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YiXing - HangZhou (10th Nov)
  
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  The day I want to act like a tourist, the day bad things happen.

  YiXing is the "Capital of clay, world of caves, and sea of bamboo". I have seen clay. So it's caves or bamboo. I saw on local TV that this must-go Shan Juan Cave is one of the top 40 tourist sites of China blah, blah, blah. Ok, I will give it a chance.

It takes 45 minutes for a cab to get there. I am expecting to see things like an ignorant tourist.

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Starts out good as the cab turns into a small road. Very country-feel and I love to smell the fresh air.
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Ho ho ho, a tea plantation. But I forget to bring my YiXing teapot.
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After 45 minutes and paying $20 of cab money and entrance fee, I see a limestone cave like this.
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Nice ah? It looks good from far, but it's far from good looking .. ..
  Mainland Chinese people have a very different idea of developing tourism. They think building more facilities is good, they think making natural sceneries modern is cool and they think the amount of money made is the only measurement of how well tourism is developing.

So this is what I see in this "successfully developed" Shan Juan Cave:

  1. Dried out caves because they somehow destroyed the underground water supply to the cave. To my understand, a limestone cave without the action of water is a dead cave.
  2. They put lots of funny figures around for the sake of providing photo opportunities to tourists. Do people come to see these artificial things or do they come to see the cave?
  3. Plenty of Disco lighting, though they are not flashing and spinning. 
  4. Wires that supplies power to the Disco lightings. Worse of all, they have cement fixing the wires to limestone walls.

Ok, that's only 4 from my top 100 list but enough to make it sound like hell already. I am disgusted, rush out of the cave and jumped onto a ready-to-butcher-any-tourist cab. I will pay anything to get out of there, quick!

  
  At my top speed, I pack my backpack, check out, and jump onto a bus back to HangZhou. I hate it the trip to the holy land of teapot has to end this way. I have to retitle YiXing as "Capital of clay, HELL of caves, and sea of bamboo", period.
 
  Back in HangZhou at 5:30pm. It's almost dark and I feel lost. To my surprise, there is no one soliciting for hotels at the bus station. In the following 2 hours, I ask cab drivers and tricycle drivers to take me to the cheapest accommodation they can. Finally, the almost exhausted me settles in a hotel (sort of like a hotel) hidden in a dark alley.

I am too damn tired that I lost my usual enthusiasm to look for good food. So, believe it or not, I get a Big Mac at McDonald's.

img_2503.jpg Busy scene at a bike park in front of a department store. I guess I have no doubt in HangZhou people's spending power. img_2494.jpg The very downtown of HangZhou. Pretty prosperous. Ok, it's time to get an ice-cream cone at the McDonald's across the street.
 
  Bad luck is measured by days. I was unlucky this morning, I have to be unlucky now. I forget the name and location of the hotel, and I haven't brought anything from the hotel that bears it's information. I have to take a tricycle and trace the route from the last spot I remember. Hellish.

Tomorrow is another day ... hopefully.

 

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