Author: Daniel Shy

We left the Shanghai hotel promptly at 7:00 AM and made our way to the Hangzhou-bound express train. The majority of the group had breakfast on the train that consisted of noodle soup. After arriving at Hangzhou, we were picked up at the train station by the tour guide and began navigating the city. The tour guide described the city as “small” with a population of just a few million. The effects of the smaller city was seen in the traffic as it was more civilized compared to the Beijing/Shanghai chaos.

The walking tour started on the east side of West Lake. The lake was magnificent and filled with engineless wooden boats. Those boats were also docked along the lake rim ready to offer rides for willing customers. Fog and mist covered the lake which just added to the mystic vibe of the combination of the forest, mountains and lake. Several traditional houses lined the path that once housed famous scholars and calligraphers.

The tranquility came to halt when the path was blocked by a construction zone that was fenced with banners of pictured forestry. Chinese characters covered the edge of the banner which translated to “Beautification for the G20 summit” which will hosted by Hangzhou.

Following the Hangzhou walking tour, we got back on the bus for the four hour trip to Huang Mountain (Huangshan). The route took us through the mountains which were blanketed by endless trees. Hidden in the valleys of the mountains were small rural villages. The poorly maintained houses that made up the village were amidst rubble and other demolished houses. With no clear sewage system, water from the rain accumulated on the side of the road and caused a flood in several location. Even with the rain, cloths were hung to dry in the patched grass garden. The day concluded in the hotel with planning out the trek up Huang mountain.