FOOD,  TRAVELOGUE

Hangzhou: First Snow at West Lake

We took a day trip down to Hangzhou from Shanghai one day; I really wanted to see West Lake, a place that Zen (who’s from Hangzhou) had fervently recommended when we hung out in LA. It was a bit of a bummer that the only day that we could spare turned out to be a rainy one in both Shanghai and Hangzhou, but we were ever hopeful that that the rain would be short-lived. Thanks to Ade and Puey for making it possible by agreeing to spend a day there with me, and for the logistics of getting there! We didn’t realise it at the time, but we were in for an incredible experience:

Train station at Shanghai.At the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station (上海虹桥站).

Ren, Puey, and Ade on a train from Shanghai to Hangzhou. Photo by Ade.Me, Puey, and Ade on the train to Hangzhou.
Photo by Ade.

We went in search for food upon reaching Hangzhou, and were lucky enough to chance upon The Grandma’s (外婆家) right across West Lake! Unlike our experience in Shanghai, this was the one that Zen had recommended. There weren’t many customers, the drizzle probably acting as a deterrent, so we were immediately ushered to an empty table. Lucky!

Graffiti conversation on the green wall of the elevator at The Grandma's (外婆家), Hangzhou.It was amusing to see a conversation scrawled on the awesome green walls of the elevator going up to the restaurant: “人真多 (So many people)” * “很多吗? (Are there really a lot?)” * “嗯多! (Uh huh!)”

The three of us at The Grandma's (外婆家), Hangzhou. Photo from Ade.Look at those slightly angled cups! It was pretty cool.
Photo from Ade.

Green Tea Cake (绿茶饼), Mutton Ribs (想吃羊排), and Pea Paste Soup (青豆泥) at The Grandma's (外婆家), Hangzhou. Photo by Ade.Clockwise from the left: Green Tea Cake (绿茶饼), Mutton Ribs (想吃羊排), and Pea Paste Soup (青豆泥). I could not get enough of the Green Tea Cake! Also, the Pea Paste Soup looked slightly icky but was so delicious. Om noms.
Photo by Ade.

Black Rice Cake (外婆黑米糕) at The Grandma's (外婆家), Hangzhou. Photo by Ade.Black Rice Cake (外婆黑米糕).
Photo by Ade.

Mango Dessert Bowl (招牌芒果芋圆) at The Grandma's (外婆家), Hangzhou.Mango Dessert Bowl (招牌芒果芋圆).

Ade taking a picture of Ren showing a spicy dish, sautéed bullfrog with chili sauce (馋嘴蛙), at The Grandma's (外婆家), Hangzhou. Photo by Puey.Ade taking a picture of me showing a spicy dish, Sautéed Frog with Chili Sauce (馋嘴蛙).
Photo by Puey.

Ren showing a spicy dish, sautéed bullfrog with chili sauce (馋嘴蛙), at The Grandma's (外婆家), Hangzhou. Photo by Ade.Behold my disdain of foods which are too spicy for anyone’s well-being. Needless to say, this dish had very little to do with my stomach (mainly because I couldn’t handle it).
Photo by Ade.

Stomachs full, we walked across the street to the famed West Lake (西湖), I would love to visit it again one day, when weather allows me to explore more and at my leisure without worrying about broken equipment. Although I would have to deal with a lot more tourists during good weather… I guess the rain was a mixed blessing.

Pagoda at West Lake, Hangzhou.

Ducks swimming in West Lake, Hangzhou. Photo by Ade.Photo by Ade.

Ade, Ren, and Puey in the rain at West Lake, Hangzhou. Photo from Ade.The rain got heavier when we reached West Lake, but the kind ladies at the information kiosk offered us disposable ponchos for free! Since I had come prepared with my Calvin Klein cape after checking the weather forecast, I decided to test how waterproof it was. I’d bought it in LA, but never had the chance to use it, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, I forgot to account for warmth, and no raincoat could prevent me from freezing at 5ºC.
Photo from Ade.

Hot beverage and cake samples at Starbucks in West Lake, Hangzhou.The rain got so heavy that we sought shelter at a Starbucks in West Lake. It was so warm and cosy and the staff even went round giving customers free cake samples! ♥ My only gripe was that free wifi was only available to customers who had an account with a telecomm company in China.

Puey and Ren at Starbucks in West Lake, Hangzhou. Photo by Ade.Puey and I chilling.
Photo by Ade.

Puey and Ade in Starbucks at West Lake, Hangzhou.Puey and Ade being cosy.

And then the rain turned into snow. It was so glorious:

First snow over West Lake, Hangzhou.Having lived most of my life in perpetual summer, snow is one of those rare things I, like most of my fellow Singaporeans, get to see once in a long while. Just being in a snowy place already makes me giddy, but seeing 初雪 (first snow)? I could hardly believe it.

Ren taking photos of the first snow in West Lake, Hangzhou. Photo by Ade.Naturally, we had to brave the elements just to catch it in person.
Photo by Ade.

Ren and Ade amidst snow in West Lake, Hangzhou.

If anyone remembers the video compilation I made of our day in Hangzhou, it’s in this post here. This concludes my writeup of my awesome vacation!

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