Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Well, it seems I have a little catching up to do on my posts.  And here I go.

Back to last fall's trip to China:  from Lishui, we traveled via bus to one of my favorite cities, romantic and lovely Hangzhou.  We couldn't stay long, but we had time to track down two of the city's culinary specialties, Dong Po Pork and You Zha Gui, both favorites of mine. Yes, that's a cube of pork belly you see there.  As for the rest of our stopover in Hangzhou, Drew wrote a nice account of it here, so who am I to reinvent the wheel?

Speaking of the bus, I need to give a quick shout-out to China's emerging mass-transit systems. I found it had improved dramatically since I was last on the mainland, in 2001; at least on the east coast.  We traveled several times by bus on this trip, and they were all clean, comfortable, and free of cigarette smoke.  After a week and a half in Lishui, where men interrupt their smoking only to spit and sleep, the clean air and phlegm-free floor of the bus seemed like heaven.  Better yet, the government is busily laying down some 16,000 miles of high-speed rail, which it aims to complete by 2020.  Newsweek ran an interesting article on it last fall.   In just two years, if all goes as planned, it will take only five hours by train to get from Shanghai to Beijing, faster than flying.