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Maya Grey

Maya in Hangzhou

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Hello! I'm Maya - a South African girl who's just moved to Hangzhou. I'm living and working at a school in Linping (about 40 minutes away from the city centre). I came here to experience something new and hopefully learn Chinese. Please let me know of some beautiful natural areas/hiking trails/swimming holes/vegetarian restaurants or even if you just want to make a new friend :)

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Hi Maya.

The one thing I like about this area (and most of China - at least on the eastern side) is the vast amount of greenery and hills. All of them, naturally, have walking trails (not that I actually use them :p)

Swimming holes??? Umm... no! Many (most?) Chinese don't learn to swim. And swimming in a local watering hole would be just tooo... ewww for many of them!!

I'm not a veggie, so I don't know about veg restaurants... but getting vegetarian dishes is relatively easy - depending on just how strict you intend to be! Powders, oils, utensils used in everything...

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50 minutes ago, sainthood said:

 

Swimming holes??? Umm... no! Many (most?) Chinese don't learn to swim. And swimming in a local watering hole would be just tooo... ewww for many of them!!

 

Meh, I see a passle of them at the swimming pool at my gym. Lots of people there. You're right though, not sure a lot of them, aside from the old AF people who gave up caring and lost hope, care for swimming outside in unsanitized water areas. 

(not that those pools at the gym are any cleaner...)

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Welcome!

To add to fionnfionn and sainthood's comments, the swimming pools are often only waist deep.  I had to ask for a diving pool to find one that was suitable for swimming (the membership was exorbitant and I wound up getting a refund because they kept the pool piss warm).  

During the day time (like lunch or late morning), the pools are often empty and they usually haven't turned on the heaters, so it's more pleasant to swim then.  Most people start their workout routines after work, so evening swimming is a nightmare of doggy paddlers in sauna temperatures (water and air). This is my experience in an outdoor gym pool, an indoor-underground gym pool, and an indoor-not-basement pool.  And this is my experience in the city centre (West Lake).

As for swimming holes, if you go up the mountains, there's often rather pristine looking (you can see *everything* in them) ponds that have no factories upwind (upwater?) of them.  I've seen my friends dive in without issue, despite their general fear of being poisoned by water overall.  But, I'm not very familiar with the Linping area.

 

FYI - China is big.  Linping is about an hour away from West Lake if there's no traffic and if you're in a car (~60 RMB for a regular taxi).  Otherwise, if you plan to use public transport, you're about 2 hours away from West Lake.  Good news, dealing with public transport gives you thousands of opportunities to practice Chinese, especially if you don't listen to music (or otherwise try to shut out the world).  I've met a lot of friends just by being lost on buses/metro and asking for help.

 

As a young female, I think you're going to make tons of friends and have lots of opportunities to experience an awesome (and sometimes annoying) China.  My best advice: once the novelty of being treated like a superstar wears off and you find yourself annoyed by the constant staring or gaping: just smile.  If you smile at them, they often smile back.  If they don't, cross your eyes and they won't look at you again.  And, if you get stuck in a convo you really want to get out of, it's totally okay to walk away without saying anything.  Or, just say "ping guo" (apple) to every question they ask. They'll think you're insane and leave you alone. (Don't bother with "ting bu dong" - which means you can't understand. They just say 'oh, ting bu dong?' then continue talking anyway.)

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@Nunyo @sainthood @fionnfionn

Thank you so much for the feedback! 

I'very been hiking quite a lot around Hangzhou (yes pretty far by public transport but it's worth it) but still haven't found a place to swim - can you please let me know which trails in the mountains your friends go on and swim in nature up there? 

I really appreciate all the valuable information you gave... especially saying pingguo to people - I think that's hilarious! 

Happy mid-Autumn festival!!

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Come now, South Africans say chicken is vegetable, so it's not an issue.

Yes, it would be tough being a vegetarian in SA.  So much braai.  I had dreams of vegetables there.  Once ordered a salad and my friends got worried.  Same when I opted for veggie bunny chow. Before you know I'm feasting on Gemsbok shank.  Lekker stuff, all of it. Now I'm hungry.

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I know there is a big veggie restaurant in Linying temple, I go there for many times, it's very nice, I think its the best in Hangzhou. for more info contact, [please send me private message for my contact information]

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Hi Maya!

Nice to come across your post. I'm totally into swimming holes, so if you find any, I'd love to know! ;) 

I'm also a veggie, and have found an amazing vegetarian restaurant near where I live, but I'm in Xiaoshan, quite far from you. I was also brought to one in the Lingyin temple area in West Lake, it was called Zhu Yuan Su. It's also amazing. Not sure if I could find it again though lol! 

And I love nature exploration time. Feel free to connect!

:-)

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