|Rainy morning on the Qiantang River|
We woke to torrential rain. The weather was being reported in the China Daily, copies 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|
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.