Visiting Hangzhou, day #2


This post was originally published in 2007
It may contain stale & outdated information. Or it may have grown more awesome with age, like the author.

Today we weren't required to get up quite so early, seeing that we were already in Hangzhou. Yvonne's parents have decided that we will stay in Hangzhou for another night, so I'm going to buy another USB cable. We're going to go look around the shopping malls today, I don't know what else. Breakfast in the hotel was nice. There was no milk, and the orange juice was hot. Yvonne says that this is because Chinese people don't like to drink cold beverages during winter. I'm going to have another coffee. Last night, when I figured out how to change the exposure, I also learned that all the photos I've taken so far have been less than 1024 x 768 in size, some of the best ones have been less than 640 x 480. That irritates me somewhat, as low resolution images have limited uses (one can't use them for desktops, the photoshop options are limited, they are small). I've changed it so they're all 1024 x 768 now, but that doesn't fix the ones already taken. Sigh. At least they'll still look good as thumbnails. After breakfast we went for a walk around the main center of Hangzhou. Hangzhou is minuscule compared to Shanghai, which is a province in itself. Hangzhou is merely a city within the province of Zhejiang. It appears that 95% of Hangzhou's shops sell only women's clothes/makeup, 2% men's clothes, and the rest either cellphones or food. I managed to prevent Yvonne from entering all but one store, a makeup store. She didn't spend too long in there, and didn't buy anything though. We came across a small food place, and Yvonne decided she was hungry. While she ate I wandered around looking for another USB cable. I walked down one street, which was full of woman's clothing stores. This city is Gemma heaven. Unless Gemma had thousands of dollars to burn - in which case Shanghai would be Gemma heaven. At the end of the street I found a strange chromed sculpture, and took photos of it. That night I saw it again and took a night photo of it as well. I walked down another street, and still didn't find a store that looked like it sold USB cables. I did find a tattoo studio though, and took some pictures of the sign. I went back to Yvonne, and demanded we be allowed to enter the tattoo studio so I could photograph the owner, to show Stephen that the tattooists in China are the same as everywhere. The store was identical to all of the ones I've seen in New Zealand, in all but size. This one was smaller, which is pretty normal here. I flicked through the design book, and found that they catered for all tastes, Old English, "Celtic" tribal, and custom. Some of the custom tattoos were interesting, one especially so was a headshot of Mao. The tattooist looked like a nice guy, and it turned out he was. He agreed to let me take some photos of him, and after I showed him my tattoo he showed me one of his. It was really nice, incredibly detailed and smooth. The tattoo was done by the artist that trained him. The pictures are in the gallery. Unfortunately the photo I took of him standing by the counter is bad. I keep forgetting that Yvonne's ancient camera can't take inside photos without the flash. He thought my tattoo was awesome, and thanked me for letting him see it. Yvonne's mum also saw the tattoo, because she had come with us to the tattoo studio. She asked a lot of questions, like did it hurt, how long did it take, and then told me her hand hurt just thinking about it. Click the picture below to go to his website: Yvonne's mum went back to the hotel then, while went to the supermarket. They had a bunch of live fish in big buckets, but I didn't take any photos because apparently that is normal in China, so I'll see some more back in Shanghai. It made me think of the big aquarium we're going to on Friday, which is definitely going to be awesome. The supermarket sold Zespri Kiwifruit, at a low price of 3.60å…ƒ each. The rest of the supermarket was pretty standard, imagine a massive New Save and you're there. Had lunch in the hotel restaurant, which was nice. Had sweet & sour pork, which blew the crap one gets in New Zealand out of the water. I ate most of it. Then we walked to the mountain and climbed it. It was nice, and had a small tower on top. The view from the top was nice, I took some photos. Yvonne's dad and I did some Taichi while we were up there, and Yvonne took photos. I am sure the other climbers enjoyed the show, and will pass the story down from one generation to the next, until we become legend: "Foreign Fist and Thunder Foot, protectors of Hangzhou's glorious mountain." On the way down we passed through a tiny village, which was dilapidated and not very inviting. The inhabitants seem to earn money selling food to tourists, which couldn't have paid very well, especially in winter. Yvonne's dad exclaimed about how lucky they must feel living there, which didn't seem to impress the woman he was talking to. Past the village we went through a small stand of trees, which I took a photo of. The photo was all out of focus though, so I deleted it. Now it is but a memory. I'll describe it to you: some big trees, with some smaller trees/brush around, then the ground, which was brown where not obscured by leaves. New Zealand is covered with exactly the same stuff, and is therefore not a novelty. Dinner time, which was again taken in the hotel restaurant. It was nice, as usual. Sat in the room for awhile, labeling photos, then dragged Yvonne out so I could take some photos of pretty lights, and play with the exposure settings on the camera. Though I told her we'd just walk to the edge of the lake, I kept quiet and she didn't notice how far we'd gone until we had walked down one whole side. Took some photos, got harassed by a beggar. I kept telling her to go away, that I wasn't going to give her any damn money, but she kept bothering us. Usually we'd just walk off, but I wanted to take a photo from that spot. She didn't appear destitute, her clothes were pretty much the same as other 50+ women I've seen. When we finally shook her off she swore at us under her breath and called us selfish, which made me laugh. Also some kid mistook me for another foreigner, and came right up to us. Yvonne asked him what he was doing, and I turned around. He realized his mistake, apologized and left. Yvonne thought he was going to rob us. Don't worry Yvonne, I'm quite capable of bashing a small child. We saw some graffiti while we were waking around, which I took photos of. The funniest was: "Death. We will bring the death" which was obviously written by a very scary person. There wasn't actually any graffiti written in Chinese, which leads me to believe that English is "hip". The night before I was accosted by an incredibly inept street seller, who was attempting to entice me into buying a flower from her. Apparently we are a couple I am required to buy every vaguely romantic thing I see, in attempts to prevent Yvonne from becoming bored and leaving. As if she'd get bored with me! Anyway, this woman's technique was to loiter in the shadows, waiting for a couple to foolishly wander past. When this happens, she leaps out, bawling about how her flowers are the best, that I have to buy one at once. Shouts of "Don't want them!, go away! My god get out of my face!" are impotent against her wild charge, which judging by the large bunch of flowers she had in her hand, yielded inconsistent sales results at best. I bring this up because tonight I was approached both by her again, and by an obvious colleague of hers, only this man was polite and left as soon as I made my disinterest known. His technique was the polar opposite of hers, and made me almost consider buying a rose from him, in the hope that he'd take the woman's supply of food, and natural selection would remove her from the gene pool. She was really annoying. He walked up to us, offered the roses from an acceptable distance (the woman's flowers were literally shoved in my face, I had to use martial arts to prevent them from stabbing my eye), just far enough so I was able to inspect their quality, and then I was asked politely if I would like to buy one for "the woman" - by that he meant Yvonne. Like I said before, a slight shake of the head was enough to send him off searching for the next couple. Before returning to the hotel we went to a 24 hour dairy. I took a lot of photos of the liquor that they had on sale, because Richard wanted to know how much alcohol was in China, and what the availablity is like. Alcohol is very cheap and is available everywhere. I went to sleep when we got back.
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