Well, I don't know
. First impressions? Well, West Lake is just kinda like a lake. And as I walked along the lake, on the finest day in the history of Hangzhou might I add, on the way to Leifang Pagoda, I thought 'well of course it's beautiful, but it's not awe-inspiring, silly beautiful like Yangshuo. Not even close.' And then, as I ascended Leifang Pagoda and appreciated the panoramic view from its peak, I thought 'well, yes, it's stunning, but it's just kinda how I imagined the lake to look from high up.' But then as I walked around the lake further and through some of the gorgeous gardens, inlets and canals (on the most beautiful day in the history of hangzhou did I mention), I began to think - maybe I am just beautied out. Maybe I became a beautyholic and now need an ever-increasing hit to sustain the same breath-taken reaction. So, then, as I walked along the amazing causeway, spanning the entire length of west lake, I thought - I know - I need an objective assessment. And what could be more objective than a survey. A good old 'I just hit the wall at 3.13pm SSO type survey'. So, based on the uploaded photos of Hangzhou, please indicate which of the following you consider to be correct. A proviso before the nominations. I acknowledge that, yes, indeed, the sunset is absolutely sensational. No doubt. In fact, I would probably consider equal to the remarkable Broome sunset on the road trip of the devil of the death from hell. Frankly, I was really quite taken by the sunset, but I had already decided that a survey would take place and I love surveys
. So the survey will proceed despite the fact that I am starting to come around to the general opinion of Hangzhou. The nominations are:
A. Hangzhou is absolutely, draw droppingly beautiful - you're just being a spoilt bastard and yes, you're a beautyholic. Seek professional assistance.
B. Hangzhou is beautiful - but it's the kind of city that, if David Stratton were reviewing it, he would say '4 stars - a solid city'.
C. Hangzhou is alright but not up to the hype and the talk. Kinda Danny Green.
D. Hangzhou is alright and yes - Bec and Lleyton Hewitt are white trash.
Voting closes at 4pm on 26 May 2006. You can vote by sending me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. A simple letter is all that it takes. Make your vote count.
Please note that the survey exists in lieu of a Top 5 for this entry only. This travelblog will return to its regular schedule after the completion of this special survey.
On the way to Hangzhou, as I sat on a packed train wedged between 2 people that, every now and then, would say "Au-der-lee-ya (ie Australia in Chinese)" and giggle, I mused to myself as to whether you could ever be 'beautied out'. I mean, you can definitely get templed, shrined or churched out. And, if indeed, the possibility of being 'beautied out' existed, would Hangzhou, at least in my mind, suffer as a consequence. I mean, I'm coming to the end of a bombardment of gorgeous scenery like I have never experienced which began at the Great Wall, but which has extended far beyond even its reaches. Really, Yangshuo is pretty hard to live up to. And Hangzhou, and in particular West Lake, so often considered a jewel in the crown of Chinese scenery, and considered Top 5 most splendid cities in the world by Marco Polo (or something along those lines) - would it inspire me like it apparently is meant to? Is there any breath left to take away?