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running away Traveling south east asia, china, australia, new zealand and america. wherever the mood takes me!

Hangzhou

CHINA | Wednesday, 4 February 2009 | Views [744]

Before I left shanghai,, I got a message from Vanessa saying that herself and romain were coming to the train station to pick me up. I was getting really excited and was looking forward to seeing to them. I walked out of the station and I didn't see them anywhere. I said I wasn't arriving till 5pm but the train was due at like ten to and also it arrived early.

So I didn't know if I was suppose to met them somewhere in the station or they just hadn't arrived yet. The arrival gate was underground, after waiting a few minutes I thought I would head up stairs just to make sure they weren't waiting for me up there. But the area was so big, they could have been anywhere. So I went back downstairs to see if I could find them and then I had a brain wave, which doesn't happen very often and thought I should call them as I had their mobile numbers. I headed back upstairs to find a phone, but they all had card slots to use them. What cards? Not credit as I tried that and where do you get them? I wasn't sure what to do. So I headed back downstairs and this time they were there looking for me.

I went over got a huge hug off Vanessa and romain helped me with my bag as we headed back upstairs to get the bus to the teacher accommodation, they were staying in.

romain has been in hangzhou over a year and came to visit it regularly before he that and before the day was out, you could tell he was very passionate about “his” city. He knew so much history behind things and knew were everything was and had done everything there was to do in hangzhou. And since he had done them before and also cause he was having his aunt and uncle stay with him in a weeks time, and would have to do all the touristy with them. He wasn't going to go around with me showing off the sites. Vanessa was as she hadn't done any of them yet which was really cool to have someone to go around with. But romain was good for giving us our itinerary for the day, as it was funny how similar Vanessa and I both were. And one of the similarities was we were hopeless at making decisions. I was just happy to be visiting them never mind going off seeing things.

That first evening, we all heading to the tourist street. Where the street was redone up looking like an old Chinese street but the street was also full of lanterns cause to mark the end of spring festival, as is runs for 15 days after new years, the last day is called lantern festival and elaborate lit up lanterns are put on display. But for the moment there were just millions of normal lanterns hanging up over the street as you walked down it. It was quite impressive and also very pretty. But I really like the shop, it was kinda my first encounter with what almost seem authentic Chinese place as the buildings were actually being used for shops. And had some character.

We wandered around for awhile before trying to find something to eat and then we wandered for awhile looking for somewhere to eat.

We finally decided on a real busy place. As we ended up waiting for about half an hour while our stomach slowly ate itself as we were all so hungry. I let romain and Vanessa pick the food, as I thought they would have a better idea of what would be good to eat.

They both liked ducks tongues and they really meant ducks tongues. In china they eat the whole duck nothing is left, out even the head and beak. Hey I said why not I'll try it. I should have done another movie about first tastes. It was really strange. You could eat the whole thing and I felt myself biting though the little bones or whatever they are in the ducks tongue. I think I got through maybe 2 tongues before I gave up. As I was trying to spit out some of those little bones and since that was what it was mostly made of, there wasn't much point. Well I at least had tried it.

After dinner they decided that since it was my first night in hangzhou they must bring me out and show me the Chinese night life there. We headed out to a bar called old captains, where everyone there were Chinese except us. Romain said he doesn't like to go to the bars that the expats go to. More fun to go to the Chinese bars.

Everyone there were playing drinking games. They seem to have a lot of drinking games in china and I got introduced to a few of them. Well I did ask first. I was interested to find out how they played them cause they were all playing with dice. So we ended up playing for awhile before heading off again and to a nightclub called 88. supposedly the place to be in hangzhou. We had great time dancing away.

The next day, after lunch with romain, who gave us our itinerary for the day, Vanessa and I headed into town. We had a nice walk along the lake towards the silk museum. We kinda got lost on the way and were laughing that we might have to call romain to help find our way. But we finally found it all by ourselves. And just in time as we didn't have much time before it was going to close. But there also didn't seem to be much there either.

