Sunday, July 4, 2010

China: Week 5

Blog Assignment - Week 5:

Having such a busy week filled with proposals, presentations and mechanics exams, I was looking forward to the weekend. Saturday’s plans included Will, Elise, Jack and I going to Hefang street to buy tea and other gifts for friends back in the US. We were then going to check out Shou Kang Yong for dinner, a vegetarian restaurant I have been excited to go to for weeks.

Hefang street was fun as usual, with all the little shops and venders. Our first main stop was to buy tea. We went inside and got to smell a variety of different teas, my personal favorite was the jasmine tea. One of the workers there also let us try some of the tea and performed a small tea ceremony. It was very interesting, although I must admit, awkward. None of us really knew how to behave, so we just sat there quietly, glancing at each other every once. From my observations of the tea ceremony, it seemed like she would always offer the tea or hot water to Buddha first before we had any.

After buying some tea and other knickknacks, we headed off to find the restaurant. It was already 8:30pm so I was a little nervous that the kitchen would be closed, but Elise ensured me that they didn’t closed until 10pm. From a map, we knew the restaurant was only a few blocks form Hefang on Yan’an road. Walking down Yan’an searching for building 38, we found buildings 35 and 37 after only about 5 minutes of walking. We all were relieved we were so closed and crossed the street to get to building 38. However, once we got to the other size, we found not building 38, but 90! All of us we very confused and thought that we might be on the wrong street. We searched for a street sign, but failed so we decided to walk a little farther West to see if we ran into Yan’an. We eventually, however, found ourselves on Nanshan road instead, with only the lake ahead of us.

Getting tired, hot and hungry, we finally found some people to ask for directions. We showed them the address and a map, but after some Chinese phrases later, we didn’t have any new information. In fact, they pointed us North, the one direction we knew wasn’t correct. Jack and Will tried asking others in Chinese as well, but no one would even let them finish asking before shaking their head and walking away.

Having walked in a big circle and maybe a figure 8 or two for at least 45 minutes, we all were on the edge. I was getting more and more sure that we would not be able to eat at my dreamed about vegetarian restaurant. Will then had the idea to call the restaurant to ask them for directions. After doing so, we finally made it there. It ended up being on the very first street we walked down, even closer to Hefang that we realized. Sadly, even though our More Hangzhou magazine said they wouldn’t close until 10pm, when we walked in the doors we were told they were no longer serving food.

I was rather disappointed, tired, hungry and hot – but I did learn one thing from my adventure. Make sure to have a map that lists ALL of the street names and beware asking directions! We also are planning to have (an earlier) dinner this Tuesday so I can finally check out the vegetarian restaurant before leaving Hangzhou!

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