0630 hours. Usual morning call. Headed down for usual hard-to-eat breakfast. That morning was a bit colder than usual. We started the day with a visit to General Yue Fei’s Mausoleum located just opposite West Lake. Another local guide joined in to brief us. She has a very good command in Cantonese.
General Yue Fei is the well-known national hero in the war against Jin invaders during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). He, with his army, had won many great battles, so a minister named Qin Hui was quite jealous of him. With the authority of Emperor Gaozong, Qin Hui ordered Yue Fei back to court at once at a time that Yue Fei was fighting furiously with the northern invaders on the battlefield. In fact, the command was just an excuse to order him back. Yue Fei was wrongly accused of seriously defying military order during his mission and was subsequently put to death at the age of 39.
Literally, the mausoleum was better than the one we had in Shanghai. At least, I could take a few more photos.
Overheard this while I was busy snapping photos.
Aunty #1: *Running out from the toilet* *Panting* *Take deep breath*
Aunty #2: “What’s the matter with you? You saw cockroach?”
Aunty #1: “No…. no… ” *breathe heavily*
Aunty #2: “What’s in the toilet actually?”
Aunty #1: “The toilet… unbearable smell… I vomitted the whole breakfast I took this morning!”
Aunty #2: “Hah?!?! Is it that smelly??” *Disbelief*
Aunty #1: “Super-ultra-damn smelly inside! You better hold on til we get better toilet.”
Aunty #2: “Wah.. if like that, I’d rather wait…”
A popular tourist destination with poorly maintained toilets. Common in China – this was what Vicky told us earlier.
It was very cold that morning. I could feel it in my bones. We hopped into bus and headed to tea plantation located at inner parts of some Hangzhou hills. “Longjing” or Dragon Well tea is another famous product of Hangzhou.
Longjing (Dragon Well) Tea is most famous for its unique fragrance and flavor; flat, slender strips of tea leaves in bright green liquid. Furthermore, Longjing tea aids one’s health in many ways regardless of your age. It is used to deter food poisoning, refresh the body, stop cavities, fight viruses, control high blood pressure, lower the blood sugar level, and to prevent cancer. Hence, Longjing tea is regarded as the elixir for health and is widely sold and accepted all over the world.
The name Longjing is from a small village on the Fenghuang Hill, in Hangzhou Zhengjiang Province. It is said that residents in ancient times believed that a dragon dwelled there and controlled the rainfall. As a result, people went there from all the surrounding areas whenever there was a drought to pray for rainfall, from as early as the Three Kingdoms Period (221-280).
Longjing tea is grown in the Longjing mountain area of Hangzhou, southwest of the West Lake. The fertile land is both rich in phosphorus and sub-acidic sand. This region prevents the cold current from the north and holds back the warm current from the south, thus the growing area of Longjing tea can be coated by cloud and mist for long periods of time. With such favorable growing conditions, needless to say, Longjing tea is considered the best tea in China.
Upon our arrival, we were ushered to a room and the promoter surprisingly spoke good Cantonese also. We were introduced a few types of “Longjing” tea and they tasted good. We also bought some of the tea leaves.
We left the tea plantation and headed straight to Six Harmonies Pagoda, which took 15 minutes drive. The pagoda looked so grand perching magnificiently atop a rather small hill. We hiked up some stairs to get to the pagoda and from there, we oversee the whole city of Hangzhou.
Commanding a spectacular view of the surging Qiantang River, the pagoda presents a quiet image of age-old majesty. The original pagoda has nine stories with a light on the top, which serves as a navigation tower. In 1156, the pagoda experienced a large-scale restoration. The artisans used carved bricks when reconstructing the inside of the pagoda. By the end of the Qing Dynasty, the upturned wooden multi-eaves and wrapping structure was added to the pagoda and, in the eyes of the people, presented the soul and labor of ancient Chinese. The pagoda we see today is an octagonal structure 200 feet tall. Seen from the outside, the pagoda has the appearance of a 13-story building; in actuality, there are only seven stories.
Too bad, due to the condition of the pagoda, we were not allowed to go in. We just snapped some photos outside before heading back to bus again.