Qiandaohu by portabike.

Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Flag of China  , Zhejiang Sheng,
Thursday, April 5, 2012

One of my students "Ray" invited Chen and I to his hometown for the "Tomb Sweeping" holiday.   We took a cab and a bus before making it to the Hangzhou bus station two hours later.  Then we took a bus to Ray's hometown of Qiandaohu  "Hu" meaning lake.    The lake, although man made was in the middle of a mountain range and had very clean water by Chinese water standards. 

Once we arrived Ray's father picked us up in a very expensive car and brought us all to their business for some lunch.   Rays mom was an excellent cook and wonderful host as was all of Ray's family.   They gave me my own room and I had the freedom to come and go as I pleased.

Ray and Chen rented bikes and Ray took us on a tour of the small city which was quite lovely since it was a resort and all.   As we watch the sun set over the lake from the city park the towns people were enjoying the end of a nice warm day.   I can see why Ray loves his hometown,   I liked the place more than any other Chinese city I have seen to this point.    We stayed up late outside his apartment while the neighbors were getting more than an eye full of the only white guy for miles around.   We shot the breeze with one of Ray's' many female admirers until midnite when we all took off to our respective rooms for some shuteye.

The next morning they rented bikes again (I brought my own),   and we headed to Ray's ancestral village which was about an hours ride up into the nearby hills.   Although Ray's town is fairly modern in places,  his village was very old and gorgeous.   I haven't seen a more beautiful place in all my travels including many old villages in Northern Europe and the valley's of Mexico.   Maybe it was the time of year with an abundance of yellow rapeseed flowers and the green of the the tea bushes which were higher up the slopes of the fertile hills.

 We rode our bikes up to the village of " "Wang Zhai" and had a nice lunch with his uncle and cousin.   His uncle was proud of his "Wine" which had grapes in the bottle but was far more potent than fermented wine.   This stuff was fruit flavored moonshine and stronger than the gin and whiskey which I have successfully abstained from since 4 months ago.   After having too much home made wine we left uncle's house and proceeded to bike our way up the valley and photographed some of the lovely terraced fields,  stone walls, ancient buildings, stone pathways, other villagers, the elderly, children, streams.   It was like a long dream.   We ascended the road to smaller and higher villages until somehow we managed to reach the top of a beautiful world.   The trip was tiring but we were inspired by the sheer beauty of the place.   Once at a tiny village at the top we hung around an elderly couple for a while and drank water from their modest kitchen which tasted like gold.   

The downward trip required no pedaling but we had to take caution lest our brakes glazed over from the heat and we took a rest about halfway back to uncles house and swam in a cold irrigation stream.   The water was sobering to say the least but too much shine had already made it's way into my system.   We made it back to the main village and another nice dinner,  but we were in no mood to make the drive back to Qaintanghu city,  thankfully Ray's dad came to get us.   It's was dark after all.  

The next morning we headed back to Hangzhou and finally Xiasha.   In Hangzhou,  Chen who gets carsick opted to borrow my bicycle while Ray and I took the bus to Jubal,  then a cab to Xiasha.   Chen beat us by thirty minutes,  which is amazing!   

Best trip I've been on since coming to China to say the least.
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