For Payton
and Deona

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Connecting Mandarin and English,
          Chinese and American,
                    people with people

West Lake and More
(September 13, 2008) (return to Homepage)
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     Our 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.Bubbha
     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 enhance it 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 environment :
     There 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.

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