Along with what felt like half the population of China – or certainly of Shanghai, Chong, Isaac and Rachel joined me and Bron on a visit to Hangzhou on Thursday, April 4th, to celebrate our one year anniversary of living in China. Although the majority of our fellow visitors were probably there to celebrate Qingming Festival (or “Tomb Sweeping Day”), an annual national holiday to commemorate and pay respects to family ancestors.
Shanghai is so vast that even travelling two hours away you can still sense its spreading, all consuming tentacles. All along the sides of the motorways (/tollroads/highways) from Shanghai to Hangzhou there are houses, apartments or construction sights interspersed with huge, industrial looking farms.
A former capital of China (around a thousand years ago), Hangzhou is another of China’s many scenic spots, and probably the closest such tourist attraction to Shanghai (thus, the crowds). Its West Lake was given UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2011, so was well worth our efforts to see it, despite fighting for a view.
A fairly cultured day of walking around the lake, climbing to high-up temples and admiring the scenery was of course rounded off with the staple cultural evening experience in China – KTV (karaoke). I think we got through just about every English language song available (those acceptable to human ears that is, so strictly no Celine Dion et al).
Our first, and sadly probably the last, opportunity to take advantage of Rachel’s new job providing a driver as part of her remuneration package. A driver and a seven-seater minivan. Very handy.