碰巧今年九月杭州將舉行 G20 高峰會，市內大興土木，往返西湖之路水洩不通，所以最佳的遊覽方法還是泛舟湖上。我們一行十多人包起小艇，桌上一人一個青瓷杯，杯中正是西湖龍井。船家說我們走運了，因為我們喝的龍井是昨天才採摘的，即「明前茶」。
Insane Hangzhou Traffic/Kimberlogic
After getting a little taste of Mainland China last month in Guangzhou, when an opportunity to travel to Hangzhou recently arose, I was very willing to travel deeper into the mainland. This trip was different from all my other trips as I joined a group tour. Different isn’t always a bad thing, but it isn’t always a good thing either…it’s just, well, different.
Being on a tour, we had every daylight hour planned for us, a guide to explain everything, a private coach for transportation and every meal scheduled ahead of time. In theory, all of that sounds quite nice, just sit back and enjoy the ride. But, in reality, I felt like a prisoner, not a traveler.
The West Lake is Hangzhou’s main tourist attraction. It is a very large lake minutes from the city which boasts some of the most beautiful gardens, temples, pagodas and scenic views in Hangzhou. Our hotel was only about 10 km from the West Lake and most of our sightseeing was to take place somewhere around the lake each day. Our tour guide had chosen this hotel because it was right in the wetland park and away from the crowds of the West Lake.
One morning we took a leisurely boat ride on West Lake and got to sample fresh tea from the region. Then we had a long walk along the lake. After a very long morning of swimming through the crowds of people around the lake, it was time to return to the hotel for a special tea ceremony. It took almost 3 hours from the time we boarded the bus until we got to the hotel, only 10 km away. The traffic in Hangzhou is insane! Needless to say, we missed tea ceremony and I really began to miss traveling on our own.
Hangzhou has a reputation for bad traffic jams, but very recently they have gotten much worse. The increased congestion is due to the upcoming 2016 G20 meeting which is to take place in Hangzhou in September. To prepare for all of the world leaders that will ascend on Hangzhou, the city has torn up every road, sidewalk, façade, etc. By the looks of the city at this moment, it seems like it just came into existence. We couldn’t find one view or one angle in the entire area we visited that was not under construction.
There was a lot of beauty to be seen in Hangzhou, but between being a prisoner on a scheduled tour and the construction which caused more traffic, I only saw a small slice of it. If I were to travel to Hangzhou on my own after the construction is finished, I think I would find it much more enjoyable than I actually did.