First time visiting Hangzhou, and it feels like a small town
Coming from sweden, it feels weird to state that Hangzhou, with almost 10 million citizen feels like a small town. If we take the entire population of Sweden, we still not reach the amount of people living in Hangzhou. I live in Halmstad, a city that doesn't even have 100k people, which is a tiny village compared to Hangzhou. Still... It feels like a small place, the people are different, the athmosphere is different. What I am comparing to is Beijing and Shanghai... Might be a bit unfair to compare Hangzhou with 2 of the biggest cities in the world. but still, the difference is obvious. It's hard to state exactly why, and in what way it's different.
However, one of the aspect that I can put words onto is that the locals seems to be more isolated to foreigners. Hangzhou is a common city to travel to for foreigners, but not as common as Beijing, Tianjin, Xian, Shanghai and Nanjing. I've visited all those cities and still, I get a different vibe being here. There are more locals staring and pointing at us, it could be that we are funny looking, have dirt in our face, or just a simple explaination that they are not used to bump into white people.
Being white in China is sometimes pretty funny, sometimes it sucks. When you visit sightseeing spots it's pretty common for Chinese people wanting to take photo with you, to remember their trip. Happend for us at several locations already, the latest being at the cruise on the Shanghai river.
At one mall in Hangzhou a girl, about 20 years old, spoke english and asked for a hug from me. When I hugged her she almost started to cry, either she got emotional or I am a really bad hugger... Kim says that my hugs are nice, but she's biased... building a kid with me and everything.
Food of Hangzhou
Our first meal in Hangzhou was traditional Chinese noodles. When we ordered from pictures while asking for "Niu rou", which is beef in Chinese. I told Kim that there is a traditional dish with cold noodles, and we did not want that... Guess what we ordered... :D
We got one hot noodle dish, one cold, one sideorder of chicken and water that tasted clorine. The water I just put to side and told Kim not to drink, we saw a Coco shop nextdoor so Kim went there and bought drinks for us. The warm soup with noodles was... not apealing. The cold noodles where... great! Felt really fresh and tasty. The sideorder of chicken was... lets just put it like this: we only ate the cold noodles and then left the place.
The dinner was... not great
We got a great idea when we finally got a taxi back to the hotel. We decided to ask the reception to order food to the hotel from one of the restaurants in the town. We asked for help to decide where to order from and what to order... I guess some bad communication was present... We wanted a nice chicken dish, one vegetable dish and rice, shouldn't be hard... Atleast thats what I thought.
We got a feeling that the order was missunderstood, but we payed and went to the store next door to buy some drinks. While in the store we also bought a cup of instant noodles, to have as backup incase the ordered food was not to our preferences.
We got chicken... wrapped in paper, with some kind of clay on the outside.
Which we felt was different from what we wanted, still, we know that baking whole animals in clay is an old cooking technique so at the same time as we are surprised, we were also excited. It was for sure an experience!
The Chicken was tasty, when we finally got down to it. It still had its head and feet, which is foreign for Swedes like us. Still, we tried the feets, which neither of us enjoyed. The head, we left for the trashman to finish.
With the delivery we also had a veggie dish, cucumber with garlic... lot's of garlic. Don't get me wrong, both I and Kim enjoy our garlic... but still, we could not eat that cucumber. So we left that for the trashman aswell...
Good thing we had some instant noodles to share.
Today, our lunch was a bit easier, however lacking protein
We went out on a walk, towards a green area on the map before the famous lake in Hangzhou. We expected that green area to be a big park... It was mountains covered in trees!
33 degrees (celcius) and 70% humidity made our walk a bit tiredsome. I would compare it to walking in a steam sauna. So, when we reached the bottom of the mountains, we saw a sign to a wallmart... And felt that was a great place to enter. Mostly because it will be cold, but also because it will be exciting to see what they sell and how it looks.
Great place to find awesome fruit and coffee
Our bodies are really tired, not sure why
We woke up early this morning to enjoy a breakfast in the hotel, which was nice. I will take some photos tomorrow to show how it is. After the breakfast we went back to the room and slept for a few more hours. Great start for a recovery day. Perhaps we feel tired from the heat and humidity, or just because we have been exploring a lot the last two weeks. A lot of new experiences and impressions for our brains to process. Most likely it is a combination of both. We love the heat, we love exploring, but it's alright to just relax and be present.
What can we do in a recovery day?
Except eating, which is obvious, we found some great activities for today.
We decided to do some laundry, the hotel had a self-service laundry room. The reception had overview of the place so it felt great. While the washer was running we went out for a walk exploring the area and finding a bar that will be showing the football game tonight.
We are not much for sport, and we are not much for football (soccer for you weirdos), we don't really care about that Sweden reached the quarter finals and we have not watched a single game so far in the world cup.
But since we are having a slow day, we felt it could be fun to go out to have a late dinner, share a few beers and watch a ball being kicked around. Not sure we will stay for the entire game, I mean... whats so exciting about spectating 22 players doing the work? Millions of passive people watching the hard work of a few, feels like we are all government employees.
Good thing I can share my beer with a pregnant female while being passive and watching the game. Protip: Share your alcoholic beverage with a pregnant female and you will get to drink it all by yourself. Works like a charm, 100% successrate.
During our walk in the heat, we took a few photos
We found a stadium, which was pretty huge, and we used it as a landmark to find our way around the area
We also found a nice chair, thought about taking it home with us.
We also found an outdoor gym, the picture from the top of the blogpost is a seated squatting machine.
I found a beer that I had to try out, looked better than it tasted, and as I have done the last few days... I left most of it in the can.
And yesterday we experienced a "tiny" bit of rain
It went from sun to pouring rain in minutes, and the amount of rain that came was pretty astonishing. It was aggressive and laster for pretty long, good thing we were present at a mall connected to more malls.
In one mall, there were a Naruto theme! However, they charged to enter the area. Even though I was excited, I was not excited enough to pay to enter.
Now it's 1.5 hour until the game starts, almost time to get ready.
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