Hangzhou Silk Market Adventure
View of the Silk Market in Hangzhou
Visit to the Silk Market
First there were two of us, then four, that set off from Shaoxing to visit the Silk Market. I'd been before. I've lost count of the times I have been. Still, every time one goes, there's something else of interest to see. No shopping I said, but I did get some cash from the ATM "just in case".
As there were four of us we caught a taxi to the big bus station, and managed to find a taxi driver with a sense of humour and a spattering of English. I said "Big bus station" when I got in, and one of our companions whose grasp of Chinese is far better than mine said something that sounded like "Ker Ren" and he replied. "I know "Big bus station."
We bought the tickets and had five minutes to "spare" so rushed to No 2 gate and within minutes were seated on a very comfortable bus with leather seats and plenty of leg room for the one hour trip to Hangzhou.
Weather? It was forecast anywhere between 16 and 22 degrees, but it barely made it to 20 I think, and there was a very light shower of rain when we were at Hangzhou but not enough to dust off the umbrella. I wore a long sleeved t-short and my leather jacket. And I was comfortable all day!
When we arrived at Hangzhou bus station we pushed our way through the row of touts and beggars. The latter is often a challenge to get through at bus stations, as they target westerners and you see some awful sights. We do give occasionally - but try to discourage their success at bus stations!
We found a taxi and showed our little card with "Silk Market" and address and off we went. We arrived at the entrance of the Silk Market and set off. On both sides of the pretty street are little shops full of all sorts of silk items. The traders are very enthusiastisc to get everyone into their shops and they love to haggle/bargain.
It is and adventure. It is almost 18 months since I have been in the market and I noted some new items. But the popular items are still silk scarves, silk shirts, silk pants, underwear, fabric, and nick nacks.
We usually walk down one side of the road, along one or two of the side streets, and then come back on the other side of the road. There are usually some good bargains to be had. A scarf for 15 RMB, a shirt or pants (100% silk) for 30 RMB, and so on.
The four of us just wandered and occasionally sought to purchase, and sometimes just kept walking.
A fine mist of rain fell at one stage, but otherwise the weather was good. Good for shopping in this street. The canopy of trees hanging over the street makes for great scenery and there is so much traffic going back and forth.
I did buy a couple of items - some lovely silk fabric for my dressmaker in Shaoxing to make something for me, and a lovely tablecloth with a Hangzhou scene on it.
We had planned to have lunch with a lady from Australia who is teaching in Hangzhou, but while at the markets my phone rang. She'd had an accident, and was not coming. She sounded upset and I felt sorry for her.
All four of us wandered out of the markets and along a well worn path (for us) to the Foreign Book Shop.
This is where we can buy books written in English, and have lunch at the restaurant on the third floor and go to a western toilet.
We'd just sat down and were quite surprised when the lady who'd had the accident arrived. She'd got home, dusted herself off and decided to meet us. We all had a soup (Italian borsch) which was a tomato soup, and then we had a smoked salmon toasted sandwich.
The seats were comfortable, the company was good and we would love to have stayed, but the bookshop beckoned.
I bought a book to read, and an English map of Shaoxing. Asian Reader's Digests, and other books found their way to the cashier with the others.
Then it was the task to find a taxi to the bus station. We just could not find one, so walked and walked and eventually one stopped for us. The best Chinese speaker of the foursome gave me the bus tickets, to indicate to the lady that we wanted to go the south bus station. I pointed to the spot I thought she had indicated and we set off.
It was not long before I was concerned. I thought we were going the wrong way. I was in the front seat and the others were in the back. I expressed my concern. No, no worries the experts in the back seat indicated. And then as the taxi approached the bridge to the Quianting River, I knew we were going the wrong way. When we got across the bridge (there was nowhere to stop) we found out she was planning to take us all the way to Shaoxing.
We had a quick discussion and agreed on a price. so in the end arrived at the "Big bus station" in Shaoxing by taxi. We paid, and caught a bus back to the campus. Laughing all the way at our minor extravagance with the taxi!!!!