Thursday, March 23, 2006

Day trip to Hangzhou

I signed up for a day trip to Hangzhou, which is about 2.5 hours away from Shanghai. I might not have done it if I knew it was 5 hours of driving, but I'm really glad I did because Hangzhou is a beautiful city up in the mountains.

We started the morning at the Lingyin Buddhist temple. It is like the buddhist temple in Shanghai only way bigger. There are lots of Buddhas, plus copper statues of all 500 of his disciples. When we were on our way out, this group walked up to me with a camera and I thought they were asking me to take their picture. Before I knew, I was crowded all around by chinese people who wanted to take their picture with me. Apparently showing a picture of yourself with a white dude is a big status symbol back home because it means you are well traveled. This was probably one of the weirder experiences of my life.

Then we had lunch and headed over to the Dragonwell Tea Village, which is known for making really good green tea. It is nestled way up in the mountains and is quite peaceful. We did some tea tasting and then purchased a bunch of tea.

For our last part of the day we went to Hua Guang Yu park, which means "Viewing Fish at the Flower's Harbor". There was a peacock garden, lots of little ponds, and cherry and peach blossoms everywhere. It is the main park for people who live in Hongzhou, and there were lots of people there. The park surrounds a large (5 sq km) lake called West Lake, which we took a cruise around.

On the way back we stopped at a pearl factory where they cut open a large oyster and showed us the different kinds of pearls that they cultivate.

You can see my pictures of Hangzhou. Morris' girlfriend flew in from Korea today, so the 3 of us are taking an overnight trip to Suzhou where we are going to party with some of his other friends. Suzhou is called the "Garden City" because it is full of beautiful gardens, and is supposed to be a really nice place.


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