Well, we made it to Hangzhou! When the train got here to Hangzhou, it was quite difficult to find a taxi driver. Our group got turned down by a dozen different taxies... apparently their shift was ending shortly, and our hotel was too far away for them. We eventually made our way to the basement of the train station where you could wait in line for a taxi to pick you up. We got a taxi after a bit ;)
Staying at the Voice of Nature Holiday Hotel, and with the windows open... you can hear ALL of Hangzhou. The smell here is VERY different from Shanghai. Love the smell here and it is cleaner by far. However the driving was much better in Shanghai. It was pretty much like synchronized chaos. We found out that the museum is closed on Mondays (it's Monday here today, Sunday for the rest of you folks), so Dave said we could spend a day getting to know Hangzhou better. My roommates for the next month are Paige, an anthropology major, and Jasmine, a paleo major.
For dinner last night (Sunday) we went a little ways from the hotel and ended up eating at a restaurant, where there were no English subtitles or pictures of food. So we played the "close your eyes, and pick one" game. It turned out well! A few of the dishes were spicy, such as the shredded potatoes and a beef dish. We also had fish. The sauce on it was delicious! It was a whole fish, and picking apart the meat from the bones of cooked fish was a little clumsy at times. We managed to consume the fish no prob. Jordan and Danny ate the eyeballs. They are "food dare" buddies. What one does, the other does too. The other dishes included two soups, rice for everyone, lamb (which came with very little meat... lot's of marrow, ligaments, and bone), and Chinese beer. There is no drinking age in China. Drinks tend to come warm or hot. If you want something cold you say "binga"... it won't be cold. Just a little below room temp.
After we ate dinner, we stopped off at a department store along the way. I purchased a single plugin adaptor in the good ole U.S.A. for $10. You could by an adaptor power plug with four plugins for $4 USD.... mine from the U.S.A. doesn't work... Thankfully, the hotels have adapted plugins for several outlet types. Walking back from the hotel, Paige and I heard music coming from the park across from our hotel. It turned out to be a "park session" of dancing. There were two "aerobics" instructors and then the rest followed. The dance reminded me of country line dancing back at home. So what did Paige and I do you ask? We joined in.
This morning (Monday) we woke up to the sun at 5:30. Ate a delicious breakfast at the hotel, and then decided what we wanted to do to spend our day. Paige, Jasmine, and I decided to go to West Lake. We couldn't decipher how far it was from the hotel, so we took a bus. It cost 2 RBY per person, and last stop was West Lake. Turns out it was about two miles away.
West Lake is beautiful. It is surrounded by temples atop of hills, boats taking people from one island to another, vendors along the lakeside, and other features. At one vendor we shared a sort of fruit shish kabob with melted glasslike sugar around it. It was yummy. We all decided to take a boat to one of the islands. The "Yue Fei" or Moon Temple Island was the one we decided on. It was a nice twenty minute boat ride.
On the island, the temples and scenery were beautiful. Paige even brought her hula hoop with her to China (one that break down, and can be reattached) and we have several photos of her performing her feats. It did draw a crowd.... along with the fact that we are the ONLY white people around, haha. We got asked a few times to be taken pictures with.
Coming back to the hotel, we decided to walk back. It was a nice walk, but from the Expo two days prior and having been on our feet this past week too... feet get tired :) It is also hot outside. Good thing we put on sunscreen this morning. The three of us at lunch, and did the "point and pick" scenario. We ate a soup that was cooked on the table that turned out to be a tofu noodle, beef broth, crab, mushroom, and root soup. It was actually pretty good. The other item was a sweetish purple rice, red bean "cupcake size" food. It was different but not bad. Asking for a to-go-box was a funny thing. We made hand gestures of boxes, and then Jaz pulled out a little bag to put the food in. Then "alas!" communication. Language barrier makes things difficult, but can be worked on a little.
Well, dinner is at 6:30, and we are all going to take a little nap/study research before we go. Just a nice day of relaxation. Tomorrow... the work begins!