It took 11 months of living here, but we finally got out of Shanghai to seen another part of China!
Ryan had visited Hangzhou in the past, but even he got to see new sights, as the West Lake area is quite big and has been built up quite a bit since he went.
Hadassah was quite happy to spend a lot of time riding the escalators up and down, and remembering how much fun I had riding them when I was young, we let her do it a lot, switching off when one of us got tired. There was also a Burger King in the station, so we took advantage of it. It's funny how the fast food joints you think of as unhealthy and rarely eat at in the states become an amazing taste of home when you live overseas...
After supper we found a child's play place, which we'd somehow not seen earlier, and Hadassah had a blast with a play house with a doorbell that rang and then had a dog bark. She played it over and over, and kept reminding us of it during the trip: "ding dong, ding dong, ruff ruff ruff!"
Finally it was time to board, so we joined the mad rush of people making their way on board the train. Unable to read the signs in Chinese, we went in one of the nearest doors. Our ticket was all in Chinese, and there were three numbers on it. One we surmised was the platform number, but we didn't know how to find our seats. After sitting in someone else's seat, they told us we had to get on a certain number train and then find our seat. Not sure when we were to take off, we walked through the narrow aisles, only to get to the end of the doors we could go through just as the train was taking off. The attendant there said we could wait until the next station and then go out and back on to get to our seat. so we sat on the floor. At least we weren't alone: 2 other foreigners were also sitting on the floor there, also confused as to how to find their seat!
"My First Hymnal."
The next stop we ran along the train to find our car, not knowing how long we had before the train started again. Thankfully we found our seat just in time, and enjoyed the remaining 40 minutes of the trip together.
We made it to the Hangzhou station with Hadassah already drooping, as it was past her usual 7:30 PM bed time. Snuggled in the ERGO with her ni-night lamb, I hoped she'd get some rest, but she never fell asleep, though she seemed comfortable. We stood in line for a taxi for a while, but with at least 50 people ahead of us and the line moving slow, we eventually abandoned it and went for the metro. We had trouble finding tickets at first, but eventually found a machine that didn't have a long line, and were on our way.
We joked that it wasn't a good idea to not research and prepare going anywhere, but especially in China! Next time we'd definitely try to buy train tickets ahead of time and plan out our route, but with a busy week, we just seized the time we had to just go, and enjoyed the adventure of it all. We had, at least, booked a hotel online!
Hadassah was pretty much done. Her face says it all! But, Ryan convinced me her staying up a little later wouldn't hurt too much more, and it was worth seeing the West Lake all lit up at night.
We happened to get to the lake around 9 PM, just as announcement played that a fountain and music show would be starting in 5 minutes. It was amazingly beautiful, to have light, water, and music combine!
Settling down was understandably hard for the little miss, as we had dragged her through so much and kept her up so late. She was initially happy to get in bed, and we tucked her in and went into the bathroom to give her some time to fall asleep, as she doesn't usually go to sleep if she knows we're right there. Unfortunately, there was a big window from the bathroom to the bedroom that had a shade, but still let in a lot of light. Then Ryan realized he really needed to go out to get enough safe water for us to drink, so after waiting a bit with all quiet, hoping she was asleep, he slipped out.
Big mistake. She was very confused, as the door was loud and let in light, and she wondered where daddy went. We read stories and tried to settle down, but she cried each time I laid her in bed. Eventually Ryan came back and we hurried to brush our teeth and get in bed. It was still hard for the overtired girl, but once the lights went off, she soon settled in to sleep. As a mom, I hated the hardship she was having, and of course questioned if it was worth traveling. But, we know sometimes getting used to a little schedule disruption can be good, and she was just fine the next morning.
Seeing around the lake so crowded, and the free buses too full to take around the lake, we again tried to find a taxi to take us to a place our neighbor had told us about. After asking the 4th or 5th that waved us off (Ryan did an amazing job even flagging them down!) we finally went back to the lake.
Hadassah woke near the end of the meal, and would have probably been in worse shape from only an hour of nap, had she not seen rice the first thing upon waking. She eagerly dug in... oh the power of rice!