Sunday, December 16, 2007


This past weekend we took Ken (Andy's cousin) to Hangzhou which is southwest of Shanghai - about a 2 hours car ride out of the city. This is the city that Marco Polo declared paradise and the finest city he'd ever seen (of course whether or not Marco Polo ever even visited China is still debated, so who knows). First of all I was impressed by the HUGE highways that have been built - and that no one obeys any kind of speed limit. Of course based on the insane traffic in the city, I shouldn't be shocked that people don't obey the rules outside of the city either. :-)

Some history: Much of this ancient city that had been the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty(1127-1279) was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion in the mid-nineteenth century. Today the city is mainly known for it's huge lake which is called West Lake.

It is a beautiful, picturesque area that spans 3 square miles. While the cities of China don't strike me as romantic in any way at all, West Lake is actually very romantic and would probably be best seen in the spring when it's not too cold or too hot. You can also rent bikes and ride around the entire lake instead of walking. You know, I was actually surprised - it was crowded but not as bad as I was expecting. Of course even at West Lake you'll find a vast array of western goodies to keep you satisfied like Starbucks and Haagen Daz (more on that later).

Check out the pictures we took!

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