Hangzhou Global Tour: Day one
For those of you who follow me regularly, you know that I was selected to participate in the 2015 Hangzhou, China Global Tour. Click here for earlier post. As I typically try and do during my trips, I will be posting to the “Road Diary” to keep my regular readers up-to-date.
Hangzhou Global Tour Day One:
I arrived in Hangzhou in the wee hours of the morning on the 22nd of July, along with the U.S. Capaldi family who is also participating in this worldwide tour. My trip began in Phoenix where I flew to San Francisco to catch an international flight to Beijing. I met the Capaldi family at the airport for the first time and found them to be utterly charming and hospitable. I have no doubt the Hangzhou Tourism Commission served themselves well when selecting this talented showbiz family to be ambassadors for the Hangzhou Global Tour. I am tasked to document the journey and will be posting photos and videos with a focus on the Capaldi and Zhen (Chinese family who is also participating in the tour) and their activities.
Zhou Zhen (Jerry is his English name) is a famous cab driver in Hangzhou and was gracious enough to pick us up at the Hangzhou airport. Unfortunately we had an extreme weather delay in Beijing that caused us to be a couple hours late. Upon our arrival Jerry had a sign with our names on it, to our surprised he was accompanied by some 30-40 people, most of whom I have no idea why they were there, but apparently we are becoming pseudo celebrates in Hangzhou. There were also several journalists and a news crew there to greet and ask us questions…this after 30 hours of travel and 15 time zone changes.
We made our way to Wyndham Grand Hangzhou hotel, which is where we’ll call home for the next nine days. The hotel is lavish and our posh rooms were a very welcome sight. We didn’t get to bed until nearly 3am local time. I had taken an Ambien to help get to sleep and over the jet lag, but unfortunately I only snoozed for 3 hours. I was fairly perky the next day, but by 2:30pm I hit a wall and took a solid hour nap, until the phone rang with one of our organizers on the other line asking if I’d like to take a tour of West Lake and have a private dinner with the local Zhen family. I quickly got ready and was out the door.
Jerry (Zhou) is a fantastic local tour guide as he has been a taxi driver for many years. He knows all the places to take visitors like us, including a fantastic local restaurant called Luyu. The food was described to me as barbecue fish, but not in the way that most American’s would think of. The fish dishes are brought out in a large heated container that cooks and keeps the dish warm during the family-style dining. The food was so full of flavor and was brilliant in color. We also enjoyed some side dishes of fungi (like mushrooms), marinated cucumbers and as a palate cleanse, peanut ice cream. It was such a fantastic meal and such a good time to visit with the folks that I’ll be spending a lot of time with over the next month or so.
After dinner we returned to the hotel to meet with event organizers to go over the itinerary, expectations, etc. We also met with a film crew who will be following us around the world documenting this epic journey.
The official start of the Hangzhou Global Tour is on July 24, 2015. Stay tuned for my daily updates. And, if you have any questions or comments, please post below and I’ll try and answer them. Click here for day two.