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.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Hot day in Hangzhou
May 30th, Monday
Grand Canal and Global Centre, seen from Wulinmen Wharf
The temperature display on the bus read 40º when I returned from my trip to the northern part of the inner city to find the Foreign Languages Bookshop on Fengqi Lu; it had the best collection of art books I've ever come across, and a huge section on modern architecture, landscaping and interior decorating. Over a coffee I looked at a well illustrated book in Chinese: Hangzhou de Guqiao, which I think means "The old bridges of Hangzhou"––there are hundreds of them––and made a sketch of one of the photos. I bought another map, some postcards, some pens for Chris and a history of China from which I learned more about the very ancient canal, a feature of China since 486 B.C., which means that parts of it were already well over a thousand years old in the Middle Ages. This waterway was already 1700km long by the early 7th century, at which time Hangzhou used to be China's main international port. Getting off the B2 bus at Wulin Square, it is easy to find the canal just beyond the northern side of the road with barges going under the bridges.
A bridge in Hangzhou
On the way back to the bus stop, like all the other ladies of Hangzhou, I used my umbrella as a parasol. On the verge under the trees near the hotel sat a cluster of people in suits and long, silky evening dresses squatting in the shade to eat a lunch of rice, meat and vegetables from plastic trays, served from polystyrene boxes stored the back of a van.
I wrote in my diary, "The Chinese puzzle me sometimes."