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nomadnorrie From Sydney to the formula 1 grand prix in Shanghai, Beijing, South Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Ukraine and Europe. Final destination by train is London. Hopping on a flight to Finland, then on to Japan and finally back to Sydney.

Huangshan and Hangzhou

CHINA | Tuesday, 1 April 2008 | Views [3582]

Hangzhou's west lake

Hangzhou's west lake

I was finally returning to the east of China and preparing for my exit. There were just two last stops that I wanted to make before Shanghai - Huangshan (Yellow mountain) and Hangzhou.

Huangshan

I arrived in Huangshan and settled in to relax and plan the trip to the mountain. It had been raining for days and the weather report for the following two days was clear and sunny, perfect timing.

That evening my laptop hard drive, which I was using to store all of my photos, stopped working. I spent a couple of hours trying to start the computer and finally I got a result. The hard disk went from making the noise of a rotating buckled bicycle tyre to being totally quiet. I quickly burnt all of my photos to DVDs and cursed myself for being so stupid.

The following morning I had an early rise to start climbing Huangshan. I'd decided to climb the western steps and after about 1 hour I was totally knackered. There was another 2 hours of constantly going up steps and then several hours of going up and down steps. On my way up a woman suggested that we live together I think by pointing with the first finger on each hand and slamming her hands together. A passer by took our photo and she then gave me her address and phone number. I had to gave her mine because she insisted so much. I wasn't let off the hook that easily though, the guy that took the photo wanted a picture taken with me and each of his friends did too!


At the top the views were really quite something.


Couples climb the mountain and place padlocks on the fences as a sign of their love, I don't know what happens if they get divorced.


Some sections on the way up were a bit congested.


I carried on until lunchtime and started searching for a place to stay so that I could enjoy sunset and sunrise. That was when I bumped into a couple of guys from the hostel in town (one of them carries a soft toy lion around with a stool and cushion - http://www.montgomeryjlion.com). They were staying at the place the youth hostel in town had booked for them. That was where I started. The receptionist told me in a stern voice with her best I am not fibbing face on that it is not possible to get a dormitory bed for 120 Yuan. She wanted 240 Yuan, knowing she was lying I retreated and looked elsewhere. I bumped into a Chinese guy who told me there are dormitory beds for 80 Yuan at Xihai hotel. I also came across the Guan ming hotel (the one with the giant football on top). This place has a wonderful view of the surrounding peaks from the corridor, on the downside the corridor is lined with bunk beds and people were lying on them smoking. Not so pleasant then.


They had dormitory beds there for 70 but there were 20 people in one room. With that many people in one room you start to wonder how many people will be snoring instead of if there will be a snorer. I chose to take the Xihai hotel bed as it looked cleaner but it also had 20 people or so in one room. There were three snorers, one of them too close for me to sleep well.

I was woken in the morning at 5am by someone who started smoking. So I got up and headed towards the peaks in the direction of the sunrise. I just relaxed on the edge of a ledge and watched, with a hundred or so others, as the sun rose. It was delightful.


I had spent most of the previous day walking with the two guys that I met at the youth hostel in town. Late in the morning I bumped into them again and we walked together towards the marvelous Fairytale bridge. It was isolated with excellent views and total peace and quiet.


When we finally finished coming down we were all talking about sore thigh or calf muscles. It took me a couple of days to recover. I felt sorry for the Irish/American guy carrying the lion, the lion, the stool and the cushion were huge.

The morning I wanted to leave Huangshan I was chased by an old man telling me he is 80 and that I should give him money. This guy was really fast, each time I tried to get around him he cut me off. That was when I heard bus ticket hawkers selling tickets to Hangzhou at a cheaper price than the bus station. I grabbed my things and stood by the road with the hawkers. The 80 year old man returned and started pinching me in the belly. So funny.

Hangzhou

My first morning in Hangzhou I got up early and wandered around west lake early to beat the crowds. Sadly, after spending so much time in relatively smog-free areas I was back in the thick of it. However, the morning sun created a pleasant silhouette of the boats on the lake and the flowers and trees makes the viewer feel calm and supreme and specialness.


My first evening in Hangzhou I discovered a beer which has a label that advertises "FREE FROM FORMALDEHYDE". I gladly took that one from the fridge (there was another type in the fridge from the same brand but presumably it has formaldehyde in it since there was no free from label).


I moved to a better place than the guidebook suggested. The place I found has very well kept cats and dogs and the atmosphere is relaxed. Sitting in Wushanyi hostel's very own Hangzhou garden while sipping a beer and listening to the birds sing was just marvelous.

While wandering around the lake a further time I found a couple walking around in their wedding gear with a photographer taking photos. I chased them like a lunatic for ages but could only get so close because of their entourage.


Also while wandering around the west lake I caught this woman's friend taking a photo of me but she obviously didn't want me to know. As I turned to face them she quickly moved the camera around pointing at a dustbin. I took the opportunity to take a photo of her while she helpfully assumed the standard Chinese pose - hang on to the object and/or show the victory sign.


I am in Shanghai now waiting for my Russian visa to be processed.

Tags: hangzhou (west lake)., huangshan (yellow mountain)

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