Everybody loves to travel. China here we come!
This is my 2nd trip to China with the first trip made a few years ago. In my 1st trip I covered the commercial side, such as Zhu Hai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and a few more areas taking us about a month of travelling. This time I visited Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai.
We are all senior citizens and two weeks of rushing & walking really drained our energy - we moved from Hangzhou to Suzhou and Shanghai every few days and have to wake up very early to join the local tours. Then at each site we had to walk for hours until the tour ended. As if not enough, we walked again, after dinner, for a few more hours. The most disappointing part is with such beauty abound my camera lens had to be damaged from day one and I am left depending on my brother-in-law.
China is blessed with wonderful natural beauty and this couple with the government's effort in restoration and conservation has created a paradise on earth, especially Hangzhou. However, sad to say that in contrast to this gift of natural beauty, China is like a country on fire. Everywhere you turn people will be lighting up - they will smoke in front of you and all around you without any consideration for the non-smokers. In view of the cool weather most shops, restaurant and even vehicles do not use the air-conditioning and do not open their windows. Therefore with so many smokers lighting up at the same time the non-smokers are being suffocated to "death". If nothing is being done the people will surely smoke themselves to their early death.
The traffic in those places we visited/stayed is chaotic. The drivers seemed to hate the cyclists and pedestrians. You are not safe even when using the pedestrian crossing.
The SOUL of Hangzhou lies in the West Lake and therein also lies the HEART of Hangzhou. The scenic lake and its surrounding areas is like a paradise on earth and every photographers' dream land. Thousand & thousand of visitors "pour" into Hangzhou daily, 7 days a week, attracted by the West Lake keeping Hangzhou alive day and night.
No photographer would want to miss such a scenic place.
The beautiful West Lake (Xi Hu)
Cycling around the West Lake. Cycling can cover more areas - as I have read from a brochure that the lake covers an area of 6.5sq km. My wife is just doing that. Her brother and & wife went along for the fun ride.
We enjoyed the local food here. The "smelly" bean-curd/tofu taste great, but not to everyone. Hangzhou's famous Dongpo pork - braised pork cooked in famous Shaoxing wine - is moist & red with thick sauce and is fantastic! Beggar's chicken - chicken baked in clay - can be bought in vacuum packed bags to be enjoyed later back home.
An ancient water town
Wu Zhen - an ancient water town/village neayby to Hangzhou. The town with narrow lanes was built along the river side with bridges to connect both sides. Another great attraction and a must see site. This water town has 2000 years history.
Suzhou (see next page)
Wuzhen is worth visiting and less commercialize than another water village in Suzhou, Zhouzhuang which we also visited. The boat ride along the river is very interesting which we did try in Zhouzhuang.