So I'm a bit late in updating, I've just been a bit busy, and when I haven't been busy I've been tired.
So this last weekend I visited Hangzhou, a large city about an hour south of Huzhou. I'd been here before for the medical checkup, but was just there for that and left. This time I was going as a tourist. I heard that West Lake (西湖 Xi Hu) is quite beautiful. So I went to Hangzhou and a friend of mine, Jin Song, met me at the bus station and we went to West Lake. It really was pretty nice, and I took some pictures of course!
There is a street there that my friend told me is considered the historic district, and the buildings do look quite traditional, but I actually forgot what the name of the street is.
But it is a tourist destination, and what tourist hotspot is complete without a Disney store?
I thought this was interesting because it's a McDonald's in an ancient building.
Here is West Lake itself.
They also had little boats where you could go out on the lake. We rented one of those and got some more pictures. Here is that same tower just closer.
And here is a daytime view of the downtown Hangzhou skyline.
These other pictures were in the park area around West Lake, nice imagery is all.
Hangzhou has a LOT more people than Huzhou. Once I rode the bus from downtown Huzhou back to my place and I thought it was crowded. I was sorely mistaken. When I was leaving Hangzhou, my friend and I took a city bus back to the bus station (to go back to Huzhou). It was like sardines in a can, it was so crammed! I don't know how they do it everyday, ugh.
However, with so many more people (Hangzhou is Chicago-sized while Huzhou is about Tampa-sized) comes some other benefits. For one, there are more foreigners. In Huzhou, in a week, granted my first week, I unexpectedly met 3 westerners that I did not know. In Hangzhou, I saw that many in half an hour just walking around.
But the BIGGEST benefit of a larger city is that it is easier to find certain western foods. Now don't get me wrong I'm willing to eat Chinese food for lunch and dinner. Some of it I like, some of it I don't, but for lunch or dinner I'm adventurous enough to give it a shot. But breakfast, I'm sorry, you just want something easy, comfortable, familiar, where you don't have to wonder what it will taste like. Now I was able to find one kind of cereal in Huzhou, some imported German cereal of cornflakes and freeze dried fruits. It tastes fine, but the selection here is limited to that or the box of plain cornflakes and they are expensive, like $8 USD per box.
But in Hangzhou there is a Chinese chain grocery store called "Carrefour." Now, their selection is still lacking compared to any grocery store in the US, but at the very least I could find other things like Frosted Flakes or Cocoa Krispies or similar things, and they weren't expensive! I picked up a box of Frosted Flakes for $2. They also had the German cereal, and it was still expensive. I think these other cereals weren't expensive because they were packaged in Thailand rather than imported from Europe.
But most importantly, I've been looking to make a pizza on my own here, due to Huzhou's lack of pizza. However, Huzhou lacks mozzarella cheese, but not the Carrefour in Hangzhou! These may seem like trivial things back in the states, but I was psyched to finally find some mozz.