China: A Day in Hangzhou

(typed on my iPad en route to Shanghai and before bed – sorry Blanca!)

March 18th

One of the great qualities about our hotels on this trip has been the good breakfasts offered to guests. Because these hotels have many Western food options, my travel companions and I have loaded up on these breakfasts. Today was no different.

After breakfast, we went to the Dragon Well Tea Plantation. Talk about a beautiful setting.  The people who live in the Plantation also work the grounds. Yes, this sounds like something you can only read about. Alas, it exists — and we were there.

The women pick the leaves and the men dry them. The end product is a delicious cup of tea.  As a tea lover, I was really looking forward to this part of the trip and made advance plans to make purchases there. In the end, I walked away with a fair share of tea products for myself and as gifts.

We also made a visit to a temple on the grounds of the plantation.  This gorgeous temple features a 64.2 ft Buddha carved from a single piece of wood. It’s stunning.

It was beautiful watching other people worship in a way that is foreign to me.  I’m really glad this visit was included on our trip — it was very eye-opening.  Our next stop was to the West Lake of Hangzhou.

We ended up taking a boat cruise around the lake, taking in the picturesque landscape.  Despite my sea-sicknesses and the grayness of the day, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sights and sounds of the lakeside environment.  Some of my tour-mates were especially impressed by the Starbucks we stopped at on the way back to the bus. 😉

We spent the rest of the afternoon/early evening driving to Shanghai on our bus.  I spent some time sleeping and the rest of the time chatting with my tour-mates.  Even though we had a dinner scheduled that evening, our entire bus revolted and decided to have dinner on our own. It was glorious.  A bunch of us ended up in the hotel restaurant ordering American-ish food and booze.  I even broke down and ordered a tall tropical cocktail. Good times.

Travel Confessions

  • I am so glad our long bus rides are over. Bumpy rides are rough!
  • My cravings for Mexican and Italian food are significant. I cannot wait to eat queso.
  • Still missing John!
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