I’ve never been much of a traveller. Travelling has never been high on my agenda but it has been on my agenda for some time now.
29 March 2013, I got on a jetplane headed up north to China! As I’m already residing in an Asian country, my expectations weren’t high. I always keep anticipation to a low as a way to manage disappointment. I don’t take a negative perspective, I just try not to over-think any given scenario. Does it work? Not really.
Coming off an airplane at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport for the first time I was greeted by a sudden dip in climate. So far, so good. We spent most of the first two days in Hangzhou guided by a tour guide, Grace. She was wonderful and spoke English well enough.
Hangzhou is a very popular tourism city in China, however, we only encountered less than 5 people who spoke ANY English (Not even Yes/No, I’m not kidding) which I thought was a little odd but then again, 99.9% of all tourist were actually Chinese tourists from other provinces.
A few years ago, I took an introductory course in Mandarin here in Kuala Lumpur. I knew enough “transactional” sentences to get me by but I was naturally shy at first to try speaking to them but I quickly realized that speaking a little grammatically incorrect sentences was a country mile better than pointing and using hand gestures.
The only setback was that they didn’t get I only spoke very basic Mandarin and would go bullet train on my behind. I then would have to attentively listen for any keywords that I can pickup. I should have paid more attention in class.
It got us by. We got food, bargained for a few deals and even went as far as a joke which stemmed out of a mispronunciation. It was a true confidence booster.
The rest of the article is going to be accompanied by pictures. Forgive me for the quality of the photos. My iPhone 5 camera and my photography skills or lack of it, is probably the worst combination in any situation.
The biggest point of attraction in Hangzhou is the West Lake which is unbelievably breathtaking. I’ve always been drawn to water and the lake was a serene sight. The water was gentle and fairly calm.
The lake is remarkably maintained. The entire surroundings were clean. The flora found all around the lake was trimmed methodically. There were sufficient public amenities all around which were also well maintained.
Not too far away from the lake (depending on where you actually are), yet another attraction lies; Prince Bay Park.
The park is full of beautifully grown Tulips and a whole other range of flowers that I’m less accustomed to. I wish I could tell you the names of the flowers but then we’d both learn something new.
There are a lot of people out and about having little picnics all over the park.
The lake at night transforms into something else completely. Full of lights and other kinds of attractions.
One of the best attractions on the West. I truly wish this picture could do it more justice. The entire performance was on the lake itself! This house/boat was only used for a few scenes.
The photos that I took are hardly desirable and are a far cry from the actual scenery.
In the 3 nights that I was in Hangzhou, I learned more than I ever imagined I would. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the entire experience. Simply refreshing.