Couchsurfing in China: Hangzhou

One of my last days in China, as my trip was winding down and I was already (sadly) anticipating returning home, I took a day trip to the nearby and lovely city of Hangzhou. A relatively short and inexpensive bus ride from Shaoxing, Hangzhou is often described in China as “heaven on earth.” Candi, Jobie, and Junie were my tour guides, along with their friends Melissa and Alex.

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My first view of Hangzhou
First view of Hangzhou

After dealing with an obnoxious taxi driver, our first stop of the day was the China National Tea Museum.

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It was not just a museum, there was an actual tea farm. Farm? For some reason it seems like there should be a different word.

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The museum displayed teapots and tea settings from throughout China’s history.

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After being accosted (in a friendly way) by a group of Chinese students, we explored a bit more of the grounds before purchasing Hangzhou green tea – considered to be the best green tea in China.

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At some point “Would you mind taking a picture of me?” turned into “Cora, do this pose.” Exhibited below, the Cora pose, the Chinese pose, the Japanese pose, and the Junie pose. I will let you decide which is which. Disclaimer: all poses are the responsibility of those behind the camera. I am in no way accountable for inaccurate poses.

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In case you’re wondering which one was the Junie pose…

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After a delicious lunch (described elsewhere) of local Hangzhou specialties such as dongpo pork and beggar’s chicken, we spent a warm afternoon madly shopping the pedestrian only Hefang Street. Shops along the street ran from kitschy to authentic and there was much more to see than could fit into a single afternoon. If you received a gift from me from my trip to China, chances are it was purchased here.

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Showing off our new shoes

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We ended a busy day with a sunset walk along West Lake, one of the highlights of Hangzhou and a primary reason that Hangzhou is considered such a beautiful city.

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We hurried back to the bus terminal just in time to grab McDonald’s before taking a bus back to Shaoxing in the dark. Tired and with aching feet (happily ensconced in new shoes), I watched out the window while reminiscing on what had been a truly wonderful week in China. And it wasn’t quite over yet.

 

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