After about seven weeks of living in China I was lucky enough to get a visit from Mum, Dad and a reluctant Tom (who really would’ve rather spent his holiday hanging out with his mates but got dragged to China for a week instead). To get the holiday off to the right start, Tom’s plane was delayed out of Sydney and he missed his connection in Hong Kong, so instead of landing 45 minutes after Mum and Dad he was due in six hours later.
On Wednesday afternoon I made my way to the airport in Hangzhou to meet Mum and Dad around 5pm, and we headed back to their hotel. I’m eternally grateful to Dad for picking a hotel that had a Western-style happy hour complete with cheese and wine, I’m not ashamed to say Tom and I took full advantage of it every single day they were here. Mum, Dad and I had dinner at the Hyatt before Dad and I headed back to the airport to get Tom.
The next day we had decided to have a quiet day because Mum and Dad were tired after their whirlwind China tour and Tom was tired after landing at 11pm. We headed over to Zheda because Mum was keen to see my dorm and reassure herself that it was nice and safe (it apparently ticks both those boxes). In the evening we were lucky enough to catch up with some of Dad’s work colleagues from Hangzhou – one of them even caught a train from Suzhou to come and see him!
We managed to book in to do a day tour of Wuzhen with an English speaking tour guide on Friday. This was my first experience in one of China’s famous ‘water-towns’ and it was absolutely beautiful! Quiet canals run through the middle of the town surrounded by bustling markets and ‘cultural relic’ displays. The most interesting displays were a selection of beds from the different dynasties and also a coin collection featuring currencies from around the world. We also visited the Longjing Tea Village which is in the mountains behind Hangzhou and invested in some (very expensive) authentic Longjing tea. I have to say I’ve never reallyyyy been able to tell the difference between expensive tea and regular tea but with this one you can really taste it.
On Saturday we headed over to Hefangjie, a local marketplace in Hangzhou where Mum and Dad stocked up on souvenirs to take for people back home. In the evening we went to see the Qing Dynasty spectacular which was incredible! Featuring acrobats, singers, dancers and all sorts of other weird and wonderful things, the show told some of the legends of the Qing Dynasty. Apart from the absolute pouring rain that drenched us as we walked through the Qing Dynasty Theme Park (yes, there is a theme park dedicated to the Qing Dynasty, with absolutely no rides at all, you think that’s strange?).
Sunday was our last day together because Mum and Dad’s flight left early on Monday. We decided to go out and explore the West Lake and in particular see the island known as “Three Pools Mirroring the Moon” so that Dad could complete his ‘currency tour’ of China (aiming to visit all of the scenic locations featured on the RMB notes). We caught a boat out to the island and spent a couple of hours wandering around, watching Chinese people take all sorts of crazy selfies, and we even ran into another Australian family! What are the chances…In the afternoon we went out to the Leifeng Pagoda because Mum hadn’t visited it before. It was nice to see Hangzhou from up on the top of the hill.
Back to the Hyatt for one last happy hour adventure, where Dad and i made great use of the free wifi to watch North Melbourne beat Fremantle. All too soon it was time for Mum and Dad (and a very grumpy, tired Tom) to head home. We had a great week and I think that Mum enjoyed her first visit to China.
Coming up next – a whole blog post dedicated to the joyful summer adventures that I have planned in Asia and Europe!