Hangzhou Hot and Crowded

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I left Ningbo on a D Train very much like one of the European Bullet Trains. The waiting area for departure was not as confusing as I remembered from a prior trip. Fast clean and like Germany on time:) We cruised at 143km 35 degrees outside and 25 inside. When we arrived in Hangzhou it was 37 degrees or body temperature 98.6! I took a cab to the hotel.

Hangzhou is a Unesco World Heritage site like many Chinese sites. The Terracotta Army and the Great Wall are both UNESCO designated sites.

After unpacking I set off in the sweltering heat to try to get my bearings and remember where I have been. I walked north away and then headed south towards Leifeng Tower an interesting tower we visited in 2006.

There are many boats on West Lake and some will take you for a 1 to 1-1/2 hour paddle to various points on the lake. Here is a group of the boats tied up on the edge of the lake.

West Lake Tour boats Day 11

There were 2 photographers from Hangzhou taking pictures. I had my 70-200 white lens on my camera and it attracted their attention. On of the men had a 5DMKIII like me with the newer 70-200 the other shot Nikon D3X?

They were laughing at the amount I was sweating and took many head shots of me! I passed out Canada flag pins and we got along well. They motioned to follow and we walked along the causeway. One of then pointed out that the sun would set and and it might be nice since there were clouds in sky. I mimed I needed to go back and get a tripod (never go anywhere without a tripod!) Less than 30 minutes later I returned with my tripod and the Nikon shooter held a prime spot for me and told me to set my tripod where he was standing. Neither of them used tripods. There had to be over 30 other tripods set up waiting for sunset. The sunset was not spectacular and I still did take a few good images. As I had dinner I consulted The Photographers Ephemeris and learned the moon would set directly behind Leifeng Ta in an hour and a half! When I returned I had the place to myself. Night photography has not caught on, other than the occasional tourist on a bike stopping to snap a shot with a DSLR or phone. Here is a shot that will need some work when I return home. Short star trail and blown out moon with a 30 second exposure. They light the Pagoda and at 9:30 the lights go off.

The next morning I was a little late leaving the hotel and turned north. Very close by is an impressive Art Gallery that did not look open and it is part of the Hangzhou Art Academy. As I learned it is the oldest or 1 of the oldest institutions in China dating back to the early 1900’s. A Masters student Hiro talked to me outside and invited me to join him as he filmed Shi Hui a professor of Fiber Art at the Academy. While Hiro filmed on a 5DMKII I took stills of the art being created. The artist gathers paper pulp on a screen attached to bamboo poles then taps the screen to deposit the pulp on the frame of twine and rolls of paper cut and fitted into the frame.

Here is a piece that will be placed to have more pulp applied. This process is repeated many times until the artist is satisfied with the piece. There will be many of the frames used to create a wall of these frames in the installation.

I was invited to visit the other campus that is about a 40 minute ride from West Lake. Hiro offered to be my guide and someone from the Academy drove us there in a BMW SUV.

This is a new campus designed by a single architect. It was rather quiet with summer vacation. The buildings were interesting and there was an old steam engine with tender and dinning car that now serves as a coffee shop.

We had a lunch in a small restaurant close to the campus 2 vegetable dishes and sizzling beef for 41 kuai or just about $7.00! After we returned to the West Lake area.

Pardon the depth of field.

Hangzhou must have a lot of wealthy people living here. Just north of the academy there is a row of auto showrooms. Ferrari, Maserati, And Porsche (there is GM showroom hidden between Porsche and Maserati) South a few block is an Aston Martin showroom with a new Audi preparing to open a couple doors away. North several blocks is the Mercedes Benz showroom, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce showrooms. Maybe LA has more of there in close proximity?

An a fitting close to the first 2 days is a figure with a trident in a pool on the edge of West Lake.


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