Monday, April 28, 2008

Hangzhou; A Photo Essay

Hangzhou was visited by Marco Polo who famously called it the most beautiful place in the world. The West Lake has been a muse for painters and poets for centuries. Despite the rain and grey skies (for which my travel wardrobe was woefully unprepared) it was easy to see why this city has a reputation for being place to relax and watch the world go by.

I recognized these trees from traditional Chinese paintings- we often think of eastern painting as incredibly stylized, but in reality they are quite accurate renderings of landscapes unfamiliar to us.

The rules of feng shui call for balance in all things and these two figures at the entrance of a restaurant seemed to perfectly embody that principle. I liked how they were rough around the edges, but still so hospitable and welcoming because this is how China seems to me.

I've been meaning to do a post on the elaborate cake decorations I've seen in Shenzhen, so consider this a preview of things to come. The cake itself usually tastes terrible, but Oh! The decoration! No effort is spared in the decoration. If you look closely you can see that the tiers are supported by wine glasses and between those tiers are nestled a variety of gaily dyed sponges. These reminded me of the decadent floats at the Rose Bowl Parade.

Hangzhou is a bit chilly and the motorcycle is the vehicle of choice. These little hand warmers attach right to the handlebars. No need to remember your gloves!

Hangzhou is also famed for its silk industry. Here are bales of raw silk waiting to be dyed.

Silk means beautiful nightgowns. We stayed in one of the most appalling hotels of our brief but hotel rich married life in an effort so save money. Eric promised me a nice present as a means of compensation. Here I am trying to choose one. The Blog Inn was neither as clean and acceptable as the website suggested, nor as amusing as we had hoped. In the end we couldn't even bear to take a picture to commemorate our wittiness. It was that bad.

These lanterns caught my eye, they reminded me of silk worm cocoons hanging in the leaves of a mulberry tree.

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