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John Abbot is co-owner of Married to a lovely Chinese Lady and living in China, John knows and respects China, Chinese Women, Chinese People and Chinese Culture. His blog will include good stuff about Online Dating, Chinese Women, International Relationships and Things Chinese. Join John Abbot on Google+
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Goodbye Guangzhou, Hello Hangzhou    

By John Abbot
3354 Views | 6 Comments | 5/14/2010 1:10:38 PM

Hangzhou West Lake at Night is a pocket of urban tranquility amidst China’s endless headbanging uproar. Photo courtesy of

We’ve spent the past week making the switch of our office and residence from Guangzhou in South China’s Guangdong Province to Hangzhou in East China’s Zhejiang Province. I’d like to tell you that we’ll miss Guangzhou but I can’t; other than a few select family members we will not miss Guangzhou at all.

Guangzhou is a city best seen in your rearview mirror (I know I’m stealing that from someone but I don’t know who to credit). Rather than ragging on Guangzhou and insulting those of you who love it, let me simply proceed to tell you what we love about Hangzhou and try to guess what we didn’t like about Guangzhou.

So here is a short list if things about Hangzhou that really stand out for us:

1. The air is clean and the sky is clear the vast majority of the time. There are poorer industrial pockets where there is simply so much street traffic made up partly of trucks and older vehicles that occasionally you start to notice some smog, but almost everywhere and almost all the time the air actually smells fresh and clean, and the sky is actually blue.

2. People are incredibly friendly and polite. Shopkeeper’s actually want to chat with you and give you good service. Taxi drivers are friendly, and usually jump out of the car to open the door for you, especially for the ladies. When you ask someone in the street for directions they are anxious to help you find what you’re looking for rather than giving you a look that says you were interrupting their busy day (even though they were actually sitting doing nothing more than picking their noses).

3. People do not sit around on the street literally picking their noses.

4. People (men and women) are not constantly hawking and spitting their gobs of phlegm on the sidewalk, or your shoes if you don’t manage to duck.

5. Everyone strives to step politely to the side when you walk towards them rather than doing their best imitation of a bulldozer trying to mow down everything in their path.

6. Traffic in Hangzhou (both vehicles and pedestrian) obeys the rules. Cars stop for red lights, give way to the vehicle or pedestrian who has the right of way, and don’t drive up and along sidewalks or in the lane meant for oncoming traffic. Pedestrians wait for a walk light, and when crossing on a walk light are not frequently flattened by drivers who believe that owning a car grants them the status of a minor deity. I have actually seen drivers in Hangzhou pull up to a stop when they see a pedestrian waiting to cross a road and wave him across in front of them.

7. The restaurant food in Hangzhou is exceptionally good and reasonably priced, both Chinese and foreign. In most Chinese food restaurants the food seems cooked in the minimal amount of fairly healthy vegetable oil as opposed to swimming in palm oil or worse.

8. The tea houses are excellent but there are also great coffee houses, and we spent an evening in a jazz bar that left me thinking I had died and gone to Montreal.

9. The city core is extremely clean, scenic and layback, and is bordered by the beautiful and renowned (in China) “West Lake”. While West Lake is not quite the piece of Heaven that the Chinese and the western Travel Guide Books make it out to be, it is pretty phenomenal as parks in inner big cities go. It definitely ranks up there with Stanley Park in Vancouver and Central Park in New York (unless you prefer your park to include muggers in which case Central Park rules).

10. Everyone you meet isn’t trying to scam you. There isn’t an extra unordered and never delivered dish on every restaurant bill, every second 50 RMB bill isn’t fake, and everyone selling anything doesn’t suddenly raise the price because a Foreigner is next in line. In Hangzhou our landlord actually reduced the rent by 10% because I am a foreigner so he knew we wouldn’t “trash the joint” (or something like that said in Chinese).

11. A bonus for me, though only to admire and not touch, is that the Chinese women of Hangzhou are stunning.

Generally in the future you’re probably going to hear quite a bit about Hangzhou in this blog as we introduce the city to you, and as we will soon be introducing a travel component to the eMagazine and the website in which Hangzhou will be one of several key cities.

For those who wish to comment below on the great things you love about Guangzhou please feel free to do so. All members of CLM are welcome to comment on all blog articles.

(Next post will be "Find Your Chinese Love by Having a Long Term Plan, Part 2")

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
(Showing 1 to 6 of 6) 1
#2010-04-13 09:45:30 by abi513 @abi513

I would have to say Ditto on your most accurate assessment of Guangzhou. Within three days of my arrival in Guangzhou in March 2007, I received a counterfeit 100 RMB note and later several 50 RMB notes.

Within six months I had the opportunity to transfer to Shenzhen and it was truly a glorious day. In Guangzhou I never saw a stray cat or dog. I rarely saw a bird. Hell, I didn’t even see cockroaches or mice in GZ. I wonder why? Duh!! Upon arrival in Shenzhen, things were more normal in this regard. Stray domesticated animals, rodents, birds, and insects could be seen at one might characterize as “normal” levels. In GZ if Fluffy or Fido got loose, they were probably dinner for your neighbors that night. What else can you expect from a city that has an insect market selling everything that crawls or moves underground?

Now in Chengdu, it is often overcast from the clouds moving east from the mountains. In GZ, the sun was felt, but not often seen from all the pollution. Summers were so hot in GZ that you would still be in a sweat from the heat even at 3am in the morning.

Hangzhou truly sounds nice, especially with regard to traffic and courteous people.

#2010-04-15 10:52:18 by joeyboy58 @joeyboy58

You are a lucky guy & I am envious that you are there in Hangzhou. I have only been there once but really thought that it was one of if not the most beautiful city I visited in China. I hope to visit there again. I am planning on visiting China again this October. I will keep an eye on this website. I would like to bring my jazz/fusion band to China to play in clubs or concert venues. Hangzhou would be a great place to do that if there is a jazz music scene in that city. Anyone can give me a heads up on the jazz scene over there....Xiexie - Joe

#2010-04-18 20:02:47 by ronnie51fm36 @ronnie51fm36

you do a wonderfull work and I love the new look and look forward to using your services in the near future how ever I do think your prices where high now I know that this is reasonable for the location of your place of work.

#2010-04-23 04:24:45 by rgk1048 @rgk1048

Give us more info on Hangzhou. Maybe I'm going to visit there. Seems like my kind of place.

#2010-06-08 09:36:21 by thedragonb1 @thedragonb1

I'm already sold... :) Next flight to China. Definitely going to Hangzhou! :) Good thing the fiance has some family there. And BLUE SKIES?!! That is truly a sight to see - I didn't see any blue skies in Beijing or Guanzhou! Haaaha! Hangzhou it is!

#2010-10-16 23:08:03 by lly738 @lly738

Hi,Have you been to Beijing? Welcome to Beijing.

(Showing 1 to 6 of 6) 1
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