The last weekend we were in Shanghai, we took a quick trip to Hangzhou, which is billed as one of the most beautiful places in the area. It has a ‘magical lake’ that is wildly popular, but the area is also famous for its Dragon’s Well green tea. We decided to take Mr. Shin (Jenny and John’s driver) along with us, so he booked a cheap Chinese hotel – only $15 per room! The hotel was rather amusing, it was clean enough but it was a business hotel…which means there was an attached building where you could get a hooker. The rooms had the shower in a glass cage right next to the bed…
Unfortunately it was raining much of the time we were there, but it did clear up long enough for us to grab some beer and take a boat ride on the lake. It was a perfectly lovely lake, but I didn’t really get the ‘magical’ bit, something definitely got lost in the translation for us as we were reading about it. After the boat ride was over we wandered around the botanical gardens for a while. This was definitely worth it as there was, a huge variety of plants, many of which I’ve never seen before.
For dinner we went to a local restaurant where the specialty was a whole chicken wrapped in Lotus leaves and baked in mud. They bring it to your table and unwrap it, hot and steaming, right in front of you. It was very tasty, sort-of like roasted chicken.
A good side trip overall, though I’m sure it would be better without the rain, we had been very much looking forward to visiting the tea field.