Rolling with the Punches
Hangzhou Travel Blog› entry 53 of 174 › view all entries
November 1st, 2009 – by: domnicella
Yesterday and today have been infinitely better. Yesterday I took a much-needed break and spent the morning blogging (read: bitching my head off) and hiding from the wider world of China. (It turns out the clientele of this hostel are 99% Chinese tourists, so there was no escaping the screaming and the spitting and the tormenting of the dog while he barked his head off at mind-splitting volumes. That being said, the annoyances were manageable in comparison.) I headed out in the late afternoon and strolled a bit of the West Lake before doubling back toward the city. I discovered a long pedestrian shopping street, full of the kitchy vendors aimed at tourists that this area requires.
This morning I took a bus to the Linyin Temple, which is a bit west of the West Lake. The grounds were fantastic, with dozens of sculptures carved into rocks that you could walk/climb past.
The temple is essentially a compound of temples, each one with different buddhas and deities and such. The Chinese are WILD about their incense. WILD. They light fistfuls of Fourth of July grade torches and wave them around and bow with them and haphazardly fling them hither and yon. I seriously patted the side of my head at one point because I thought my hair might have caught fire.
The temples were neat; I enjoyed walking around and through them all. But they're nothing spectacular or unique from other temples. The true gem is the grounds that you walk through to get to the temple, and the thousands' years old rock carvings. They're VERY cool. THE must-see in Hangzhou, as far as I'm concerned.
I snacked on a massive ear of corn (the Chinese are wild about anything that can be speared on a stick) and caught the bus back to the lake.
The opening page of the (30+ pages) menu says: no meat, no egg, no MSG, no alcohol. Yes please!! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for eggs and alcohol. But no meat and no MSG -- can't beat that. The biggest bummer is that I didn't have anyone else with me to partake in the feast, and to justify ordering more dishes. Would have been a fantastic place to sample several dishes. I had a fresh watermelon juice, sauteed spinach, really delicious noodles that were uber thin and dry (not soupy), and tasty fake meat that was advertised as being fake pork but really tasted like chicken cutlets.
So happy things finally started looking up. Wasn't as bothered by the massive crush of the crowds, found some tasty vege food, and even the sun surprised the world by making a guest appearance in the afternoon, albeit for a few minutes. (Even the locals were caught off guard! So many oohs and ahhs and pointing toward the sky, like they hadn't seen the sun in ages. Maybe that's why these people are so grumpy and rude -- seasonal affective disorder... And suddenly everything makes sense.) Points for good days in China!
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