blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A day for the children

June 1st, Wednesday

Boats on the Qiantang River. What are they?
June 1st was Children's Day in China so the MixC Mall with its skating rink, its IMAX cinema (showing Pirates of the Caribbean) and its branch of Toys-R-Us was swarming with noisy kids. After a lazy start to the day, I'd walked there along the river esplanade around lunchtime, seeing some strange boats.

Child in Hangzhou
The hotel pool, "under renovation" since our arrival, had now been declared ready for use, so I went up to the 18th floor to try it out. The changing room had lockers with padded clothes hangers covered with satin, and complimentary flip flops. On the dressing tables, along with the lit candles in black ceramic candle holders, were brushes, lotions, and another display of orchids. The pool itself was large, curved and overlapped its rim. Around the edge were tropical trees in pots and sun beds facing the windows in a neat row with a rolled white bath towel at the foot end of each one, garnished, as it were, with a single orchid. I felt it would be a sacrilege to disturb these so went to help myself to a towel in the changing room, also neatly rolled; the orchids in there were adorning the flannels instead. The bathtowels were very fluffy, very big. At one end of the pool was a cluster of patio tables and settees, and at the other end a juice bar with stools. The whole place was deserted on my arrival but the attendants with whom I'd signed in, knowing I was there, put on some soothing music for me with incorporated birdsong and brought me a cup of water. Later another guest arrived with two little girls who joined me in the pool. I doubt whether both girls were her own children, probably not. We encountered hardly any families in China with more than an only child.

After dark, Chris and I went for our customary walk by the river and watched a young man shouting vigorously at a line of half a dozen little boys trying to master the art of roller blading. The instructor demonstrated the technique he was trying to teach and then the little boys were encouraged by a shove on their helmets to imitate him, one by one. They each got it wrong and the many adults watching laughed.

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