The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
May 6 - Hangzhou

On a sunny day in Hangzhou, we were in no mood to race into anything. Miao and Marv had gone off in search of a Chinese breakfast (probably for the same reason that I suspect we will go off in search of a great burger once we get back to the US!) So we ravaged the hotel's breakfast buffet and took our time getting the day started. I was still a few days behind on the trip reports so I took advantage of the working time until Marv called with a plan.

They were still out running errands but suggested we meet them at the Chenguang Pagoda Park. The question: how to tell that to our cab driver? Once again it was cell phones to the rescue. When we got into the cab, I called Miao and handed the phone to the driver. She filled him in on the necessary information and off we went! (It just occurred to me that if I had done anything to get her mad at me, she could have told him to take us out of town and leave us! Note to self: never irritate the translator.)

It was pleasantly cool ... or at least comparatively cool ... under the trees at the pagoda. It was also delightfully uncrowded -- no tour groups or gauntlets of screaming vendors. In fact, nobody was even talking much. "Serene" comes to mind, as I suppose it should in a place like this. The buildings have been completely restored, even to an elevator in the five-story pagoda for a spectacular view of West Lake and the city.

But the body temperature was gradually increasing, the knees were gradually weakening and we could clearly hear the call of a frosty beverage. So we wandered down a back path and through a fairly typical Chinese neighborhood until we found a spot where we could catch a cab to the lake shore.

We were searching for a cool place for a cool drink ... but for those with a love of all things Italian, it was impossible to pass up a gelato shop. (Real gelato ... from Italy ... in China! Who woulda thunk it?) Sitting in the air conditioning savoring scoops of cocco and choccolato (coconut and chocolate) gelato did wonders to restore the balance of life. Appropriately restored, we went around the corner where the Barossa Bar and its sidewalk tables tucked in the trees by the lakeside seemed like the appropriate place to relax and let the day wind down ... and it was.

Pagoda Power

A Brew (Or Two) at the Barossa

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