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China's Original N Most Beautiful 'West Lake'

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, So, Hangzhou mate! Heaven on earth and all that! Here I sit with a nice cold beer on my second night! I really am a lucky boy! This summer's journey really has been a whirlwind tour of the middle north but I've stayed in each city for long enough to walk as much as possible. So here I am in my fifth and last province before arriving back in Fujian Province. From Shaanxi through Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and now in Zhejiang Province. The only thing I'd do different would be to spend time in southern Anhui but that will have to be left for another time when I have more money. So I've got about a week left of travel money before hitting Fujian Province and going home to live on eggs, noodles and rice! By the time I return to Shaowu Rob and Jo, the two new Canadian teachers should have either arrived already or will arrive not long after. We've been speaking off and on for a few months now. When they arrived in Guilin their luggage had kind of been sent elsewhere. BUT, the main thing was they had my new China LP in with their hand luggage so the world didn't end. Ha Ha...sorry guys, just jokin, I hope it all arrived a day or two later! Joyce and I have been chatting throughout my adventure and at this stage she has decided not to return to teaching this year. But I'm hoping that she will change her mind and come back. We have too much fun together and it would be really sad if she left. But life is life and it takes us where it does! Anyhow, to the day. The reason I came to Hangzhou was to do one main thing and that was to walk the entire way around West Lake and take in some of the beautiful gardens along the way. Also whilst doing it, to not have to pay entrance fees. Money is getting scarce now believe me. Soon I won't be able to afford even an ElcheapO KFC coffee! Now how sad is that for a Foreign Teacher living and working in China! So.....put me on a local bus and I'm bound to stuff it up and stuff it up I did! When I reached Yan'an Road I recognised a few things and of course I didn't get off where I 'felt' I should get off. Instead I listened to my head which was saying, next stop, get off at the next stop. It will be closer. Strange thoughts for someone who loves walking so much. Anyhow, there was no next stop. Off we went a further ten five minutes drive 'that way' and by the time the bus stopped I didn't have much of an idea where I was. BUGGER! And if it was bad enough doing it in the morning, I did the same thing on the way home! BUGGER! When I finally made it to Xi Hu (West Lake) I was where Susan and I had been last night so I began my lake side stroll going the other way and slowly made my way down Nangshan Lu. Man, there were so many people. Doesn't anyone work in this city? It's like the cities 6,000,000 people all hang out at the lake and watch the 1,000,000 Foreigners. The first Gardens I came to were the Liulangwenjing Gongyuan (say that one several times!). They were extremely beautiful and there were many green lawns that as usual you weren't allowed to sit or walk on. If you even considered trying there would be an elderly lady ready to rush over and beat you senseless with her broom! I can't remember if it was after or before the gardens but there was a temple I visited. I missed the ticket booth and thought it was free and just walked though. I remember hearing someone yelling but with a billion million people around me all yelling into their mobile phones etc I had no idea if they were yelling at me and never thought to look. Only on the way out I noticed the ticket booth. As I reached the lakes first corner I came to Xizhao Shan with its 'new Ancient' seven story pagoda which is a replica of the original. It would have offered great view of the lake but with a 40 Yuan entrance fee and a billion people both in line and on the stairs I decided against it and continued walking. When Nanshan Lu turns into Xishan Lu I took a seat and sat to rest for a time and slowly watch the boats bobbing up and down whilst chatting to Amigo. Here in China it is 'Lovers Day' which I guess is pretty much the same as our 'Valentines Day'. We were both sad we couldn't be together on such a day but hey, that's what makes the invention of the mobile phones such a wonderful thing. Though we can't be together, we can still talk constantly all day every day. When I began walking again I found the most awesome gardens. In fact it was more than wonderful. I don't have any idea of its name but it's kind of opposite Liulangwenying Gongyuan. I spent an hour or so walking around. After I left I headed further along Xishan Lu and found myself at Wugi Lake. Maybe this is where 'that guy' from 'There's something about Mary' lives. His name was Wugi wasn't it? Argh, poor attempt at humour! Moving right along. Wugi Lake was also very beautiful and I spent another hour walking around the pathways. I then headed to the Hangzhou Flower Nursery. I really don't know if it is the Botanical Gardens. They seem to be in the same area on the map but how strange that in such a touristy city with so much English that it actually NOT be called the Botanical Gardens. Not the most beautiful Botanical Gardens I've ever been too (if it was the Botanical Gardens that is) but a lovely place to spend an hour walking around. After moving on I found anther 'The Former Residents of.....' and decided I could afford the 10 Yuan entrance fee. It really was stunning and offered beautiful views of the lake. What a place to live! I then turned into Beishan Lu and headed over to Gu Shan and made my way along the lakes edge to the Baidi Causeway where Susan and I end our walk last night due to there being too many people. Tonight there were just as many people and I had to slowly make my way through the crowds standing around watching the huge kites in the darkness above. There were two huge sharks and two huge octopuses all with flashing lights n them. They really did look cool! After finally, finally, FINALLY making my way through the huge crowds of people I headed across to Yan'an Lu and dropped into Mc'D's for a well earned coffee and then boarded Bus No: 95 back out to the North Bus Station. And, like I said at the beginning of this entry, put me on a local bus and I'm bound to bugger it up and bugger it up I did. As I was with Susan last night and walked the rest of the way back to the bus station I never took any notice of what it looked like. I recognised the little supermarket I went into and thought, hey I'll get off at the next stop, it has to be closer to the bus station. Well, across from the supermarket was the bus station and I ended up way over the river and had to walk back. Argh! Whatever! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane _________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was the awesome Teenage Fanclub The album was 'Thirteen' Now that's a band!

Hangzhou - West Lake Gardens Walk

Hangzhou - West Lake Gardens Walk


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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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