Tuesday, October 10, 2006


After a couple of hours on the train it was off to Hangzhou, renowned for its natural beauty. Well actual most of the scenery is centered around an artificial lake, so maybe not quite so natural, but still a nice place. Apparently one of the top places to live in China. Around the imaginatively named West Lake, inspiration for many Chinese painters and poets, there are a large number of cafes and restaurants many shaded by drooping trees. I suspect lots of money was spent in landscaping around here. Although most people outside of China probably have never heard of it, it has more people than the whole of Scotland (not unusual for Chinese cities!).

A swanky new shopping centre has just been opening promoting an on the up feel to the city, it seems to be a popular place to teach English, but more importantly it is THE place to go if you want to buy a pair of scissors, yep not just famed for it’s legendary West Lake it is also China’s number one place to stock up on quality scissor equipment! This was evident on a visit to the new museum, not quite sure if it is officialy opened as there was no ticket officer so no charge, extremely unusual for China, where most parks have an admission fee. A dazzling array of scissorial equipment was here in evidence, well okay there was a cabinet displaying a variety of scissors, i.e. different sizes. Round the corner lay a large collection of stuffed animals, showing the wildlife around Hangzhou.

Back outside some house boats cruise gently through the lake staying clear of the splattering of lillies. On the dry ground some sculptures lurk in amongst the park gardens. One sculpture however is in the lake, a large cow. Moo! Some work going on in the park with new sculptures, maybe for the Olympics. One other sculpture sits on the lake, looks like the God of Sea, but only two spikes on his trident/bident. In a noiser corner of the park, the crowds of old men gather for there is card games to be played, domino matches to win. In addition a few musicians scratch out their tunes, some better than others. Interesting to see the music sheets, with the tab-like notation not entirely sure if/how rythmn is notated, maybe it’s all in the interpration.

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