Spent Monday in Hangzhou, the provincal capital about an hour away. Whilst we were there we saw the new Pirates of the Caribbean film, which is really pretty bad. The only things I can remember are a map (which of course got destroyed), lots of ships and creatures, that for no explanation, couldn’t die. Being a boy from the countryside this was my first time watching a 3D film and I can’t say it blew me away. After a while you forget you are watching 3D, which kind-of defeats the point, and apart from one bit where a sword popped out of the screen I couldn’t tell much of a difference. I have no doubt that if you go to the trouble of making a real 3D film then it’s probably pretty good, but for everything else why bother? The event wasn’t wasted though – the lead actress was Penelope Cruz, who in 3D, was worth every penny of the entry fee.
After a bit of shopping we visited the Haagen-Dazs restaurant where we had some delightfully indulgent desserts: I had a brownie ice-cream tower (which I shared with my American friend – no big deal) and the girls had a summer fondant tray. Whenever I go to a normal restaurant I pretend that I don’t really like desserts when in fact I really do, so it was nice to go to an establishment where this chivalrous burden could be lifted.
Once we had finished we went to look round Hangzhou a bit. My impressions of the city are mixed: whilst it looks like quite a nice place – and more modern than Huzhou – it is far too busy to really enjoy it. The traffic is unbelievable – they are currently building a subway system and it can’t come soon enough; and I can’t help thinking the famous ‘West Lake’, which everyone says is extremely beautiful, is a bit overrated. I’d really like to spend some more time in Hangzhou before I leave but I’m running out of free days so not sure I will be back.
Only got another three weeks of teaching before I leave for Hong Kong, and I can’t say I will miss it. Whilst I really enjoy some classes that I teach, there are far too many bad ones to make it an enjoyable experience on the whole. It’s one of those things that I can say I have tried – who knows maybe in the future I could return to teaching in some capacity (once I’ve mellowed out somewhat). Then after we come back from Hong Kong I will have another week before my time here will be finished. I can’t believe it is nearing the end of May already – it feels like only yesterday that I arrived in China. It seems strange to think how different it will be in five years time. It’s hard to imagine any more building work going on – half the city is being erected as I speak – or any more people, but I’m sure there will be both.
Anyway, enough of my whimsical ramblings. I have much to do before I leave, including planning a little holiday. Must get on….