Monday, August 14, 2006

Hiking in Hangzhou

Going on a five-hour hike with just a guidebook map, a small bottle of water and a shed load of suncream probably isn't the most sensible thing to when the temperature's nudging forty degrees, but needs must when you're working six days a week. I got off the bus just south of West Lake at 11am, aiming for a narrow trail called the Nine Creeks and Eighteen Gullies and, eventually, the famous Dragon Well village, home of China's most expensive green tea leaves. I ended up finding the village but not the trail, instead wandering along a circuitous route that passed car parks, Chinese kids bathing in muddy pools, a hidden cave full of Buddhist carvings, and a tea room that had pictures of a confused looking Queen Elizabeth taking tea with smiling Chinese politicians all around the walls. In the room where I was hurriedly seated there were a few mushy slices of watermelon, two cigarette butts, an cork-topped thermos of hot water and a single scruffy armchair: I eventually concluded the Queen had probably knocked back her cuppa somewhere else. Or did the price suddenly double for her, too, when she passed on the chance to buy a big bag of overpriced tea leaves? A sudden thunderstorm meant I had to abort the last leg of the walk, so I took the bus back to town and stuffed my face with pizza in a Chinese owned, Australian themed place above Starbucks and across from the Ferrari Store.

I got home around 8pm, had some sushi for supper, knocked back a bottle of Tsingtao and lay on my bed until I fell asleep. The things you can do when you don't have any classes on a Monday morning!

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