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After yesterday’s bitter rant I feel like something more joyful is in order, so you don’t think that I mope around complaining all the time.

On my way home from the university I decided to stop and take a photo of the West Lake (Xihu – the main attraction of Hangzhou, but this is not a history/travel blog, so I won’t bore you with details. Click on the link if you want to read more about it!).

Usually I have a love & hate relationship with this place. Yes, it’s beautiful, romantic and on a hot day it provides a nice breeze – BUT. It’s full of Chinese tourists. And a lot of them come from the country. And they really haven’t seen many foreigners in their lives. The effect is that one can track the progress of a white person by the spreading wave of whispers: “Laowai, laowai!” and the clicks of camera shutters (it’s okay if they come over and ask if they can have a photo with you. Weird, since they grab you by the arm and act as if you were best pals – who knows what stories they tell at home… – but okay. What I don’t like is when they stand in front of you and take a photo while pretending they’re shooting something else – yes, I CAN see that lens pointing at me! – or when, even more brazenly, they just shove the camera into your face without a word, all the while grinning insanely). To be avoided during weekends and holidays.

But today the afternoon was so pretty that I was willing to take my chances. And here’s what happened. No one noticed me. Not even one person. They were all of them…

…taking photos of this:


And rightly so, since it was much more interesting.

I took my pictures and suddenly decided that I didn’t want to go away yet. I perched on a cold curb, for once the watcher, not the watchee. Sitting there and looking at the photographers, the couples, the groups of friends, I felt at peace with the city around me. We were all of us locked onto the beauty that was before our eyes, the autumn serenity of the lake silencing the voices and the minds.

And no one said hello.

PS: Seems like I got carried away again, this time with lyricism. Enjoy. It gets out a lot less than my sarcasm.