A Travellerspoint blog

China - Hangzhou and Gutianshan

rain 20 °C

At Hangzhou Airport, there is plenty of attention, but no action as we get through customs reasonably quickly. Out in the airport there is no ATM in arrivals. The one in departures doesn’t work. Neither does the one in domestic. Finally found one working, so I fill up and head outside after finding where the bus to Xiaoshan leaves from. I get sharked by someone who tells me there is no bus for 90 minutes (the only true thing he said) and that he could arrange a meter taxi for 120 RMB. It took ages to appear, and we were heading into the car park so I knew something was going on. When the taxi did arrive, he insisted on the full 120 up front and no meter, so I hopped out, grabbed my bag and headed back to the terminal and the taxi queue. Hopped in, the driver said he knew where it was but we seemed to take a long time getting there. The trip eventually cost 90 RMB to the Xiaoshan Holiday Inn.
With all the buggerising about, I did not get into the hotel until 5pm, too late to head up to West Lake to look at the sights. I felt like nodding off, instead went for a walk around the local mall and around and around and up and down the floors. There were some faux fashion shops selling clothes, jewellery and stuff on the ground floor. Inside there was food, outlet store shops and gaming areas, around a three storey high open area. I wandered around for a while, got lost, then found my way. Dropped into a cafeteria to have some dinner, all of 20 RMB for rice, meat and 2 vegies. Headed back to the hotel and worked on the blog, with Band of Brothers on the TV in the background.Hangzhou smog

Hangzhou smog


In the morning I had noodles and sui mai for breakfast. With a bit of time to spare, I had a wander around outside. I chatted with a family out walking about, and we took a few photos of each other. He asked if I had got to West Lake to have a look, as it was so beautiful – but there is no time.
Call me Golden Bull

Call me Golden Bull

I had to meet up with the other Earthwatchers at the hotel. This is the reason I am in Hangzhou – my company, Amcor, has sent five people to China to help a team from the Chinese Academy of Science with their research into how climate change is impacting forest growth. Every year Amcor send 15 people worldwide off to do 2 weeks of volunteering for projects like this world wide. It is done in conjunction with Earthwatch ( www.earthwatch.org) who have hundreds of projects run worldwide each year into climate change, biodiversity, oceans and ecosystems. These are peopled by volunteers who pay to go on these projects, or corporates like Amcor who send groups. In the lobby, I meet the other Amcor volunteers (L, R, T and LH) and those from HSBC also on this project.
The bad news is we have a 6 hour bus ride to Gutianshan forest where we are staying. The good news is that I am sitting next to AJ and we have a lovely chat for the following hours. During this time we also stop at a roadside caf and have lunch. A while after lunch, I nod off for a bit until the road breaks up and we are getting jolted around a bit. The roads are getting smaller, so we must be getting closer, and right on time we pass through the grand gates to the Gutianshan forest reserve and lodge.Truck stop lunch, China style

Truck stop lunch, China style


There is time for a quick freshen up before we head in for dinner. There are around a dozen Amcor, Chinese Academy of Science and Earthwatch people around the table on which are a similar amount of dishes. There is usually 2 or 3 meat dishes, 6 vegie dishes, rice, noodles and watermelon. To drink there is green tea. It is all quite tasty. We have a polite dinner whilst people get to know each other. The HSBC group is big enough to have their own room, so we don’t see much of them.
After dinner we have a quick Earthwatch briefing on the project schedule, safety and procedures. By this time we are all fading and turn in pretty early. The bed is hard – it feels like an Australian bed base – and the pillows soft, but I sleep pretty well.

Posted by lostagain 04:14 Archived in China

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