Bewildered in Hangzhou

Warning! I think this post may be a bit long as a lot happened this weekend and it’s only Saturday night,and we still have the whole of Sunday off YAY!

On Friday morning we set off to explore Hangzhou the famous tourist town near Lin’an.It is one hour away by bus.We got to the bus station no problem,found out where to board the bus to Hangzhou (somehow) and in only 45 minutes arrived at the West bus station in Hangzhou (there are 4 I think).Here we wanted to take a bus or taxi to the Foreign Language bookshop to buy our CHinese lessons language books.At the bus station we asked a lady how to get to the street of the bookshop Fengshi Lu.Luckily she understood my pronunciation and showed us where to get a cab to that street. WE found the bookshop and bought the books no problem. Now it got complicated. We just walked around a lot and got very tired-remember Hangzhou is home to some 6 million people and it is busy and crowded and crazy. We managed to buy a map,but the street names on the map were not always the same as in reality- and many streets didn’t appear on the map at all (if we could FIND a street name) .WE walked to the area of West Lake the famous tourist attraction of Hangzhou which is really very lovely and then felt peckish.The theory was that around the lake there would be nice restaurants to have a quick nosh. In effect there were only very posh tea houses but no restaurants. We dived off into a side street away from the lake and found the perfect place- a Chinese (ie non tourist ) restaurant with no English and even no pictures. WE used our limited vocabulary to order vegetables and rice,and chrysanthemum tea which was cheap and delicious (arou 30 shekels total).The plan was to do some shopping and then maybe go and meet Morten,a Danish guy who was teaching at ZAFU last year but just moved into Hangzhou.We called Morten and decided to meet with him around 5pm.Having got exhausted walking along really long streets we decided to get a hotel to stay overnight,freshen up and then go meet Morten.So we phoned him and asked him if he knew of a cheapo hotel to stay at. He gave us directions to a Home Inn,kind of like a Holiday Inn which has branches all over the city.BIg Mistake! Found the Home Inn and checked in ¬†despite a small language mix up since they demanded a deposit,and we didn’t initially get their drift. Morten was not available when we wanted to meet him so we put that off for another time and set out to look for the Reggae Bar where there was supposed to be a meeting of expats in the evening. After walking for several hours and not finding the place-turns out it had moved to another location-we gave up and got a taxi back to the hotel -only problem was we had no clue exactly where the hotel was and we were worried the taxi driver would take us to another branch of the hotel somewhere else. He dropped us off on the street where we thought the hotel was-which was of course not the right place.Fortunately two charming English speaking girls put us in another taxi and explained to the driver where we wanted to go and we arrived home safe and sound.

This morning we got up and discovered how you have to do these things in China.You get a person to write down where you want to go in Chinese and then show it to the cab driver. Otherwise they just don’t understand what you are saying.So we got someone to write down the name of the shopping street where the electronics stores are ,went there ,bought a new camera, got a bus from there to another mall. The we got a bus to the bus station,and got home to Lin’an.(I am cutting out a few things since I sense I am boring you)

Aren’t we adventurous? And by the way the starbucks in the mall had the most amazing snacks….



3 thoughts on “Bewildered in Hangzhou

  1. We did the same thing in China. Wrote it down in Chinese by someone who knew English and then showed it around to every one whom we wanted to ask about the place or thing we had written down like water, toilet, chicken eggs, beef, pork, bus, etc. so that we did not have a problem and since we ate everything with only two or four legs (not more) it was fine even in restaurants with menus without pictures or in English. next time try the revolving restaurant in Hangzhou, we went with a friend but did not eat there. They had a lovely buffet laid out there and a lovely view of the city from the top.

  2. It’s funny Aadil but we also did it as tourists. But now we are living here,we were so excited we kind of forgot on the first day.But by next morning we had it figured out! I guess you have to make the mistake to learn.Now we each have a little notebook on us for such eventualities.

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