AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia



Posted on Jun 15, 2014

We took a high speed train from Shanghai to Hangzhou (in Chinese the ZH is pronounced as a J, so it’s HANG JOE), a comfortable journey lasting 1hr 40m. Hangzhou is 120 miles inland from Shanghai and is famous for its lake, West Lake, which is supposedly an area of outstanding natural beauty. We were on our way to judge for ourselves just how beautiful it is! Hangzhou has a small metro system, but it does link the railway station with the centre of town, near the hostel we had booked. So it wasn’t long before we were in the hostel and cooling down. The heat had been picking up for a few days now. We thought that going about 1,500 km north of Hong Kong would be cooler but it was just as hot, if not hotter. Luckily it wasn’t as humid, but it was still sticky hot and we were very wet with sweat after only a short walk from the metro to the hostel. Our first task was to eat. We walked down one road and found the sister hostel to ours and the restaurant. But hostel restaurants feel more like a punishment for been lazy, they usually serve western food at western prices. We’re not here for that and avoid them most of the time, unless we do actually want western food or we are been lazy. That isn’t very often. We walked back up the street and saw nothing but a Costa Coffee. We then walked about half a mile down a road without seeing a single food place! In China that’s a very rare thing. There’s usually food everywhere! This was the main road between the centre of town and the lake, it was packed with tourists. We walked back up and checked a bit further in the opposite direction. Finally we found a narrow alley of food selling rice, every animal you can name, a huge selection of fish (or other aquatic things). It was very hot, very cramped, unappealing or simply inedible to us. In disbelief that we couldn’t find any street food or restaurants we gave in and ate in McDonald’s. It was air conditioned which we really needed and had food we’d eat. Yes, we felt like we’d failed! Our punishment for this failure came swiftly. About 5m away from us was a woman who kept hocking huge amounts of phlegm out of her throat and spitting it into a food bag. This she did in an incredibly loud manner and continued doing so for over 15 minutes! It was enough to turn my stomach. Well, I think that...

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