Hanging in Hangzhou

I took a quick trip to Hangzhou over the National Holiday. We had no classes October 1-7 (although we have a makeup day on Saturday, as is the national custom). I knew I couldn’t take the whole week off, with work and school stuff, but 2.5 days in Hangzhou, a quick 3-hour train ride, was just about right.

What did I do? I shopped and walked around by West Lake. One day I rented a bike from my hostel and rode around West Lake. I ate a ridiculous amount of fried dumplings. It was great. Let’s see some photos.

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West Lake at night.

West Lake really ticks all my boxes: old trees, greenery, big flat expanses of water with boats, cool bridges. The weather was great Friday and Saturday. It rained Sunday afternoon, but I had to stay at the coffeeshop to do some work for grad school, so the timing was perfect.

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This was taken at 7:30 a.m., the only time I saw this statue without it being draped with tourists being photographed.

One of my former coworkers essentially told me I was an idiot for going to Hangzhou during National Holiday, as it’s a notoriously crowded time. I was like, OK, thanks. Would you like me to cancel my trip? Would that suit you? And yeah, it was crowded. But I’m a relatively early riser, so it was a bit inconvenient but didn’t spoil my mood.

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Ridiculously photogenic.

The only real disappointment was the silk market. I had planned to look for some silk fabric that I could take to have some clothing custom made, maybe a dress or skirt. But the silk market had no silk! I’m quite certain I copied the address correctly and that the taxi driver took me to the right place. It was just a huge warehouse divided into clothing stalls. The clothing was the type of clothing most Chinese people wear, i.e., it looked like it came from Marshalls. I was the only foreigner there, and I definitely got some looks–not rude, just wondering why I came there. (I am not the size of most Chinese people, so that didn’t help.) But you know, that’s hardly the worst thing that could have happened.

I don’t teach again until Friday, so I have a few days to catch up on work and get over a cold. And of course, plan my next trip for winter break.

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