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Shaoxing

Our first few days..

sunny 30 °C
View Trip to Hangzhou on chinaflyrox's travel map.

Woody has put us up in a hotel for the next two days, this was very unexpected, surprising, but we are very grateful for the gesture. He really is so kind. He took us straight to the hotel, we thought he said we could have a sleep but that was not the case. He wanted us to have a shower and get ready for dinner, Woody then waited for us in the lobby. We rushed, so to not keep him waiting, then realised he had gone to fetch his family. We met his wife, Uchin and his son Tutu. Tutu was very shy and would not look at us. We went to a restaurant close to the hotel, Woody ordered many different bowls of food with fish and vegetables, the food was very nice but different to what we know chinese food to be. Woody ordered beers for Matt, they came warm, so they brought ice to make the beer cold. We are going to have to learn how to ask for cold beer for they seem to drink everything warm here. Woody then took us to his apartment, it looked like a flat but inside we were pleasantly surprised as it was huge, it felt just like you were in a big house, it was lovely. We had to take our shoes off outside and there were other shoes they had for us, so not to take the dirt inside. Then we got to meet Woody's daughter, Mong Mong, she is so cute. she was more relaxed with us, she had a friend with her who was older and knew a little English, she was also very sweet. We bought gifts for the family and gave them to them. They loved the magic beans, these turned into animals from Africa, wish we had brought more. Tutu finally started warming to us, thanks to the magic beans.
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The next day, after such an awesome sleep, we had breakfast at the hotel, it had a wide range of Chinese options and Western options, we tried a bit of both. Then Woody fetched us and we were off to explore the city. Woody was our tour guide, he was incredible. Where ever we went, he explained a bit about the History, he was very informative. He took us to a park, it had various old buildings; massive stone tablets with Chinese writing and pictures telling a story; a very old tower overlooking the park, which looking from above, had a massive map of the city imprinted in the rock on the ground which even had holes for the lakes and slits for the rivers that flowed through the city, it was very impressive. After that, we went on a little Chinese boat, similar to a gondola. It was beautiful, reminding us of Venice in Italy. As we were moving along the river, there were very old houses right next to us, with stairs leading from the water into their houses. Their boats would park at the bottom of the stairs where the water met the stairs and they would walk up, how amazing to live that way. The man that was paddling our boat used only one special paddle, for if he used two paddles, it would not fit in the narrow river and would you believe it, he used his feet to paddle, was incredible to watch. He kept the boat perfectly straight the whole way and when we had to turn, he did it so elegantly, with hardly any room to manoeuvre. Once we got off the boat, we started walking off, then suddenly, some boat rowers, sitting on their boats, shouted at us in a friendly way, pointing at us, whoops, Matt was walking away with their life jacket on, so funny. After that laugh, Woody took us to a famous bridge, it is apparently thousands of years old, it was built during the Dynasty times, made out of stone, it was really amazing to see. Whilst walking, it was so hot and humid, so Woody introduced us to a traditional Chinese yellow wine popsicle, it was different but tasted yummy. Now that we were refreshed, we drove off to the next place, it was a narrow, long road, with shops on either side. There were also museums that were mainly showing their masters. The masters were masters of writing and painting. We visited them and again Woody explained what they did. The one writing master could write perfectly, therefore would not need any reprints etc, apparently it is extremely hard to do. They would play a game on a stream whereby they would all stand along the stream, then they would make these special teas that would be poured into a special floating cup. A person would sip it, then float it down the stream. It would float to the next person who would grab it. While this happened, the first person would say a poem he had just made up, then the next person would do the same and it would carry on and on. The master would write these poems perfectly and they would be ready to be given his official mark , a stamp, and signature, no one could do this except the master. Then we went to another master's home. It was a huge piece of land, with this huge house and massive gardens, flowers, trees etc. He was very wealthy. It was great learning some of their History, lots of it being part of Woody's and Chinese people's studies. Hunger had hit us, so off we went to a local place for a quick lunch, we had various bowls of meat, fish, vegetables and rice. Our plan now was to go to Hangzhou for 2 nights so that we could do our medical that we were required to do, plus Woody said that it would be a good idea to see some of Hangzhou and site see a bit. So off to the train station we went, to go buy our tickets for the fast train, then Woody would explain to us how everything for our trip would work. After the train station, we went back to the hotel for a bit, then Woody fetched us and took us for dinner at his home. Urchin made us the best food we have had so far, chicken wings, crumbed chicken pieces, sausages, two types of grilled fish, beef strips, steamed egg, cabbage, a root vegetable and rice, it was all so delicious. We played with the kids for a bit and they used up their last magic beans, they love them, it was an amazing evening.
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Posted by chinaflyrox 03:12 Archived in China Tagged shaoxing

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