Fashion around West Lake

Here we have a classic summer look. It’s hot, so wear shorts and roll up your t-shirt for maximum air flow. You need to look stylish though, so wear your black dress shoes with white socks.

This white poodle had a fluorescent orange tail and ears. Poor little guy doesn’t even know he looks like a traffic cone.

During the summer, many dogs are shaved like lions (to keep cool, I suppose.) They leave the head furry so that it looks like a lion’s mane!

Things locals do around West Lake…

… feed the swans (Does her t-shirt mean that her fashion is the latest fashion in history?)

… practice tai qi

… sleep (why would you get up at 6 AM to go sleep by the lake?)

… jog BACKWARDS around the lake (apparently it improves balance)

… stretch

Temple in Hangzhou

(photo by Jon)

(photo by Jon)
Lots of people waving burning incense all around. Very safe.

Why do people have to touch everything? We all know that the oils from our skin ruins old things. So, they’ve put up a fence to stop people from touching the very old carvings of Buddha. This doesn’t stop them though… they just use it to stand on to lean over and touch him!

Too many people!!! Everyone seems to need to get a photo in front of everything, so people are just constantly standing everywhere.

Jon’s photos from Hangzhou

Jon is a pretty good photographer too! He has learned a lot about composition and tricks to get good photos with his point and shoot. All of these photos are his.

Jon and Emily together in photos!

It was nice to have Mr. Fan take some photos of us together… we almost never have photos together! We’re too busy taking photos ourselves.

Blooming Lotus Flowers

Trip to Hangzhou and West Lake

Last weekend, Jon needed to go to Hangzhou for work. Saturday, we took the slower (and very loud and annoying) T train there. Mr. Fan is also very interested in photography, so he took us to West Lake twice, as the famous lotus flowers are in bloom.

West Lake

I think these are the three best photos I took from the boat. See the post below for a bit more about the trip on Saturday.

West Lake boat trip

Saturday, Mr. Huang (left) took Maggie (middle), Minna, Nancy Bohlen (visiting from the US) and I to Hangzhou. It is considered the most beautiful city in China. West Lake is the most popular tourist destination. It is quite nice, with the lake and the mountains. We took a small boat around the lake.

Nancy and I.

Taken from the van – a worker in the field.

The only brooms you can get in China are made of branches. That is all you see anywhere!

Temple in Hangzhou

The second stop in Hangzhou was a Buddist temple. Before going in, there were a bunch of caves with Buddas carved into the walls.

Cool lighting on the steps in a cave.

Buddas outside carved in the rock.

Maggie tries to light incense – the fire was really hot and blowing around. Minna and Maggie lit incense at all five temples, prayed to each Budda, and did some other ritual things.

Inside one of the temples, monks were gathered and were singing and chanting. I really wish that I had a photo, but there is no way I’d be so disrespectful as to take photos during a religious ceremony.

Chinglish in Hangzhou

I’ve wondered about this for a while. Do you have to enter a lottery to get on welfare? You get welfare if you win this lottery?

Actually, it is a regular lottery, like the scratch games at home. The “welfare” part means that the profits go to various programs, such as health care or school for people who can’t afford it.

Be very careful! Slip!

Wednesday – Hangzhou

This morning Dan, Jon and I boarded the train to Hangzhou. The south railway station is extremely modern – very clean, spacious, and beautiful. It cost 44 RMB for a ticket for a two-hour train ride. Of course everything but the numbers are in Chinese, but we managed to figure out that we were on car 1, seats 54, 55 and 56. We thought that car one should be at the front of the train, as we passed 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. At car 2, we were told that car 1 was between 8 and 9 though. Lesson learned – just show someone your ticket right away.

The train was not as modern as the station. It had two levels and every seat was full. There was this curtain by me that had mildew or dust or something that I was allergic to in it. I didn’t want to breathe. You see people wearing surgical masks around occasionally. I was told it was to help filter the pollution, or to prevent them from spreading their cold. I wished I had one then. In the US you would get hundreds of stares, but here it is fairly common.

In Hangzhou, we took a taxi into town. Grace sold her first large video board there, and it was being fired up. Once in the taxi, Dan called Grace and had her tell the driver (in Chinese) where to go. This also is very common, among Chinese as well as foreigners. All businesses have a map to their location on their business card or any other printed material.

We met Pete Johnson, Stephanie, Grace, Gary Gregg (US tech), Larry (Chinese project manager), and William (Chinese tech) there. The sign was almost totally up – two blocks of modules were out, but William replaced a power supply and fixed some wires and it was totally up and running. We only have one standard animation for China – it is the Chinese flag rippling. It looks good but we just need to have more variety.

The display is on a building still under construction. It will be an entertainment complex, with discos and KTV (karaoke). It is owned by a very important man, Mr. Lu (I think). He actually saw our displays in Macau and sought Daktronics out because he was impressed with them. We are also proposing a ProAd display for the other side, so a couple hours were spent discussing this proposal, pricing, etc. Mr. Lu met us at the hotel in the afternoon. We sat in booths looking directly at the display and discussed the possibilities for it, along with content creation. He did not speak any English so Grace translated everything. There are actually two other owners, who came later, but he is the decision maker.
Mr. Lu owns several restaurants throughout the city. He took us to one near the hotel. It had a waterfall flowing down two stories of smooth rock, with a glass staircase going upstairs. We were shown to a private room. There were a couple of special dishes that would cost hundreds of dollars back home. One was abalone, and the other was some type of mollusk that have to be alive until the chef cut it up, minutes before it was served. Another interesting dish was whole smelt fried. It was hard to get the meat without getting bones using chopsticks. Many of the dishes with fish have the entire fish including head and tail.

We also drank several bottles of sweet, warm wine. It was used for toasting with the miniature wine glasses. I learned there is a certain way you must toast with important people. The non-important person must always keep their glass under the important person’s glass as they toast. So, when Mr. Lu toasted Dan, they clinked their glasses together, Dan’s under Mr. Lu’s. Mr. Lu then made his lower, then Dan did, etc. Basically, the important person is lowering the glass trying to say they are not important, but the other person insists that they are.

The only time Mr. Lu wasn’t the highest glass was when he got up from his seat and toasted Gary Gregg. He said Gary was very important and he must be very smart (referring to him helping put the display up.) Mr. Lu’s driver then took us to the train station.

The 8:30 train was sold out, and the next one was at 10:00. A group of people with red shirts said, oh, the busses are this way. They led us to a group of mini-vans! We said no way and started to leave. They started bargaining with us, and we said we’d pay 400 yuan for a ride to Shanghai if they had a big van. They showed us, but wouldn’t give us the price we wanted.

So we went back to the ticket counter and discovered only hard seats were left on the late train. These people kept trying to bargain with us and get us to take their transportation. We said we’d only take a real bus.

Somehow they managed to find a real bus. We agreed to the ride for 60 yuan each and left at 9:10. It was a charter bus that probably took a group of tourists from Shanghai to Hangzhou, and the driver was going to make a few bucks on his way back to Shanghai. Dan said the vans they were trying to give rides in were probably company vans and they were basically stealing from their employers.


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