Thursday, March 8

We're in Hangzhou all day today.  I woke up at 6 and saw West Lake just past dawn.  The skies were overcast all day, not due to any pollution or such, it's just a grey day.

On the way we drove past this pagoda which appears to be quite famous since there were many tourists visiting.  I think it's Liuhe Pagoda and appears to be 13 stories, but is in fact only 7.  According to wikipedia it was built between 420 and 589. 

Saw this along the river separating Old Hangzhou from the Hi-Tech area.

We see some of the same companies here as we see in India.

The traffic patterns are pretty crazy, bikes and scooters mixing it up with the cars and trucks.  Although there are clearly defined lanes and sides of the road, we have seen both of those appear to be more advice than requirements...

Much of the city is dominated by the West Lake, a series of manmade lakes that are popular attractions for tourists in this "Honeymoon City".

The hotel is enormous and quite gracious, the rooms huge and well-appointed:

A new variation on the multi-format electric plug:

For dinner our hosts took us to Banana Leaf, a fun, campy Thai-style restaurant with more than just Thai on the dishes. It's a tropical party feel, and has a band of roving Filipino minstrels wandering around, singing songs about happy party times and California Dreaming and dancing with the patrons.  The picture of the entry was taken after we ate, so obviously Bob survived.

When the singing started, we weren't quite sure what was going on.

Bob was unsure.

But everyone had a good time and they danced with the women. Today is Women's Day, a holiday of sorts.

We had some locally-brewed Tsingtao.

And some fish, this was called Pomfret.

A spicy mushroom soup.  We had a similar Korean-style soup with lunch.  We also had spring rolls, eggplant, a Malaysian curry, a sweet chicken curry in coconut milk, some large prawns (with heads and feet of course).  Good food.

Not sure what business this is but its sign shone through the night.  We wandered around the lake for a few minutes afterwards but it was somewhat cold and damp and the beggars were getting annoying.  Mostly old women shaking cups at us for money, and they followed us around.  Not offensive, but annoying. 

We've seen inroads in American fast food as well.  In addition to the Pizza Hut here we've seen McDonalds and KFC.

That's it for today.  Tomorrow we're back in Shanghai for a couple of days.  See you soon!