Saturday, December 18, 2010

DAY 1: Checking In the Hotel

We stayed at Sunny Hotel, located at Jie Fang Road.  The location is pretty strategic, because we could walk to West Lake, walk to the night market and walk back from Hefang Street.  Since it's a main road, catching a taxi was not that difficult although at time you would have to wait or compete with other people in getting a taxi to stop for you.

One of the very first things that was different at the hotel was the bed.  The bed was not fluffy and soft at all, although the quilt may make it seem so.  At first we thought it was the hotel (even tempted to think about changing hotel).  But, thanks to the availability free internet access and Google, we found reviews by other travelers that most beds in hotels around China are a bit hard.  It's supposed to be good for the body, or something like that.  So do expect this if you come a across beds that are a tad harder than what you're used to.  Fortunately, there were extra blankets in the wardrobe, and this can be an alternative to making your mattress softer.  (I'm sure you can ask for more blankets from housekeeping if the ones provided are just not enough).

Hangzhou is also known for its Longjing Tea.  We were given a selection of Longjing Tea and Chrysanthemum Tea.  This one is Chrysanthemum Tea, but Longjing Tea tasted quite nice too, more herbal I would say.  Give both a try, especially it a covered tea cup like this.

And while resting and relaxing, it would be good to have a guidebook of China or Hangzhou with you.  We bought this one at Hangzhou Airport.  I think it's a pretty cool book -  not as dense as most guidebooks, but rather, it has a personal touch of the author who traveled and drew cartoons of China in his 10 years journey.  It has a bit of humour too.  He points out special customs, special food and bits of history of each region in China.  This pretty much guided us in understanding a bit of the culture here, although not in depth, but I would say good introduction to the region.

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