Trip Start Jun 28, 2008
Trip End Aug 10, 2008

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Flag of China  , Zhejiang,
Monday, July 14, 2008

Last weekend two of our students Arron and Robert took us to the Province of Zhejiang, and the gorgeous city of Hangzhou. China is great because of the train systems, you can travel all over China on the high speed trains, and they are dirt cheap. The train we were on was going faster than 200km/hr most of the time. Hangzhou is one of China's most popular tourist spots, mostly to come to see the West Lake (Xi Hu). Hangzhou the city has a population of 6.2 million, but we didn't spend much time in the city, after getting in on the train we headed out to West Lake. I guess China has 36 lakes all called West Lake, but this one is the most famous. All of the buildings and islands on the grounds were once the holiday palace for the Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century.

The day we went it was 37 degrees @ 7am on the train ride out, and they say it hit 45 with humidity. This was a great place to be with the water and all of the willow trees everywhere. Still we were dumping drinks on our heads to cool off and I even started walking with my umbrella like the local girls do, which actually does help, and made my friends laugh.

We also visited the Leifeng Pagoda which you can climb up to the top of for a beautiful view of all of the gardens,  the West Lake and the city of Hangzhou. The original pagoda was built in 975, but collapsed in 1924. They rebuilt it between 2000-2002 and there are still remnants of the old pagoda inside.

We hung out on the water for quite a while in one of the classic boats with a hired rower, for a very cheap price. He took us all over the lake, in and out of the 5 adjoining lakes, over to the silk market, the lotus garden and back, and even waited while we walked around. It was a great way to see everything, although I hear that renting bikes is another good way.

We went into the silk market where they were actually making silk duvets. They are full of layers of fine silk, instead of the typical down ones we have. They are know to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so how could I resist. They even vacuum packed it for me to help get it home.

We did some shopping in the city and had lunch, and things seemed even cheaper here than they are in Shanghai which is crazy. I got a few nice pieces of art, and I almost wanted to pay them more.

The boys treated us like gold, and were real gentlemen, they wouldn't even let us carry the stuff we bought, I may be getting use to this kind of treatment, although Matt's the exact same way.  It's very common for the Chinese men apparently. To top off the day on the way home Robert won tickets to the Beijing Olympics in one of the snacks we had. They call everything a snack, not cookies, or candy or chips, just snacks.
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