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HANGZHOU – CHECKING OUT THE SCENERY

19 Feb

So I actually did a very stupid thing whilst walking around Hangzhou. There was a dip in the pavement where one of the pavement stones had sunk a little into the ground, and I tripped and rolled my foot. I’ve rolled my ankle before, no problems, but this time was different. The inside of my ankle was SO SORE afterwards I had to stop for a few minutes and breathe through the pain. Usually, after awhile, it goes away and I just continue walking. But this time, it HURT LIKE HELL!! It was only slighly swollen, but the slightest touch sent white flames of pain up through my leg.

Despite that, as well as Chris’ protesting, I still hobbled around.. stubbornly wanting to sightsee. Plus I kept expecting and assuming it’ll feel better “any minute now”. When we finally got back to the hotel to sleep, I woke up constantly through the night because every slight movement nearly killed me with pain. Woke up in the morning expecting it to be all better, but it was SO TENDER I couldn’t even put it on the ground. Chris spent half the morning icing it for me, which really helped take the edge of the pain :) It’s taking days to (slowly) heal though. I wonder what happened? It felt like I pinched a nerve when I rolled my ankle or something….

Feeling sorry for myself at breakfast

…but quickly perked up when I saw the huge array of food on offer. Yay!

It was both an Asian and Western buffet.. so I was compelled to eat one of everything :P

3 serves of assorted dim sum

Lovely dumplings

Congee with preserved veg and peanuts

Random things from the Asian buffet (my Western buffet plate wasn’t photographed – too lazy!)

After that, we went on a mini hike to the Nine Creeks Meandering Through a Misty Forest. Yu Yuezan , a Qing dynasty scholar, described it in a poem: “The serried hills roll on; the paths bend and wind; gurgling and bubbling the springs flow; high and low the trees grow.” I’m definitely not one to wax lyrical or appreciate poetry, but I have to admit it does describe the place really well. It’s gorgeous – a flat, serene lake with a bridge that you cross over and onto another bridge right in front of a waterfall. Interestingly, it’s actually a man-made waterfall, but doesn’t look like it at all.

We climbed all the way up and up and up until we got to the top, and sat in a little pavillion overlooking it all. The sky was misty and we were overlooking all the trees in the forest – a gorgeous sight. That is, until I accidently kicked my (full) bottle of water over the edge and it went careening off downwards, nearly whacking someone in the head down below. Oops!!!! Apart from that little heartstopper, it was a wonderful place to chill out and relax.

Oh yeah, and the Nine Creeks? We never saw ’em. Don’t know whether they were hallucinating when they thought of the name, or if we didn’t walk into the right area.. but we saw no creek, let alone 9 of them :P

Nine Creeks Meandering Through a Misty Forest. Apparently.

The huge waterfall

Finally at the top *pant pant*

At the lookout

Chilling out. Can anyone translate those Chinese words??

Some lucky (rich) person’s house

Zoning out…

When we climbed back down, we saw a lady milling around outside – no doubt looking for tourists. She said she could take us to “a famous place to buy tea”, aka the Dragon Well (Longjing) Tea that Hangzhou is famous for. Now, we normally would say HELL NO to people like this. But we went beyond all rationale and said yes because:
1) We were in an area that had no public transport and taxis. We literally had no other way out unless we walked 1hr onto the main road.
2) We actually did want to buy some of that tea :P

The thing is, you can go to the proper touristy places for this tea – they show you how it’s made and then you can buy some. But this lady took us in her car up the road for 10 mins and ended up in someone’s house. The houses are all white, and set into the hillside. It’s picturesque and just so still and silent.. what a wonderful place to relax in. The lady was very nice and poured us loads of tea to sample, and didn’t charge too much either, so I was less suspicious. Plus, she had an official business card (looks like she has an actual store in the city, called Xi Feng Long Jing) with an address and phone number, and she let us take a photo with her, so I ended up deciding she was legit. Plus, dodgy people tend to make me prickle, just from the way they look/behave/talk, and she seemed really open and genuine. Oh, and her tea was terrific! Grown high up on the mountains, it was light and crisp, and had a beautiful clean flavour. Also, a snippit of information: Did you know that this tea is believed to guarantee good health and prevent diseases like diabetes and cancer?

She invited us back next time we were in Hangzhou, and she’d cook us a “traditional meal”. That actually sounds really exciting – eating a traditional Hangzhou meal outside and up in the hills. I think we’ll take her up on that offer! :)

With our cheery Dragon Well (Longjing) Tea seller

Bought 2 lots of the famous tea, one for ourselves and one for a girl friend

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Posted by on 19 February 2009 (Thu) in Hangzhou, Holidays, Uncategorized, Valentines Day

 

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