestrians and I got fed up with having to stop every 10 seconds just because people were in the way or the person biking in front stopped. I can understand that they’re hesitant to bike on the road alongside the cars, but it really isn’t that bad at all because the cars keep their distance and so I just started biking on the road after 10 minutes. >< In the end Cory and I just ended up biking at our own pace because it was easier that way and the further we biked off, the less crowded it got. 

Trying to look artsy, but I don't think it was working (photo stolen from Cory)

 Towards the end was kind of frustrating again. We all met up after the Six Bridges and biked back to return our bikes but we kept stopping every 3 minutes to make sure we were going the right direction. But the thing with this is that the lake is round…you really have to just follow that path and you’ll go back to where you started. I honestly could’ve just biked back on my own without stopping so many times. 

 There was also another incident. At some point, I was trying to pass this girl from my program. We were on the road and fenced against the sidewalk, but there was a good amount of space for me to pass her without getting too close. Just as I was doing so, she SWERVED towards me and almost hit me, but didn’t. She gave me an attitude and told me that I should’ve rung my bell. I think it’s a pretty legitimate suggestion, except for her tone of voice and her attitude toward me in general was unnecessary. 

Which leads me to mention another incident that happened a few weeks prior to the bike incident: 
Class just ended and we were walking together down the hall towards the elevator. Just as we reached the elevator, she suddenly stops, so naturally I did too. Except the elevator was open and had plenty of space for us to go in. After a few seconds of just standing there, the elevator closed and went down without us.

So I asked her why she didn’t go in and she shrugged it off. So I asked again because I don’t understand why you would suddenly stop in front of an open elevator and not go in (and you weren’t waiting for anyone else either). With an attitude, she told me that if I wanted to go in, I should’ve just gone. But wtf? I was walking with you and if you stopped, obviously I would stop and not go in as well. Next time should I have shoved you aside so I can get in? I could not understand her logic and was about to bitch back but just didn’t want to bother and dropped in. 
After returning the bikes, we went to Old Street to look around for 5 minutes before heading to dinner, which lead to the restaurant incident that I wrote about >>here<<.

On the brighter side, here are food photos:
Went back to the hotel afterwards and just relaxed for a bit. Then we went out to a jazz bar, except we didn’t know it was a jazz bar. So I was surprised. There was this American girl singing. I was kind of like fml because:
1) It was a jazz bar and not what we expecting
2) It was hot
The drinks were pretty good hehe but not strong enough, but the bartender was nice about making it stronger. We went back to the hotel after an hour and a half or so. It was kind of funny because it was literally a 2 minutes cab ride so I felt like a lazy fuck and congrats to the two cab drivers for making easy money. It was supposed to be a 15 minute walk, but as I said, I’m a lazy fuck so I opted for the cabs. -privileged- jk, not that privileged, it was less than $2, which is what a person would normally pay for a train ride anyways.

Until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Wow looks like you had a lot of fun!
    xxx from Tokyo