Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shanghai ~ day 5-6: Hangzhou

Hangzhou is a short 2-hour train ride southwest of Shanghai near the mouth of the Hangzhou Bay. It's reknowned for its beautiful West Lake..made up of gardens, bridges, pagodas all built around 700 A.D. and became rich from the silk and grain trade along its canal.

In its hayday Hangzhou had over 1.7 million residents and became the capital of China for the Song Dynasty in 1126 after the Song court fled here from invaders up north. Today, walking around this town you can really capture some of that spirit. There are no cars allowed and for once pedestrians and cyclists can live in harmony. No horns, no bullying cars and less pollution. Just you, the water and the weeping willows. And may be a few thousand tourists :)

The first thing we did was go eat! Sandra kept talking about a dish called "beggar's chicken". She'd loved telling us the fable about how this succulent steamed chicken dish was invented. Or so they say :)

Basically, a poor beggar was so hungry he knocked on a local's door and asked for food. The kind housekeeper only had some chicken so she wrapped it up in a bundle and let it cook in its own juices. All the flavor was locked in as were the juices, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth classic for the region. So there you have it. "Good honest, home-cooking" as Gordon Ramsey would say!

I don't think that we were particularly organized or ambitious in our visit as I don't recall the Ziyun Cave, Baopu Taoist Temple or the Ming dynasty effigies. But I do remember we walked for a mile or so on one of the causeways that divided the Lake occasionally ducking from the rain.

We also overdosed on massages in the town near our hotel. Should've stuck with the foot massage. Oh, and I managed to find Sue's Jiagulan tea here...that girl had me running around!

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