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January 2nd 2009
Published: January 4th 2009
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1st to 2nd of January 2009

Hey guys, hope you all had a happy new years and aren’t too hung-over from the marathon booze sessions. Anyways I’ve arrived in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, China. It’s a city of roughly around 6.4 million people and feels like it too, the traffic here is dense! The atmosphere is quite nice, the city feels modern and clean and has pretty much everything you might want, decent coffee, department shops, small stalls, street food and even a entertainment district. When we arrived the temperature of the city was a frosty 5 degrees centigrade and I’m glad I decided to wear a big jacket on the way over.

When we arrived the tour guide took us directly to the hotel and to our surprise we ended up at the crown plaza, a swanky place with a great view (of a highway) and free internet and cable TV, unfortunately we didn’t have time to enjoy the facilities as we were straight off to our first tourist destination - the west lake.

The West Lake is a stunning park, reminds me of the Sydney Chinese Gardens but on a HUGE scale. It was extremely enjoyable and the first time my camera got a bit of a workout. Since I describe things better in my photos, here is a except from Wikipedia about this park:

“It is surrounded by mountains on three sides, with an area of around 6.5 square kilometers. The distance from north to south is about 3.2 kilometers, and east to west, 2.8 kilometers.

The circumference is around 15 kilometers. The average depth of West Lake is 2.27 meters, and the capacity is about 14,290,000 cubic meters. The lake is divided by Gu Shan, Bai, Su and Yanggong Causeways into five areas. Ordered by their areas, they are Outer West Lake (外西湖), West Inner Lake (西裡湖, or 後西湖, or 後湖), North Inner Lake (北裡湖 or 裡西湖), Little South Lake (小南湖 or 南湖) and Yue Lake (岳湖). "Outer West Lake" is the largest.

"Gu Shan" or Gu Hill is the largest natural island in the lake. Su & Bai Causeways run cross the lake. Three small man-made islands, "Xiao Ying Zhou" (小瀛洲), "Hu Xing Ting" (湖心亭), "Ruan Gong Dun" (阮公墩), lie in the center of Outer West Lake. Thus, the basic layout is "one hill, two causeways, three islands, and five lakes".

I’ve also put in some photos to show you what it looked like from my perspective.
After the park, it was off to dinner at a restaurant and then off to a live show, the name of which escapes me, it consisted of a martial arts display, acrobatics, and traditional Chinese dance and music, all in all a fantastic show - I will hopefully have some video highlights of it when I get a chance to do some video editing.

After the show we retired for the night. The next morning, a 7:30 start, involved a quick breakfast and straight off to massive property owned by a rich merchant, now although you may not think much of this at first, you have to remember Chinese people tend to do things differently - this place was massive. Again since I don’t really remember what the tour guide was saying I’ll just post some pictures up.

Straight after we had lunch and then a three-hour bus ride to Huangshan.

Huangshan is a small mountain town in Anhui province it has a small (by comparison) population of about 1.47 million people. The city is most famous for being at the base of Yellow Mountain, which I’ll talk about in a later post since I’ll be visiting it.

Soon after arriving in Huangshan we visited the historic markets in the area. A good opportunity for souvenir shopping (so I thought) but soon after checking out the merchandise I realised very quickly that it was cheap, mass produced crap and after spending about an hour at the markets we moved onto dinner and straight to the hotel where we just crashed for the night.

See you next time!

Next post - Yellow Mountain!

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