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.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Very wet

Rainy morning on the Qiantang River
June 14th, Tuesday

We woke to torrential rain. The weather was being reported in the China Dailycopies of which were regularly delivered to our room, so we assumed it must be unusual. 600,000 square kilometres of farmland was flooded, so we read. (Later that week, it got worse.)

A trio of strange ships sailed by on the river while I was drinking a cup of milky coffee in the club lounge, decorated that day with stems of lotus buds, fifteen to a tall vase, as well as single orchids in the small vases.

Zhongshan Lu in better weather, looking south from Jiefang Lu
In the afternoon I decided to take the bus to town, rain or no rain. I got off before the terminus and walked south down Hangzhou's oldest street, the Zhongshan Lu, which is very long. This would be nice to explore on a fine day, with flowerbeds, a battery car for tourists and a parallel stream in a gutter with little bridges crossing it, but I was preoccupied with keeping the umbrella over me and my feet out of the puddles. Not many other people were about and the shops were empty; I saw a shopkeeper fast asleep in one.

I revisited Hefang Street, the street that sells the sort of souvenirs I generally don't want, although I did wonder about a gourd flute. In order to shelter from the wet, I went inside a few of the shops, this time, buying a mouse mat with a communist poster image for my brother-in-law, a silk tie for my son-in-law and a cute little outfit for my baby grandson. Some of Hefang Street reminded me of shops on the seafront in Scarborough, Yorkshire, in the 1960s, although I did also see a few more exclusive looking jewelry and silk outlets.

On my return to the hotel I needed a complete change of clothes, stuffing pages of the China Daily into my shoes to dry them; as soon as we set out for supper the other clothes got wet, too. No matter, we had an excellent meal at Asia Table in the MixC mall. We guessed it would be good because on the previous three occasions when we'd tried in vain for a table it had been packed with queues outside. The restaurant hires musicians, a quartet of jazz singers with a drum that evening, to entertain their waiting customers. Unfortunately this clashed with the smoochy background music inside. We chose spring rolls, a green Thai curry, sweet and sour pork, beans in spices and three bottles of beer.

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