We spent a good week with Joel’s parents in our adopted home of Hangzhou. Besides seeing the sights, we also stuffed ourselves silly and had multiple massages (foot and head) – a great way to get the tension out of those sore muscles! Our week in review:
Hangzhou’s West Lake – its most prized tourist attraction
Hefang Jie, a touristy old street selling old fashioned things – as well as a lot of new stuff too – tea, silk, knick-knacks, etc. This is blown sugar, an old method that’s dying out with the advent of factory made confections.Here’s video of a candymaker using caramelized sugar to create a bird. You spin a wheel to determine which animal you get (of the 12 zodiac animals). Pretty impressive!
We went to a show called “Westlake Impressions” – a nighttime spectacular directed in part by Zhang Yimou, the guy who brought us “House of Flying Daggers” and “Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.” It was pretty impressive – people walking on water, giant multi-storeyed boats, and lots of cool lights.
We also visited the National Tea Museum and Dragon Well Tea Village – where China’s best green tea (龙井 – Longjing – or Dragon Well) is grown and harvested. Here we are at the Botanical Gardens – one of our favorite places to go, especially now that spring is here!Sarah at Hangzhou’s biggest teahouse. You pay for a really expensive cup of tea (about $10-12 USD) and get an all-you-can-eat buffet of delectable snacks in a cool setting. On Thursday we spent the day in Shaoxing, where we lived last year. We had a great time revisiting old sites and a sleepy boat ride on Shaoxing’s canal (it’s one of China’s old water towns).
Kevin & Jane in our 4 person boat – it had a little table in the middle so you could bring along snacks and sip tea.
Joel with some very excited Chinese students at the Lu Xun museum. Lu Xun is one of China’s best-known modern writers (he lived at the beginning of the 20th century) – some people compare his work to Mark Twain’s – and his family is from Shaoxing.We met up with a few of our colleagues from last year for dinner; it was a wonderful reunion! We miss them a lot. Notice how Sarah is the shortest of the group. *sigh* On Saturday we bid a fond farewell to Jane & Kevin at the Shanghai airport. (They had a safe trip back). See you in the summer!