We walked back along the the lake towards starbucks where romain has his spot that his likes to sit and read at and we were bound to find him there.

On the way home, Vanessa and I get lost again, as we were not sure where we needed to go to get the bus back to her place. So we got a taxi instead.

It happened to be Vanessa birthday, so we headed out for dinner for her and went for some hot pot.

You get a table with a hotplate in the middle and you order and pot of broth and all the food you want to cook. And then you put it in the pot yourself and cook it and eat when done. Its the best food ever. I stuffed myself rotten. Even the tofu tasted really good. This is when romain decided to tell me about his worm story, while I was eating noodles I guess so I could visualize it better. Vanessa said that if you hear this story and you still love him, your a true friend. So romain went into great detail about having a worm and finding things in his shorts and when he found out that it was a worm. Having to take medication for it and the process of getting rid of it. Thinking that it would come out on its own but no and I'm so glad I know this now, but you actually have to yank it out of there. Even though the story was quite disgusting and romain told it while we were eating, I wasn't totally grossed out. So I guess I'm a true friend now and he'll never get rid of me. Ha ha

We headed to a bar called “you to” for birthday drinks after. Where we met juang, romains best friend. A Chinese guy that teaches romain Chinese and romain teaches him English. Though they tend to speak more Chinese. I also met ronaldo, who is a Brazilian friend of Vanessa's.

When ronaldo showed up, he noticed at another table beside us, there was a whole group of people from his work so as one stage, he went over to them to say hi.

In the mean time we decided to move to a larger table, that was further away and we were really lucky to have done so. Cause soon after ronaldo had come back to our table, the table he had just come from broke out in a big fight. I actually had never seen anything like it before. In person anyway. I think it was 2 girls going for each other at first and then some guys got involved. That's when the guys got up to help stop the whole thing. As no one else seemed to be doing anything. Romain and juang even took a guy out of the bar that seemed to be in the middle of it. It seemed to stop. Until one of the guys came back in and went and hit one of the girls and started to pull her by the hair, it got really vicious. We couldn't believe a guy would do that to a girl.

Needless too say after all that the atmosphere in the bar was really subdued and we left soon after. Heading towards the nightclub we were at the night before. Vanessa decided not to go in, even though it was her birthday. The fight had ruined it but she also wanted to have a quiet one for it. So we let her head home and the rest of us headed into the club. We decided to share a bottle of whiskey between us. And we had fun dancing around. But it wasn't as much fun as the night before. I also kept getting hit in the back from people dancing behind me and I hate that. I almost felt like hitting someone.

So we left there and headed for a different club. This one was more dance music and we headed for the dance floor. But the place was quite quiet. I left my bag down behind me near the speakers so I could dance properly. I looked behind me to make sure my bag was OK and continued to dance and the next time I looked back. It was gone. My heart stopped for a second. I had a look of disbelief. I got romains attention and pointed to where my bag was. He asked was it gone and I said it was. I hadn't seen anyone go behind me and neither had the lads. We all split up and started looking for it. Jon came looking for me and asked me to go with him. He was with a cleaner and it was possible that, it was picked up. I really hoped it was. The only thing I could think of was that I would have to buy a new camera again.

We were brought through the toilet to a corridor behind, which twisted and turned. I was wondering how far we had to go. The cleaner couldn't tell us if the bag was found, we had to wait till we got to lost and found. We then started down the stairs and we went down and down. All the way to the ground floor, well it could have been the basement for all I know, till we stopped in front of a room with a guy in it. Jon started to ask him was a bag found. The guy asked questions back like “what was in the bag?” I said there was a camera and a wallet. “how much was in the wallet”. I wasn't totally sure about 500 yuan. “was there any ID in the bag” no there wasn't I didn't bring it out. During all this I thought he had my bag the way he was asking questions about it, but then he turns around and says you better go to the police and tell them.

My heart sank and I was ready to cry. I asked was it not there? I looked at juang and he looked at me. And that's when the bastard pulled the bag out and asked was that it? It was my bag hanging from his hand. I could have kissed him. Instead I cursed and said “you bastard! I really thought you didn't have it.”

my hand was over my heart as it was pumping so fast. The cleaner was still there and she was laughing at me. I guess I did have a bit of an over reaction.

