好久不见!

Update (June 13, 2012): Fellow blogger and USAC participant has a large gallery of pictures from Hangzhou. Check it out!

I want to first begin by apologizing for the delay in post, I finally started reading The Hunger Games and in just a few days have read books one and two–I hate all of you who knew I’d be addicted–causing nearly all of my free time to be eaten up (haha punny). Now that I’ve finished book two (by the way, totally Team Gale), I felt it necessary to let the blogging continue.

This weekend envolved a programed-planned trip to Hangzhou for some fun sight-seeing. It was a rather relaxed trip, but as you can see from the itinerary  we did hit some main spots.

Day One
9:00a.m. Depart from Yanchang Campus
11:30a.m. Arrival in Hangzhou
11:45a.m.-12:45p.m. Lunch
1:00-3:30p.m. Lingyin Temple & the Flying Peak
4:00p.m. Drive to hotel and check into hotel
After Free time; Dinner on your own (USAC subsidizes dinner)
Suggested sites for night: He Fan Jie (河坊街) – a street with restaurants and shops. Good place to buy suvenirs and gifts.

Day Two
8:30a.m. Check out of the hotel
9:00-9:15a.m. Drive to the West Lake
9:30 – 10:30a.m. Tour the lake on boat
10:45 – 11:45a.m. Leifeng Pagoda (or Thunder Pagoda) A tale about Leifeng Pagoda can be found at: http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/whitesnake.htm
12:00 – 1:00p.m. Lunch
1:30p.m. and after Drive back to Shanghai

I must say that Lingyin Temple was my favorite part of the weekend, as it was so far removed from the business of Shanghai. It was calm, gentle, and relaxing. I could have spent the entire day there and still would have wanted more time. I miss the quiet.

Eating Scorpion (Picture take from Alison Mohr)

For the rest of the weekend, we spent our time doing typical Chinese things–same Asian adventures, just in a different Asian city. I’ve pretty much decided that once you’ve seen one (insert type of market, ie. “food,” fake,” “night,” ect.) you’ve seen them all. After awhile it gets old, I’ve taken up the games of “How will this unknown food feel in the morning?”, “How low can I get the price, before you realize I don’t actually want the product?”, and “The hunt to find something ‘Made in America’ or just not ‘Made in China’?” Even if these markets are all every similar, I do enjoy the thrills of them: hundreds of people, loud-scream noises, and constant repeated attacks to your olfactory nerves.

Before the excitement of the weekend, a group of us had just picked up our dashing suits and lavish dresses and wanted to go out to a some bars to “paint the town read.” Planning in advance as to not repeat what happened the last time I ventured into the “China Bar Scene,” we headed towards Bar Rogue with the excitement of “No Cover for Early Arrivals” and a Live DJ on the horizon. To put it simply, that was the nicest bar I have ever been to. After looking around, checked out the bar menu, and planned to find a table, we took pictures and left after about 20 minutes–just enough to appreciate the view and understand that this was not our bar. Not discouraged, we found The Geisha who promised 5 drinks for 100元 ($15.743 USD)–this was out bar. While some left early, a small group stayed until 3 to dance the night away. It was truly an unforgettable night.

Even earlier last week, I had the opportunity to travel to the Jing’An Temple which as I mention in the vlog, as an interesting juxtaposition between hectic city landscape and calming escape. When I visited, the 高考 (Gaokao) was in full swing and parents were flocking to the temple to ask for support to their children. For those curious about the Gaokao, it is a super intense test that Chinese Children can only take once to get into college, think of an extreme ACT/SAT combination that the entire country takes over several days once a year. If the student doesn’t pass, then they are not allowed to attend college are are forced to find a job (while this may sound radical, I will mention what college is paid for by the government). The temple was packed.

Below, you can find pictures of my time in Hangzhou as well as some other pictures of the time missed between posts.

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