Happy: A Quest for Life After Death

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hangin' in Hangzhou

Mat's work occasionally takes him to Hangzhou in China (he's been once before), where his company has an office. With Round 3 of cancer getting started, I decided there's no time like the present. With less than three weeks to go before his long-planned trip, I bought my ticket and applied for a visa.

It was ... an interesting vacation. A little more stressful than relaxing, but a great trip nonetheless. Mat took a Friday off from working to spend the day sightseeing with me, and he also had a free weekend that we spent with Mat's friends from the office and at company events.

Hangzhou is a beautiful city -- largely unknown to Americans, but with a population of about 6.5 million. We stayed in a nice hotel on a beautiful lake, where we spent every evening walking and watching dragon boats, karaoke, and concerts. Mat's co-workers took very good care of us. They found an English-speaking guide to show us around on Friday, spent the day with us in a touristy shopping district on Saturday, and included us in their Moon Festival celebration on Sunday.

Most importantly, the trip was a great diversion. There's nothing quite like a fresh-cooked chicken head in the middle of your plate to distract you from life's other problems.

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