Who would have thought that we would be eating KFC and DQ in Hangzhou? Dinner was "on our own" tonight and we didn't want Chinese. So popcorn chicken + an Oreo blizzard = dinner tonight. However, our day was much more exciting than that.
The excitement started with a drive in to the West Lake district. It felt like we were entering another enchanted world. The city quickly turned in to a forest with huge trees and then a big lake. It's very lush and green.
Our first adventure was aboard a boat for a cruise around the lake. We shared a boat with tourists from Hong Kong. At first they shyly asked to take our photos. By the end of the trip there were group photos and it was like they were part of our family. They were so cute and they were really dressed up for the boat ride.
We drove a bit more in to the tea farming area - Lonjing (Dragon Well) Plantation. As an aside, our guide told us that all youth in high school have to spend 10-15 days working on a farm so they learn to respect food and where it comes from. The tea grows up the mountain and this area is very famous for award winning green tea. This time of year produces the best tea. We learned about and tried the famous dragon well tea. So good. We also learned about the benefits of green tea and saw a shocking demonstration about how it quickly detoxes. I need to drink more green tea.
After lunch we climbed the 6 Harmonies Pagoda all the way to the top...and we have the stamps to prove it. Amazing how high up we were. The clouds and fog made every thing look very mysterious. Stunning views and steep stairs. Good training for the Great Wall. I rubbed Buddhas belly so I am anticipating good luck.
We had 3 hours to explore a market in the area. I didn't catch the name. This market has been here for over 800 years. Some of the current stores are 200 years old. Some areas of the market have a distinct/unpleasant smell. Kind of like fried liver drenched in sugar but worse. It was interesting to see the street food. Lots of things on sticks like sugar syrup candy crab apples, chicken and shelled crabs. We saw part of the copper museum and the famous copper statue of Buddha with 100 boys.
Tonight we watched the most amazing show on the West Lake produced by the same person who did the Beijing opening ceremonies. The show is called Impression West Lake. It's hard to describe but the lake, forest, mountains and pagoda are the stage for a beautiful love story. The story is based on the real story of butterfly lovers and white snake lady. Except this story is not as tragic...the couple got married in the end. The stage is under water, the forest is lit up and the costumes and staging were spectacular. If you ever visit Hangzhou, you should definitely go! I had one of those moments where I thought, wow - I'm in China watching the most stunning performance take place on water. Life is good!