Saving the best for last here. Hangzhou was also the last city on our itinerary but it was worth it. Going to those other great cities of the Yangtze River Delta, I found each one had similar characteristics, featuring a lot of prosperity, modernity and beauty. With the exception of the street fighters in Shanghai, I also found the people to be relatively civil and well dressed, equivalent to their ethnic counterparts in Hong Kong and Taipei. In Hangzhou, these impressions were amplified to the max especially with the crowds of Chinese we encountered around the West Lake but yet moved around with ease and had no problems, showing that being in a crowded place in China can be alright. Maybe I was taken in by the pleasantness of Xihu or probably because it’s the capital of my grandparents’ province, but Hangzhou was the best and I really would like to make a repeat visit. Hangzhou was also the only place where I was able to spend some time outside of the group, as my mother and I spent an evening with relatives near Xihu before returning to our hotel.
The following photos are those of a nighttime water fountain show on Xihu, a boat ride on Xihu, a trip to the tea plantations on the other side of Xihu, away from the city, and a walk through a garden on that same side of Xihu.
It was a fine day on the lake, just not weather-wise, as can be seen from the haziness in these pictures. The photo above shows part of the city.
Moving on to lunch, we traveled into the tea plantations near Xihu, where on both sides of the road and along hill slopes were grown vast fields of tea. There were also numerous tea shops, restaurants and inns. Traffic was horrendous, with vehicles having to stop for minutes at a time several times and each time it resumed, the progress was slow. For me, it was fine enjoying the scenery.
Disclaimer: These impressions are based on stays of one day each in several cities.