April 8, 2013, by Mark
Martial arts, sightseeing & a broken seat
Ni Hao! (Hello), I will dive straight in and tell you about my trip to 西湖, meaning ‘West Lake’. Located here in Hangzhou, the West Lake is a famous freshwater lake divided into causeways with numerous temples, gardens and artificial islands within it. The people of Hangzhou and Zhejiang are very proud of the beautiful West Lake, and rightly so, it really is quite stunning. My visit, that included a boat trip around the lake, was marred only slightly by protruding grey skies and bucketfuls of rain, causing us to seek shelter at the nearby ancient street of He Fang.
As well as Mandarin classes, I am partaking in an academic course whilst here at Zhejiang University. The course is entitled ‘Social Media vs. Social Change in China’. The classes comprise of lectures, much like those at the University of Nottingham, whilst the content and perspectives vary greatly. The most interesting aspect the class covers is social networking and censorship, in particular the ban enforced by the Chinese government on sites such as twitter and facebook. Another of my classes is martial arts, covering both ‘Wushu’ (an intense combat martial art) and ‘Tai Chi’ (a less intense activity to fight stress). I’ve learnt quickly that I’m not as flexible as the instructor and in turn favour the latter, less intense tai chi!
In the evening we hopped on a bus and headed for a themed park, not to be confused with a theme park, where we watched a show. The show told the story of Zhejiang province and really was quite a spectacle to behold with a five thousand strong audience in attendance. There was just one slight issue I had to contend; out of five thousand plus seats, I chose the one that happened to be broken! The result being that I watched the spectacular show sat at an awkward forty-five degree angle…
If you have any questions or queries don’t hesitate to comment below and sporadic wifi providing, I will do my best to respond!
– Mark J Richardson
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