Forget Katie Melua and the bicycles of Beijing. This is hazy Hangzhou – a city of nearly 8 millions souls sitting on the indecently beautiful shores of China’s renowned West Lake. And that view above shows Qinghefang Street, home to a parade of shops selling Hangzhou’s famous silk. It had a languid feel when I visited in the warm October sunshine in spite of the bikes and bicycles.
No more languid than here at the end of the street. Even the cops are chilled and have time to read the papers.
It is kind of surreal though. Mannequins that look like they’re reprising the role of Joanna Lumley’s Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous are everywhere.
And amid the traditional silks the younger generation of Chinese eagerly display their taste for western fashions and kit.
Don’t be fooled, though. For every Mercedes and BMW you’ll see sights like these even in the busiest of thoroughfares. But for how much longer?
If this has whetted your appetite you might want to take a look at this site – http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/zhejiang/hangzhou/shopping.htm