Hangzhou - Things and Thoughts

Funny, this is the first time in a while that I've really had a craving to blog, despite the fact that the past few days haven't been especially eventful in any touristy sense.

However, feed the craving, I say...

I'm in Hangzhou now, and it's a lovely place -- in fact, despite the rain, I've been loving the weather, as it's been relatively cool, which makes 6hours of walking bearable, nay, wonderful, along the shores of a willow-lined lake, lotus-blossoms everywhere. Worlds of pretty, indeed, though I admit, I wish the mugginess would lift just enough that I could see the opposite shore now and again, hm...

One of the campuses for Zhejiang University is right nearby, and I think, for the first time, I may just have found a uni campus that can compete with UBC in terms of gorgeousness. I hear SFU has a joint compsci degree with said uni, and am admittedly tempted by the possibility, despite having no interest in a compsci degree (sorry my sweet wonderful compsci friends -- just not my kettle of fish, at all).

Anyway, spent the whole day at the lakeside today, and loved every minute -- well, okay, exaggeration perhaps. Some less perfect moments included:

- lunch, where we were first told that they were out of the pumpkin biscuit things I wanted to try (fine, whatever), then told in 10 minutes that they were out of the two kinds of noodles we'd ordered (though ALMOST everything else was still available... we do pick well, I know), and then told in another 10 min that they were out of noodles ALTOGETHER. At this point, we left, and found another place to eat, where we got freshly made noodles in about 5 minutes or so. Much better. At least the folk at the first place were apologetic enough, though, and our waiter even sent someone else back to our table to tell us the bad news the third time around -- I think he was a bit worried about our reaction (and rightly so). This was still a vast improvement over the place in Yangshuo, who waited 40 minutes to tell us that we weren't going to get the main dish we'd ordered, though we could still have the veggies, 40 minutes after the fact, and NOT A SINGLE APOLOGY for this snafu. Fools. We were thoroughly unimpressed with that place.

- the guy who asked me for change - now, I should note, this is a very common occurence in China, and I've yet to fully piece together my opinions on the matter (that post is coming, eventually, I promise), but this one was more 'interesting' than the usual, from a moral dilemna/philosophical debate perspective. The guy began by telling his story, unusual, certainly, and more so, because his story, apparently, is that he stole someone's bag at some point (stole all of Y5, he says), got caught by the police, and ended up in jail for 6 months. He apparently was just released yesterday, and has since then, only had two buns to eat. Hence, the asking for change for food. Now, first, you might notice that I say 'apparently' a lot, since I'm rather cynical of most stories I get (unfortunate, really - I don't like things that make me cynical). But more than that, it brought up an interesting idea, morally speaking, of who is more 'deserving' of assistance, shall we say bluntly.... While I like the idea of forgiveness, of second chances, in principle, I am still less inclined to be sympathetic to situations brought on by oneself - nevermind the able-bodied vs. elderly or crippled debate, which needn't even enter the picture here. I don't know - I find it hard to put into words, and I wonder whether it is more valuable to help someone 'able', in the hopes that they will return to being a fully-contributing member of society, or someone less-so, who has no options available to them, but also will never be able to give back in quite the same manner. Evolutionary survival of the fittest, or a society that can care for the weak, one that can keep the monsters out, as someone once said.

I don't really have an answer yet, but I'm working on it. Not on an answer, per se, but simply on piecing together where I stand, or at least where I wobble. =) You know, what'll break principle and where the grey lines are. Important things to think about.

Anyway, I should get going, get some sleep, as tomorrow I think I want to do a little day trip out of town, which means up early early, methinks. However, I leave you with my incomplete stories to ponder, as always, including this tidbit: Someone said to me this morning, "I won't leave without saying goodbye", and true to dramatic movie form, that's of course the only time it doesn't happen. Boo. I wouldn't even have minded in the least, I think, as dinner and Little Mermaid lyrics late at night were quite enough for me, but with a cheesy statement like that, kitten, one ought to follow through. Silly of me, I know, especially with a youngling like that, but... You know. Me. Cheesy. Goodness me. =P =)

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