Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 11, Wuzhen, China

We left Hangzhou at about 6 this morning. We took a 2 hour bus ride thru a semi-rural area. It is difficult to actually see farmland because the Chinese have built apartments and condos all along the major highways between cities. Only from an airplane can you see farmland. When we flew in to Hangzhou, you could see a lot of rice paddies. ( I teased Joan and told her we were back in Shreveport and they were raising crawdads!) The bus ride was very pleasant. Do not believe all the stories about NO AIR CONDITIONERS. All of our hotels, buses, taxis, and restaurants have had A/C. We had our first rickshaw ride from the bus terminal to our hotel. Because there were four of us and luggage, we needed 4. They took one look at me and decided that I would ride solo. The girls shared one. Joan had one to herself. Joan's rickshaw arrived last. She claims it was because her driver was older. I wasn't going to push the weight issue.

Wuzhen is an ancient waterway of China. The older, historic city is built on water. You can walk down very narrow streets or take a boat. Because of the extreme heat ( 95+) the narrow streets cut off any breeze making the heat very oppressive. You can tell by the photo that we quickly soaked thru our clothes. We walked for about 4 blocks of the streets. We passed a lot of small shops with craftsmen hard at work. The carvings were beautiful. We then decided it was time for a boat ride.

One of the things that has become common is being asked to be photographed. Remember, we are the curiosity. I held a contest to see who could guess how many times we would be asked for photos. Joan picked 4, Aven 8, Chang picked 10. When we stopped for the boatride I had been asked 4 times and Joan 6. A group found us and we lost count. Aven and Chang labeled the last group our "fan club."

We then boarded our boat. No one believed me when I said it's name was the Cotton Blossom and the paddler was Captain Andy. There was a lot of laughter when I made a steam horn TOOT! We cruised down about 3/4 mile of canal looking at the reverse side of the shops. You can see laundry hanging out, backporch gardens and LOTS of bridges. It was beautiful. I have been sending our Marine son-in-law pix of Chinese girls. We call it recon and intel. I took several intel photos from the boat. Joan and I returned to the hotel to a cool shower and a quick nap. The heat really sapped our energy. We revived in time for lunch- clams, shellfish, and snails in a fish stock. It was delicious.

We are getting ready to head out to dinner and a night tour of the city. The old area is lit with lanterns every night. So long from Wuzhen. Tomorrow we travel to Suzhou.

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