Well at least we didn't have to walk up all those stairs as there was a lift all along and juang was my hero.

After all that I needed a drink and I headed towards the bar to order one. But as I was talking to a guy there while I was waiting to order. I saw that romain and ronaldo had their coats on. So I headed over to find out what the story was. Everyone was wanted to head to get something to eat. Hay that was fine with me, I just wasn't going to have another drink.

And what did we go to eat but hot pot again. And it was just as good as the first time.

The next day, romains suggestion for Vanessa and I was to go to the tea village but by the time we got going it was just to late. Especially since it was Sunday and the traffic was crazy. The on the bus it was funny though. There was a little girl on it about 9 years old and Vanessa understood enough Chinese to hear what she was saying to her mother. Vanessa said that the girl got all excited when she saw foreigners on bus and said to her mother “mummy there are foreigners on the bus and one of them have blue eyes! I want to say hello to them.” and Vanessa then goes to the little girl “hello!”. Which totally freaked her out cause she didn't expect Vanessa to understand her. It was really cute.

The day was quite good. We got a cable car to the top of the hill there and instead of waiting for it to get back we decided to walk down. And it was a nice walk. We even saw the Buddhas that were carved in to the stone there. Vanessa got a call while we were there saying that ronaldo was in hospital. He was throwing up and in pain. Maybe a stomach ulcer.

We were leaving soon anyway, so we headed back to town and met juang and romain at starbucks again. Vanessa headed off to see ronaldo and we went and climbed the hill at night to see the view of hangzhou lit up. It was a really cool climb and a nice view from up there. Romain was saying it was nice to get up there just before sunset and you can watch the sunset and also see hangzhou light up as the lights are turned on. I said it was very rosemantic to do that.

After we headed back down. We all headed out for dinner and got to try 2 thousands year old eggs. They are eggs soaked in vinegar, I think, for ages and when they come back out the yolk has a brown see through look and the yolk looks all green. They weren't bad but they weren't good either. Won't be in a hurry to try them again.

Juang was giving romain and I a lift back and they decided that they would try to find somewhere to get a massage. We were driving around and all we could find were brothels with a pink light on. Vanessa in the mean time was back from seeing ronaldo and we picked her up. The lads finally settled on a place that looked legit. But Vanessa and I both said we were too tired and decided to leave the guys to it and head back to hers. On the way back I found a green light walking man. It was so funny. They have lights in china where the man moves and it suppose to look like a man walking. But the the way they are made, it looks like they are walking really funny or hopping. So I ended up taking a video of that and I had a Chinese guy look at me laughing at the moving light, maybe wondering was I a bit gone in the head or that I have never seen walking lights before.

Later that night when we were just about ready for bed, romain came back from his massage, and felt a little bit dirty. He said it was the worst massage he ever had but it wasn't even very sexual either. The girl just didn't know what she was doing and felt he had no skin left after being rubbed in the same areas for an hour. Vanessa and I asked why didn't he stop it early. But I don't think he even thought of that. It was quite funny though and he left us saying he needed a shower.

Cassie from shanghai, was in hangzhou also and I had arranged to meet up with her. On facebook I noticed that she was going to go to huangzhou, which was mountain not to far away from hangzhou. I sent her a message to see if she could get me a ticket to go with her. I could have stayed forever with vanessa. But I thought it would be a good idea and go see something else before I had to leave china as my visa was due to be up in about a weeks time. Cassie was able to get a ticket for me so I was leaving the next day. I like to make last minute decisions.

I met cassie in town to pay her for the ticket and we hung out together for the day. We went and saw a tower pagoda, where there is a lot of history attached. But the tower was itself was very new. They even had a lift inside it to bring you to the top. The day was quite cloudy but I could imagine on a good day the view being really amazing.

Tags: hangzhou, hot pot, losing bag

 

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