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Published: November 27th 2006
It's not hard to guess, by the amount of pictures I took, what my favorite place was to visit. This river city in Hangzhou was gorgeous.
Kaffy and I were not off to a good start. We were up late the night before, and my morning wake up call was Kaffy heaving into the toilet. The omelet, and a little alcohol, did not settle well with him. I'm sure the bus ride to Hangzhou didn't help. Our bus driver was horrible. I usually don't complain when taxis drive crazy, but the bus driver loooved his horn. Sometimes he would honk it even if there was no one around. Just to make sure everyone knew we were coming. We would nod off to sleep and HONK HONK HOOOOONK HONK. It wasn't a normal honk either. It was one of those high pitched annoying ones.
At one time I said "He doesn't HAVE to honk everytime he passes!"
Then Victoria says, "Yes he does!"
Then Jack Garrett turns to me and says, "Don't believe it. Everyone else is passing and I don't hear their horn."
Victoria says, "I think he's a very good bus driver. At least he's not passing on the right."
Ten minutes later and we hear the horn as we swerve off the right side of the road to pass two or three cars before shoving ourselves back into traffic.
We all look at Victoria.
She shrugs and looks away.
When we arrive at Hangzhou and the entrance of the river city, we are told 86% of the buildings are original. As soon as we enter we see a beautiful river, boats, and even some people doing their chores. One lady was washing her clothes in the river. There's not much else to say about the river city because pictures speak a thousand words more. It was beautiful.
We then went to a silk factory in Hangzhou. Walking in, we arrived just in time for a hot fashion show of qipao's and other fine silk. We were led straight from there to a room where we were greatly urged to sit.
Our guide at the factory was to show us how to show fake silk from real silk.
She threw out material on the table. "Tell me, which do you think is the real silk, and which is the fake silk?"
The eager chinese crowd felt the pieces,
nodded at each other, grunted, and one held up a piece of fabric. "So you think that is the real one?" She flashed a knowing smile.
"Tell me, which do you think...is real?" She motioned toward Frank. He felt the pieces and determined the blue material was real. She did a count. "How many think this is real silk? It is true, this one is the real silk." She held up the blue fabric. There is an enthusiastic awe from the crowd. "But you ask me, how to tell? How to tell.. if real, or fake? People will say, 'this is real silk', but how to tell. How to tell. Many fake silk is made with plastic. Plastic is sticky. It can not breathe. Silk is cool in summer, warm in winter. Silk can breathe. If you sleep in silk, you will find yourself cool in summer, warm in winter. Silk moves with your body. But you ask me, how to tell...real from fake? I tell you."
She pulls a lighter out of her pocket.
"You burn. Fake silk..." she waves the flame "1, 2" and a hole appears. "smoke black. Real silk..." She holds up the blue material and
waves the flame "1..2..3..4..5..6... real silk, smoke white. Hot, but no burn. See? See? Feel." Another enlightened awe waves over the crowd of asians sitting around the table.
"So you ask, how to tell, fake silk, from real silk. Someone offers you silk, 100% silk they say. You say....'burn'. No burn, no buy. No burn, no buy."
She proceeded to show us comforters filled with silk, comforter covers of silk, their sizes and their prices. Then we were led into a room of fine, authentic, guaranteed, silk merchandise.
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