Hangzhou

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Michael, Meri and I went to Hangzhou at the weekend. It was a short trip – we left Shanghai at 5pm on Friday and returned around the same time on Saturday.

On the Friday night we arrived at our hostel, Fiona’s Trip, which was really nice and actually more of a hotel than a hostel.

It wasn’t in a particularly convenient location though, and getting a taxi proved difficult (as a sidenote, the traffic in Hangzhou seemed even crazier than in Shanghai; it felt like an achievement every time we got out of a taxi unscathed). We finally got one and went to a recommended Italian restaurant then a bar on Nanshan Road where there was some live music (Cranberries covers etc.) and couples seemingly competing for the crown of craziest/raunchiest dance team. There was a clear winner, right by our table.

Saturday morning began with some cheap breakfast at the hostel – eggs, toast and tea (and bacon which helpfully came on a separate plate so was easy to give away…) accompanied by cartoons likes Tom and Jerry and that weird sheep thing that I recognised despite never having seen the show before as it’s so heavily merchandised (喜羊羊与灰太狼). It felt like Saturday mornings as a kid, getting up super early to watch cartoons. There was a sleeping cat on the sofa and a definitely-not-sleeping dog running about and barking.

There was then some travel chaos which spoiled a little bit of the trip and resulted in waiting for a long time in a ridiculous taxi queue. We didn’t have return tickets to Shanghai as we’d been unable to get them back to the station we came from and we were advised to go to the main station in Hangzhou in the morning and get them in advance, which turned out to be unnecessary as we wanted the less popular, more expensive fast train. Basically the whole palaver could have been avoided.

Michael and Meri looking somewhat displeased while we waited in an overheated, overcrowded underground concrete taxi rank:

People kept queue-jumping as usual but we became queue police and formed a wall to stop them getting past. It was surprisingly easy. We would probably have been there at least an extra 20 minutes if we hadn’t bothered. Finally we escaped and got to see some actual beautiful natural things as opposed to the hectic area by the station. It was very pretty. I’d like to go back there in autumn.

 

Going away on the Friday made the weekend feel really long, it was great. When back in Shanghai I managed to fit in a party, a night out, a Chinese lesson, some shopping and dinner with friends before going back to work on Monday.

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