Connecting Mandarin and English,
West Lake and More
(September 13, 2008) (return
day started where the last didn't end. Setting
off the train into a new day is like two days connected with no break. The
hotel we checked into was a youth hostel and English and Chinese langauages
mixing liberally. One impression was its similarity to cottages in Hawaii-the
rooms were small, the lounge was open and informal, the architecture was
wood including wooden tables and stools in a courtyard with pools of fish.
The walk to the hotel was a hundred meters up Lombard Street in San Francisco
with the twists and turns.It was delightful.
Taxis were costing about 16 yuan and buses
would have been about 12 yuan for the four of us and we would have never
known which bas to take. Our guides, Kan and Yiqi, chose the taxis and got
us around town starting with West Lake. When we googled Hangzhou the promient
feature seemed to be this lake in the middle of town essentially fronting
on downtown. Former rulers of China, back when Hangzhou was its capital,
at least of the south part of the dynasty, built bridges and islands to
beauty. While the lake was beautiful and the rain held off, the most intriguing
part of our travels continues to be the attraction we generate as we walk
to the masses. Fortuantely, Hangzhou is a popular site of foreign travelers
and we were not the only foreigner, only the most conspicious.
We found our walking legs to give out by mid
afternoon. So we begged for a mid-afternoon nap and a late dinner downtown
which was followed by a late evening walk through a street of many quaint
shops where artisans crafted and sold their wares. At one moment traditionally
customed characters noisily passed down the street.. Later in teh evening,
while Gail cooled and rested her feet, I enjoyed the luxury of free wireless
Interent letting our faithful Mac reacquaint itself with its old Internet
connections. I've almost concluded that Nanchang is the least Internet-served
major city in the country and that this university is connected to that
dilemna. - Off to sleep!
A note about the
are certain aspects that cannot be conveyed through words or pictures,
and one of those is odor. The smells around are different in many
ways than in America. Of course, the difference between where there
are many people compared to where there are many trees are clear
no matter what the cultureof the region may be. In the streets,
particularly in the open markets where vendors are cooking fresh
foods., the smells of cooking fill the air, some very delicious,
some foreign to our noses and some not very tasteful. In our apartment
the plumgin appears a little different than that of American in
the p-traps which prevents odors from the sewer system to enter
the room don't seem as effective and so some odors seem to return
into the rooms. This appears the case in older hotels and restrooms
also. Of course, as implied earler, just the jumber of people using
the facilities will make a difference.
Another observation: where we are
staying in a hostel for backpackers where the brochures are written
in English prompting partner youth hostels, there are no waster
baskets in the room. Maybe it's because backpackers hoard wastebaskets
and the management can't seem to keep them stocked, or it's general
practice to minimize on wastebaskets. The second part of the observation
is tha nowhere is the an excess of plae to deposit your garbage.
Now there are workers with hyge brooms seen sweeping the streets
everywhere but the streets still don't look clean. It appears that
as the country provides the sweepers, the people literally litter
openly and freely as noted by garbage randomly being thrown from
cars and just dropped on the floor as one walks. Depositing food
bits on the table also seems commonplace. It seems there an attitude
that someone else will come along and pick it up.
The peacocks here have also molted and shyly
hide behind the bushes, embarrassed that their beautiful feathers are missing.