|Mooring station for gondolas on Xi Hu|
Chris suffered from a sore throat all night and got up feeling lousy, but had his breakfast and left for work all the same. Later in the morning I set off into town again. The lake was still grey, pewter coloured, and smooth. After some gift shopping I sat at an upstairs window seat at the lakeside Starbucks for ages, writing my diary and looking down on the gondolas moored by the promenade. The uniformed gondoliers stood there, smoking, or sat in their boats to eat a packed lunch with chopsticks.
Afterwards I took myself to the West Lake Museum (opened in 2005 on Nanshan Lu) to learn some facts.
|Dredging Xi Hu during the reign of Qian Liu (10th century)|
Once again I read that Emperor Kangxi had built a palace on Gushan, the ruins of which I'd seen on my explorations, and was famous for naming the ten beauty spots (西湖十景). His son, who reigned between 1723 and 1735, went one better and named eighteen more must-see views! It was obviously the thing to do in the Qing Dynasty days.
In the evening the QNX team from Shanghai, Andy and Alan (not their original names, of course ... we had some discussion about that), took us out by car for a meal in the fish restaurant at the top level of the MixC Mall. It had an extraordinary ceiling made from strips of wood to ressemble a curvaceous fishing net. The dining booths were partitioned by walls of bamboo sticks. Andy and Alan were very solicitous about Chris' cold, and for about an hour before we actually ate anything we were obliged to share vast quantities of hot ginseng tea, drinking it from tiny cups. A beautiful girl performed the tea ceremony for us. The eventual food was good too, including a hot consommée soup, again for medicinal purposes. Chris asked what it was made of, and they alarmed him by answering: "pig lung soup, good for the lungs." He was absolutely forbidden to consume anything cold during his supper.
Westerners may scoff at Chinese medicine, but next morning, Chris felt completely better.