18th November 2012
Last week I only had 3 days of school, because of staff training days. To get in the holiday mood, Mum & Dad had lunch together on Monday & saw this man & his ladder:
On Tuesday – after Mum had a very important meeting at Helen’s Spa, Dad & I met her & we had dinner at People’s 7 next door. Dad was worried that he might spill his beer:
For the holiday we went to Hangzhou – to see some Chinese countryside. We went on a 1 hour train journey from Shanghai Hongqiao railway station (which is 3 metres from the international airport terminal! & looks just like the airport terminal) to Hangzhou railway station. The fast train is called “The Harmony”. At the station we saw this lady in a cosy outfit – I wonder if she has heard ‘say cheese’ before.
After dumplings for lunch, & a bit of Chinese calligraphy practice, we walked through a bamboo forest to a temple.
Nine creeks walk – our tour guide described this as “an adventure” & we walked through tea plantations & crossed the creeks on stepping stones. I didn’t fall in or get wet feet, which Mum was amazed by! At the end of the creek path, we stopped at Longjing Village for a lovely cup of tea at Mr Wong’s house. Everyone in the village had a tea room. Fun fact: Hangzhou is famous for green tea, meaning they have lots of tea houses. This also relates to this finding – there is only one Starbucks for 100s of miles. We then went to the China National Tea Museum – we saw a lot of different teas & some old tea pots. Interesting if you like tea. Or pots. We visited a monastery in the afternoon, but it was raining & not so much fun getting wet. Mum liked the roofs.
Hefang Street is where we went next. The first thing we did after we got out of the car was go into a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shop, where the first thing I saw was a jar of snakes. We were sure they were just what Dad needs for his tinnitus, but the pharmacist didn’t agree. TCM mainly consists of animal organs and plant roots. The medicine is taken in or with medicine soup, which also has certain vitamins for general strength and health. We went to a TCM Museum where we learnt about the history of TCM (of course this was very extensive as it has been going on for 7000 years and you can still get a university degree on it). In the pharmacy, we were given some soup to try. Then we went back to Hefang Street where we bought a finger on a stick (as Mum has to do some funny conducting at a meeting next week – pooooor Mum), had a go at a Chinese coconut shy (I didn’t knock down any wooden things) and tried some sort of sugar-fish on a stick.
In the afternoon we went on a brilliant cable car up to Lingshun Si temple. Then walked down again – there were a lot of stone steps. It was apparently a 2km hike down the mountain.
That evening we saw a show at the West Lake called “Impressions of the West Lake”. We sat on a floating platform in the 3rd row. It was a bit chilly, even with 6 layers of clothes & a Mum to cuddle up to. The show was actually performed ON the lake – there was dancing ON the lake – there was a platform just under the water so the dancers got very wet feet. There were really massive spotlights & singing by Jane Zhang who is Dad’s new favourite singer. If any of you go to Hangzhou I would ask you to close your eyes for the part after the ladies have stopped dancing on the floating house, so you don’t see the sad bit of the story. You can see the promotional video here.
This morning we went to Linyin temple. There was loads of Buddhist temples & statues.
At Linyin temple there is the largest woodcarving sitting Buddha in Mainland China. After that we left the hotel and went straight to the station and went home. We were home just in time for tea!
To make things quicker, I am going to put all of the photos here. Including the ones above because I do not know how to edit galleries.
Back to school tomorrow – Thomas