Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hangzhou: Easter Weekend Day 2 (4/24/2011)

Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011
We slept really well! The hotel gave us one free breakfast! The other was 50 yuan/$8, and it was pretty much a Chinese breakfast buffet. Lots to choose from, but what was all this stuff! We had several boiled vegetables, breads, fruit, and noodles.
After checking out, we again grabbed a taxi that had dropped off passengers, and were driven down to the beginning of the Su Causeway. This was the dike built by the poet-governor Su Dongpo of the Song dynasty. It runs along the western edge of West Lake, and is linked by 6 arched bridges. Kent was again carrying the duffel bag that I had minimally lightened for him. The causeway itself was 3 km/1.8 miles long, but we were going to stroll. Today, it seemed more crowded than ever, and it was hazier too. We soon discovered that bikes and motor scooters, and multi-passenger electric carts all traveled along the causeway as well.
A youngster wearing a paper honeycomb hat:
Looking back at the Leifeng Pagoda:
Views of Huagang Garden:
The causeway road was lined with trees and the causeway itself was lined with willow trees.
Viewing pavilions along the way:
A view towards the surrounding 'green' hills to the west:
Fake vines to cover electrical wiring;
A dragon boat:
Bridge to the Quyuan Garden:
Site of the "Impression West Lake" show - the bleachers have been taken down, yet there are shows every evening!
Looking back along Su Causeway:
View of Gu Shan/Solitary Island:
Bridge to Gu Shan:
Boats for hire:
A Chinese Skink (Eumeces chinensis):
Another tomb:
A mother duck with two ducklings is separated from the other ducklings.
Mom later flew over the barrier to join the majority of the ducklings, and swam off. But then she seemed to hesitate, as the remaining two ducklings were frantically swimming into the netting.
We walked from the Su Causeway over to Gu Shan/Solitary Island, the only natural island in West Lake.
A very old willow tree (the trunk is behind the green fencing):
More hills:
The Taoist Baoshu Pagoda (built 963, rebuilt 1933):
With plum blossoms.. A hermit named Lin Bu, who was also a poet, lived on this island alone during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). He planted plum trees and raised cranes. People considered the plum blossom his wife, and the cranes his children.

This weird electronic incense smoke was located at a spot called Autumn Moon Over the Calm Lake (?):
From Gu Shan, we walked along the Bai Causeway, built by the poet-governor Bai Juyi in the 9th century.
Note the kite flying above the causeway; here is the operator:
Kent spotted a bird:
A Black-crowned Night Heron:
We left Bai Causeway to walk along the eastern shore of West Lake:
"Farewell to Bai" statue group 1:
"Farewell to Bai" statue group 2:
Banana shrub (Michelia figo):
The blossoms are supposed to smell like bananas. We sniffed because we saw other people sniffing, but I suspect the blossoms were old; they had no smell.

Well, we ended up at the Hyatt for lunch. They were having their Easter Champagne brunch, but we opted for a la carte local specialties:
Including from top left: a bowl of soup with corn on the cob chunks, pork and a shredded plum; spicy hot and sweet vinegar soaked cucumbers, eggplant with ginger and garlic, and teriyaki peanuts (and rice). I didn't take a picture of the dongpo pork that came in a small crock. It was a fatty piece of pork in a soy sauce with green onions, with a 3/4" layer of fat on top. No, couldn't eat all that fat!

In the restaurant, we also saw Euro kids with Easter baskets in which they carried live bunnies!

Decided to have the hotel doormen at the Hyatt get us a taxi. It took a long time, and we were second in line. Taxi drivers were refusing to take passengers! The younger doorman explained that this hotel does not have an arrangement with a taxi company, like Hyatts in other countries. These taxis are run by the government. (I have since learned that in Shanghai, taxi drivers cannot refuse to take you.) This was exactly why we were standing to get a taxi 2-1/2 hours before our train was to leave! But then the doorman asked how our stay was and what room we were in! What room?! Oh, yes, one with a view!

Once we arrived at the Hangzhou Train Station, we thought about trying to get an earlier train back to Shanghai, but the lines at the ticket windows were 10-12 people deep, and seats tend to sell out. (They also sell seatless tickets!) So we found seats in the terminal and waited the hour and 20 minutes for our 5:23 PM train.

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