Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hangzhou's Westlake

The city of Hangzhou, 1 1/2 hours by car from Shanghai, is famed for Westlake (Xi Hu). Westlake conjures romantic scenes of ancient China with its lotus ponds, pagodas, willow trees, mist, bridges and plum blossoms. Look at the description of some of the spots on the lake:



If money's no problem, the best place to stay is in one of those old mansions further into the lake that have been converted into 5-star hotels. The part of the lake nearer to city, where most of the newer hotels are, is not impressive but further away into the other side of the lake, the scenery is beautiful. My first visit to Westlake was in winter and all I remembered of the lake was the mist. On this visit, the mist was replaced by smog.


Hangzhou residents like to gather by the lake and sing Chinese opera.

These tea eggs were bland.

So was the tofu.

Westlake's water is green and murky, shocking for such a famous lake. People were spitting into the lake like it was a sport. I'd hate to be a fish here.

Steamed black glutinous rice.

Black glutinous corn too.


Yes, Marco Polo was here and I am one of those who think that pasta came from China.

The Leifeng Pagoda, one of the famous vista of Westlake.

There are many small gardens and museums in Westlake. This one here is lined with persimmon trees, some of the fruits still hanging. We didn't have the time or energy to visit any of the gardens and just walking around the lake took us 4 hours. Okay, we cheated by taking a buggy ride (which should be banned because the paths were narrow and the buggies were noisy, blaring cheap music instead of honks whenever they needed the pedestrians to step aside) across the lake. You can take the boats too.


Gorgeous translucent jade bowl.

A jade wine cup, usually for royalty and VIPs.

We checked out one of the museums (no entrance fees in Westlake) and the jade objects, as you can see, are beautiful.


It was October 10, 2010 and many couples got married in Westlake because of the rare date and also because the Chinese saying "xie chien xie mei" means perfect. It was also my son Wey's 16th birthday and the first time that I had not been there with him.

Apparently, there are ten scenic spots on Westlake that should not be missed. I didn't know that or I would've planned my walk on the lake to start earlier. There are plenty of good restaurants around the lake. An ideal holiday would be to stay in one of the upscale hotels inside the lake and spend a whole day exploring all the scenic spots, some of which are very historic, dating back to over a thousand years ago. Westlake is beautiful but the development done on the lake does not do the lake its aesthetic justice. I came away wishing that the Chinese would learn some landscape design from the Japanese.


Lily Anette said...

The jade bowl and royal cup are so beautiful. I am into these things more than food! :)

red | hongyi said...

wow that corn is super black. was it yummy?

im hungreh and cant wait for u to come and fill my tummeh

Laura said...

Pasta has really old origins!!
Italian pasta and Chinese noodles are really different. I don't think they're correlated. Archaeologists found a kind of pasta in the Neolithic age (8.000 years B.C.). Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Chinese, ate pasta lot and lot of years ago!!
The legend of Marco Polo importing pasta from China is only a legend!! Pasta is not like Noodles! :-)

( ...the Italian version has different informations...but I don't think you can read it).

Enjoy your day!!

terri@adailyobsession said...

lily: i am into both!

yi: it was very. no i want to loose weight. we'll shop instead.

laura: hi laura! how r u??

chinese noodles come in many many shapes, flavors and made with diff kinds of floours--wheat, rice, beans etc while pasta is made with wheat flour n eggs. the chinese have an egg noodle tt's very similar to pasta. chinese noodles date back to 2000 BC but i guess we'll never know who copied who or it can well be tt both italians n chinese came up with their own versions.

Laura said...

Hi Terri!
I'm fine!!
Thank you very much for visiting my blog.
You're right: we'll never know who started making pasta before....the only thing we can do it's EATING IT!! :-)
Take care!

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