Wet and misty: Hangzhou

I woke up moderately late on my first (and only) day in Hangzhou.

I had a fairly cold night as I didn’t figure out how to get the AC to heat my room but otherwise it was fine – after all the dorms it was nice to have a private room, though at ¥140 it was fairly expensive. Anyhow I headed out just before lunchtime for a wander along the Hangzhou lake shore. First I had some lunch in costa coffee as it shockingly seemed to be only moderately expensive – it did allow me to endulge in some hot chocolate and cake both of which were delicious and I haven’t had either for a while.

After this I walked along part of the lake and saw the Chinese buildings alongside which surprisingly were actually not just ugly concrete boxes – they are actually more attractive than most of the buildings built by their friends across the sea to the east :p.

I also got chatting to a Chinese man who was amazed I could speak “so many” languages as I can speak a little german and Spanish as well as English. It does make sense I suppose as the Chinese aren’t as multi-lingual as the Europeans are generally. He also asked for some English grammar help which I gave but it was clear that English is surprisingly tricky – he seemed to have most trouble with words like “is” which don’t exist in Chinese.

After this I headed along the lakefront for a bit more and saw some tasteful statues to various people and other buildings. The lake itself was quite boring though as it was covered in mist though a few pagodas did poke their way through the mist.

After all this I took a bus back towards my hostel which was cheap at ¥2 and worked surprisingly well for someone who doesn’t speak Chinese and when noone else speaks English. After getting off the bus as it pulled away from the lake I went into a department store – the prices did seem to be extremely high at about twice what you’d pay in the UK and the staff were very amused by my visible shock to the high prices, hopefully you can bargain them down as I probably need to get a warm jumper especially as it’s not going to be warmer further north in china and especially on the trans-Siberian.

All in all it was a miserable day so I returned to my hostel to have a nice Chinese dinner for ¥28 including beer before returning to my room to dry off. Tomorrow I head to Shanghai which should also be interesting to see – it’s also going to be back to dorms for the rest of my time in China on my own.