Karaoke, Silk Market, Lingyin Temple, Old Street, and... clowns on stilts?

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Hello everyone!

WOW. Many things have happened in the past two days. After finishing with the eggs on Saturday, I strolled down to the Silk Market (the market is roughly a twenty minute walk from the hotel). Picked up some silk items for gifts, even haggled a little! I'm sure I still got it sold to me at a higher price (tourist attraction), but the comparison is $100 Yuan= $15 USD... it wasn't too bad :)

That evening we also went Karaoking at a KTV in Hangzhou. When you walked out of the elevator on the fifth floor, it was as though you entered a VIP area. There were staff everywhere! Fancy rooms and karaoke machines/sound systems, blown glass chandeliers hanging from the hallway ceilings. And there were probably about fifty karaoke rooms that could hold sixteen people comfortably. We karaoked for a good four hours straight, singing everything from Crocodile Rock to White Wedding, Lady Gaga's Bad Romance, and even A Whole New World.

Today (Sunday) was a started off as a late morning, waking up around eight. Eating, and leaving the hotel around eleven. We took a bus to West Lake, and then hopped on another bus to take us to the Lingyin Temple and "Stone Carvings at Peak from Afar." The carvings carved into the mountain side were spectacular! There were caverns that held secrets within (giant spiders being one of them, EEK!), and the paths leading throughout the park could get a little slippery at times, and we had a couple of slips. Minor injuries only :) Between taking photos of our surroundings and shopping at the little attractions (one was all the way on top of a mountain! A Buddhist temple), we eventually made our way to the Lingyin Temple. People of the Buddhist religion would come and burn incense, pray, and give offering to their deities, and at the stroke of four (we were lucky to be in the temple when it happened), the monks began a prayer progression of chants, cleansing, and music. If zen can be used in a sentence, this is it. We watched everything occurring before us in awe; it really took you to another time and mindset and a sense of respect. We continued our way through the rest of the temples until around five o'clock.

THEN come to find out as we are waiting for a "tourist bus" that we had taken earlier in the day... the closed at five. It was around six o'clock, so we decided to start walking in the general direction towards West Lake. The group stopped after about a half hour of walking and looked in our book of China. While we were looking in the book and at the street signs, a biker stopped by us and asked if we needed directions. His english was pretty good, and he pointed us in the right direction. A few bus stops later and we made it to our destination.... "Old Street." Lots of vendors and an exciting atmosphere! We were walking along when these clowns on stilts came into our view. It was a cross between Marti Gra and a traveling circus. I was trying to take a picture of one of the clowns when he saw me, took one of my arms, and began pulling me along down the street... with a HUGE crowd in tow. Lots of people liked these guys. Anywhos, a couple blocks later, three other clowns came around and UP in the air I went! I got tossed in the air a few times (and to my dismay, it is all recorded on video) and then the clowns on stilts went on to their next "victim." It was fun, haha, like a cheerleading basket toss? Don't know my cheer moves.

After our group was stared at intently during dinner (which we pointed to random items on the menu), we made our journey back to the hotel.... stopping off at a person selling DVDs on the street and picking up "Bones" and "NCIS" seasons 1-4 and 1-6 for under 12 dollars ;) Iron Man 2 was also available, haha.

Until the next blog!

Chantell

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