Below Heaven, there is Hangzhou... but really, really far below!

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November 24th 2013
Published: November 24th 2013
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Hangzhou is a cool city with nice shops, good restaurants, elegant ladies and the famous West Lake Park, which is very beautiful, especially in the spring when the flowers bloom and the trees blossom. I love walking under the willows, wandering around the park. I find the zigzag bridges very cool, and I found out it’s actually allowed to camp in West Lake Park! Next time I go, I will camp there! This was my 3rd time in Hangzhou and as you can see, I wouldn’t mind going back in the future… Becky sees things in a different way though…

It was her first visit to Hangzhou. And as we expected, during the October holiday, it was crowded! Haha! Using the word ‘crowded’ is a euphemism. West Lake was packed with people. We only had a few hours in town before catching a train to Fujian Province (to escape from the crowds of tourists) but I wanted Becky to see West Lake since we were in Hanzghou. What did she see? A few trees, some water and swarms of travelers. I’m still laughing about it because, as you’ll see on the pictures, the alleys along the park were filled with
I was looking for West Lake. Would you know where it is?I was looking for West Lake. Would you know where it is?I was looking for West Lake. Would you know where it is?

Yeah, West Lake, everyone told me it was the most beautiful and serene park in China. Is it here?
people, shoulder to shoulder, walking around, picnicking, trying to ride a bike among the throngs of people, and these stupid golf cars filled with lazy tourists stuck in between and honking their horns at us, silly pedestrians trapped in tourist hell.

The night we arrived, we couldn’t find a single taxi to take us to our hotel. There were people everywhere, and taxis were all taken, and those who were free tripled their prices for tourists… We ended up taking a bus but it took 2 hours for the bus to cover 5 km in traffic mayhem! And we arrived in our expensive hotel, we were given a shoebox of a room with a single square meter between the shower and the bed… The next day, it was Disneyland at West Lake: people, people, people, people, and more people. What did you see in Hangzhou? People! We eventually managed to laugh about it! Hell, we were only there for a few hours before heading south to a remote place I know near Fuzhou (you’ll see all about it in my next blog entry) so we didn’t have it so bad compared to those who had booked a whole week in Hanzghou! I was happy to be in the middle of this craziness for the experience. Every year it’s the same thing for Spring Festival (= Chinese New Year) and the October Holiday. And every year the TV news show how people pile up in touristy places and how everyone complains about it. But it still happens again the next year.

It really was amazing to witness the situation. I felt like a tiny ant looking at other ants, thousands of other ants everywhere. Becky swore she’d never come back to Hangzhou. We got our backpacks, took another bus filled with people to the subway… We lined up for an hour before we could enter the subway station (I’m not kidding!) and then crammed into the metro and headed to the train station. Hangzhou and the army of tourists were behind us. Waiting for the train, I looked at my photos. I really should have taken more pictures. I guess I’ll have to go back! ;-)

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20


a few hours in West Lakea few hours in West Lake
a few hours in West Lake

October Holiday - National Holiday
Arriving near West LakeArriving near West Lake
Arriving near West Lake

hmmm... seems busy
Follow the flag!Follow the flag!
Follow the flag!

one of the 8743 tours at the Lake on that one day!
So... This is West Lake Park. So... This is West Lake Park.
So... This is West Lake Park.

I'm okay, thanks. Is there an East Lake anywhere near here?
What a day!!!What a day!!!
What a day!!!

We were sitting next to a statue and everyone was staring

24th November 2013
Now THIS is a boat!

From heaven to hell
What a contrast to your previous blogs of wide-open, heavenly spaces! I'm with Becky--never visit tourist sites on the holidays! I thought I'd been in some crowded places, ie. Festival of the Sun in Cusco, but no place does crowds like China. Looking forward to your next, less crowded blog. Glad you survived!

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