I didn't say it wasn't beautiful...

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Part 1 - Waking thoughts

Saturday morning - I reflect on the rash decisions of Frdiay. First thing to rectify: my public opinion of Hangzhou. It probably needs to be done. I scribble it on a list in illegible handwriting. Not even I will be able to decipher it when the time comes to review. What is that smell? It's surely not coming from the girls on the top bunks. I check quickly - it's not my pack nor by belongings. A quick check of self confirm that it is not me either. THe fourth suspect remains asleep, belongings strewn around 'his' area. Bingo. Surely guilty as charged. It will pass. It must.

Time check. 9.37 Perth time. Respectable. I could even get another 20 minutes sleep. Maybe I will. No - I won't. I mustn't. I've got so much to do today. Well, firstly, I've got to try and set my opinion of hangzhou right - hmmm - maybe I'll leave it until the blog. No one will really care. More importantly, I've gotta get my train ticket to Xiamen - the homeland; where it all started. A bug buzzes - a chinese bug. You can tell by its buzzing accent, which is different from back home. I wonder if bugs from back home could understand bugs from abroad? 9.51 - time to get up. My microfibre towel is sent from God, as are my Havaianas. And so is the burst o hot water - best hostel shower in China. It's gotta be - well at least top 5.

Part 2 - Late afternoon thoughts

Fuck I'm tired. Thongs suck if you walk more than 100m in them. Hard-as-hard-can-be beds are always more comfortable when you're really tired. And thank God that smell has gone - Well, maybe not God, but that delightful breeze flowing through the open window. Today was a killer. Something to remember if you ever come to Hangzhou - the lake is fucking huge. Y'know what would be brilliant right now? A foot massage. A massage would be bliss. I lie and calculate my day's expenditure, rounding down to feel better about it. I determine that I could fit in a foot massage if I hadn't gad that average mid-strength beer by the lake, and if I don't eat for the rest of the day. But I crave rice. With chicken. The Flaming Lips repeat themselves in my head. I wonder if Yoshimi actually wins. Then I remember the list - the list I wrote this morning. The 'to do' list. I review it with a furrowed brow. What the hell does that say? I put it off, to be deciphered later. I recall my walk around the lake today and to the botanical gardens. My mind asserts that Hangzhou is all about hardens and sunsets. I agree. the lake is merely an expansive distraction to the parks that surround it, and frankly, the parks and gardens make it. The Flaming Lips merge into Cat Stevens , and then into Stevie Wonder. Early Stevie - let's make that clear. But the gardens I rate highly. There should be a 'rate it' button on the gardens like there is on these travelblogs. The sunset would get 6. The gardens would get 5. The lake would get mixed reviews. I wonder if anyone's voted in the survey yet. I'd get online, but the computers at the hostel are shit, gmail hardly works and i've got to pay 5 yuan per hour. I'd rather put that money towards a foot massage. Maybe I'll just lie here and see what happens.

Part 3 - Mid-evening thoughts

As I stir chilli into my nyo-ro myen, I think about how much I'm going to miss noodle soups. My beef noodle soup speaks: 'can't get me in germany mate' it boasts. My noodle soup has an Australian accent. 'Not even the instant variety, so enjoy me while you can'. Feeling left out, my beer pipes up. It's Scottish. 'I, on the other hand, will be a helluva lot better'. What he giveth with one hand he taketh with the other. I nod in acknowledgement and appreciate that even the beer recognises its own similarities to cat's piss. The noodles, on the other hand, are fucking brilliant and sit at the table with a knowing arrogance. The noodles don't say it, but you can tell that they are looking at the beer thinking 'and to think you cost more than me'. This is a normal scene at the dining table on the trip of the devil of the death from hell. I sense that the beer is looking forward to the moment when the tables turn. The Flaming Lips reassert themself, just as they did all yesterday, and I reflect on the day just been. I've come to really like Hangzhou - walking and, more than anything, watching. Doing the West Lake circuit with me, seemingly with a destination, are many many Chinese: couples, families, groups of dudes, groups of girls, the occasional loner with enough photographic equipment to require a camel. West Lake is a picture of the Chinese at leisure - Vienettas on a stick, iced green tea, photos galore, balloons. And as much as I have bagged West Lake (mainly for just being a lake), it is the scenic centre of the city. The other things that I love - the gardens, canals, parks and stunning sunsets, would not exist without it. No doubt, that the beauty of this city is lake-centric. I still think it's a bit average.

I think about what I've got to pack before I go to Xiamen tomorrow. First things first though - a full strength beer.

Part 4: the Top 5

There was point early in the Hangzhou adventure when I thought - "what more could go wrong?" Luckily, this trend stopped. However, I at least have this run of averageness to thank for inspiring this Top 5, formulated in the midst of a heated argument with a bus driver. He didn't speak english - I don't speak chinese. We both just kinda shouted. Anyway - the topic is: Top 5 most average things that happened in Hangzhou.

5. Getting on the wrong bus, which took me 20 minutes further from my destination than I was. If only the sign had suggested that Bus 17 and Bus K17 have vastly different routes.

4. Getting bitten by a mosquito right between my big toe and second toe. Why do mossies always get you in the most irritating spots?

3. Slipping backwards whilst walking down ultra slippery train station steps in my shitty, no grip Cons, luckily cushioned by the mammoth backpack on my back.

2. Putting 5 yuan into the bus cash metre thing, expecting e yuan change and getting nothing. Argument ensues.

1. Breaking my umbrella in torrential rain, waiting for said bus (see no 2) after having fallen on my ass (see said ass falling incident - no 3).

Xiamen it up...
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