Thursday, 22 November 2012


It was already about 9.30pm. when we reached Hangzhou from Nanjing by bullet train. The queue for taxi was very long, so we had no choice but to accept the offer from one of the private vans after some bargainings as usual. So again we found ourselves in a very old and small van (first was when we went to Xitang). The driver told us he knew the way to our accommodation that night, Wushanyi International Youth Hostel. After about half an hour, we were told that he couldn't locate the exact location. We showed him the map and he agreed to call them for direction. After a few attempts, he said he couldn't get through the line. He continued to drive around and said he had to charge us more as he was making a loss! Hubby argued with him. It was dark and quiet and i was getting nervous, so i told hubby to give in. He even stopped the van at one point where it was so isolated. I then told hubby in English to ask him to drop us somewhere nearby. I was scared. It was then the driver said he had to drive to another road as he couldn't enter the road to the the hostel from where we were. So he did know the way after all! Finally, he stopped the van and we walked to the hostel by asking for directions. I was finally able to release when we saw the sign of the hostel! I think the driver had intention to get more $$ from us right from the beginnings!

The moment we entered the hostel, i had the warm feelings as it was quite cozy and it was filled with tourist from overseas. It was my idea to experience staying in a hostel. We found our family room clean and neat with ensuite bathroom.

The next morning, while we went down to the lobby, we saw tourist in their pyjamas holding their towels and tooth brush heading to the shared bathroom! So this is what hostels are like! Well, it was an experience.

After breakfast in MacDonald nearby the hostel, we walked towards the much acclaimed Unesco Heritage site West Lake, the day's itinerary.  On the way, an old but kind looking woman started to talk to hubby. She suggested to take a bus to Jiuxi, then continued to tour the lake. She emphasized that we must not retrieve the route, we had to go ahead instead until we reached the lake. She further said that it was the way to tour the lake! At the bus stop, another friendly woman approached us and started to tell us the same thing. So we took the bus to Jiuxi, took a cab as what they suggested.

When we got down from the cab, another old woman started to talk to hubby and kept inviting us to her house to take a rest. Hubby didn't have the heart to turn her down and so we ended in her house whereby she served us tea and of course we ended buying tea from her! After that she helped us to hail a private car to drive us to the point where we thought was very close to the lake. But it was not the case, we ended in the tea plantation which we were not interested in. We then hailed a metered taxi and the lady driver was curious that we ended in that area.  We told her about the women and she said she knew it! She further said that the old woman must had been following us and she knew for sure that we had bought tea from her. We could only think that it was indeed a consolation that we did not spend too much.

So we were finally at West Lake after all the hassles and time wasted. I was quite disappointed by now. Moreover it was a Saturday and the place was crowded with loud local tourist.

First we took the boat ride where we landed on one of the 3 islands on the huge lake, the Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon (三潭印月). We then took our lunch in a restaurant facing the lake. The crowd was even larger now with the congestion and noise from the cars on the road!

After lunch we continued with some of the scenic zones like Orioles Singing in the Willows (柳浪聞鶯), Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond (花港觀魚), the tomb and memorial hall to Yue Fei (岳飛), Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer (曲院風荷).

It was another round of hassle when we tried to get back to town area. Taxi was extremely scarce and we ended in a private little van again. This time we were literally squeezed in this tiny van! I was so frighten with the way the driver handled the van even in this over loaded condition. Anyway we were back to Hefang street which is near the hostel.

We walked around the street as we did this morning for a while till it was dark. Then we went back to the hostel to retrieve our luggage and had another round of hard time to get the taxi to the airport. Even though it was too early for our 1135pm flight, we didn't want to take the risk of not able to get a taxi.

A reminder to myself about planning trip to China, try not to go during Weekends not to mention public holidays! And also do not listen to stranger no matter how kind and friendly they may look.

West Lake trip would definitely be more enjoyful if there wasn't any episode in the first place! Maybe we can come again on a weekday to really appreciate the beauty of this Unesco World Heritage site.


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