Bloggers celebrate 'Hangzhou Showtime'
Hangzhou Tourism Commission has invited web celebrities to visit the city and upload photos and videos to social media as part of the “Hangzhou Showtime” project.
Last week, Jordan Taylor, a popular travel blogger on Youtube and Instagram, visited Hangzhou and shared her trip on social media. During the five-day journey, she toured the ruins at Liangzhu and city landmarks.
She was the first foreign web celebrity who visited Liangzhu since it was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage list early this month. The Liangzhu ruins are characterized by finely etched jade artifacts, which archeologists believe symbolize the culture’s cosmology.
“Ancient civilizations are attractive to me. I have been to China, India, Mexico, Greece and Egypt. Hangzhou is a city full of vigor and cultural heritage,” said Taylor. “Liangzhu testifies to the 5-millennium-old civilization in China. My followers told me they cannot wait to explore Hangzhou after watching my videos on Instagram.”
Taylor also visited Xixi Wetland.
Xixi Wetland is crisscrossed by watercourses. Taylor took a boat to see the birds, aquatic plants and reed marshes that are at every turn.
“I used to think of parks as mostly of being a bit of grass and some benches. But in China, the parks transport you to a different world. They are usually massive, and full of so many gorgeous scenes and activities. You cannot possibly see all of it in one day. That is exactly Xixi Wetland,” she said.
In the craftsmanship area of Xixi, Taylor wove a bamboo basket and made an oil-paper umbrella under the instruction of local artisans.
Taylor was attracted by Hangzhou’s legend “Lady White Snake.” Set in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), the legend tells of a young scholar, Xu Xian, falls in love with Bai Suzhen, a 1,000-year-old white snake that had taken the form of a beautiful woman. However, a monk said it was against nature’s law for humans and spirits to fall in love. The snake was imprisoned for eternity in a well at Leifeng Pagoda, which has stood silently watching over Hangzhou for more than 1,000 years.
Taylor visited three spots related to the story, namely the pagoda, the Broken Bridge and Baohetang Pharmacy, a new route launched as part of “Hangzhou Showtime.”
Built on a hill above West Lake the pagoda looks majestic, especially at sunset. It is open to visitors but its underground palace has been off limits since it collapsed 90 years ago. It has been a veritable gold mine for archeologists and historians as numerous invaluables were discovered when it was restored in 2000.
The love story begins with the meeting of ill-fated lovers at the Broken Bridge, which in reality is not broken. Located at the west end of Bai Causeway, the snow on the raised portion of the causeway melts fastest under the sun during winter. When viewed from Baoshi Hill, it gives an impression of a broken bridge.
Taylor visited the Baohetang pharmacy, where Xu worked as an apprentice according to the story. When the city was suffering from both a plague and crop failure, the pharmacy did not charge the poor.
The blogger also tried some TCM. The pharmacy runs a popular medical diet restaurant, serving herbal dishes that are believed to cure specific conditions and ailments. In Hangzhou, people are supposed to get in tune with their energy by modifying diet and lifestyle through this therapy. The fusion of food and herbs gave Taylor a brand-new taste experience.
By July 7, the online exposure of the “Hangzhou Showtime” project has reached 600,000 hits and 27,000 interactive reviews on social media. Taylor’s followers account for 15 percent of reviews.
Hangzhou Tourism Commission is using various social platforms from home and abroad to popularize Hangzhou as an international tourism destination.