Hangzhou（杭州）is like Suzhou’s little brother, you know the one that tries harder to be different and cooler than his brother. The first morning was spent looking for things: lost luggage, the cab that drove off with the luggage, a charming hostel, lost phones, lost friends.
There are dogs everywhere in Hangzhou, for some reason. Hangzhou is a very recreational city with its own lake (West Lake, 西湖) and also rather mountainous (more like hilly). Hangzhou in the spring is kind of like Ottawa in the summer where you can bike around the lake and get a bit tanned but have a cup of pu’er tea while petting dogs when you get tired of being active. Did I mention that there are dogs everywhere?
Unlike Ottawa, Hangzhou is quite mountainous (more like hilly), but that was alright with me because I quite enjoy a good hike. They grow tea on the mountains, so while hiking, you can see lots of old ladies with their straw hats picking tea.
We spotted a group of people crowded around something mid-hike. It turned out to be a bug. It had its own guide that followed it around explaining what it is to tourists. Quite bizarre, but totally normal under the circumstances (i.e. while in China…)
Next destination was the Thousand Islands (千岛湖). About an hour away from Hangzhou, the Thousands Islands is a vacationer’s paradise. One big ass lake with thousands of small islands littered in it. There’s a pirate themed amusement park on one island, a snake island (only snakes), a monkey island (only monkeys), etc. etc. You get the idea.
Hundreds of years ago, some cruel/awesome person thought that leaving a bunch of monkeys on a small island with no food and no chance of escape would make an awesome tourist attraction, and he was right. The monkeys survive almost solely on shitty junkfood brought by tourists.
Me posing with my asian buddies.
I think I can get used to having my own little island in the lake, being hit on with my “sisters” by rich old men “from Germany” who just want my “sister’s” number (in this real scenario, I am the brother). But alas only a short 4 days was spent in Hangzhou. I regrouped with my non-Chinese friends and headed off to conquer Huangshan the next day.