The Great City of Hangzhou
As I arrived into China I was welcomed into the city of Hangzhou, my home for the next 3 weeks. Hangzhou is located in northern Zhejiang province, eastern China. Renowned for its historic relics, it is often cited as the most beautiful city in China, a reference I now completely agree with. Currently ranked as one of the most scenic cities in Asia, Hangzhou has the best of both worlds; buzzing tourism and scenic beauty. It is within this area and province that my venture in China begins.
Hangzhou By Day
By day there is something ‘lovable’ about Hangzhou. The city is surrounded by the usual expected shops, hotels, boutiques and restaurants, but these places seem to illuminate beauty. Restaurants are small, inexpensive and filled with Hangzhou soups, meats, rice and noodle dishes waiting to be tried. Hotels are beautifully lit, with fountains and infrastructure unique to the Chinese town. The town buzzes with life, ready for foreigners to take to the streets and explore. Of course as a foreigner, I have now been a lost a total of 6 times since I got here but that’s part of the fun right?
Hangzhou By Night
By Night the city transforms. The city lights up, clubs and bars come to life and roads become busy with vehicles of all nature, a feat often interesting due to the relaxed approach to road safety. In the UK, pedestrians are paramount, in Hangzhou, Cars and bikes are kings allowing locals and foreigners to run and dodge traffic if they dare. The night markets in the centre open up another area of Hangzhou in itself, with Chinese stalls, local delicacies and eager customers haggling for a bargain.
One thing that has surprised me immensely is the generosity and kind nature of the local Hangzhou people. If you are lost, people will stop and help or grab more people to help if they are unsure. If the taxis are hard to flag down, they become concerned and assist. On one particular night we asked a local couple the right direction and 11 people ended up helping us to find our way. Where in the UK would that happen?
Reflection: Disproved preconception 3 – Chinese people are extremely helpful and never too busy to lend a hand..especially if you try a little chinese