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Paris in China?

There are several items scattered through China that duplicate things you can see in other countries around the world. One of those is a copy of the Eiffel Tower, and it's right here in Hangzhou. Today Aiyun and I are going to join our friends Tia and Jeremy Moen on an adventure to track down this tower. We're on the extreme south end of Hangzhou and this tower is about an hour drive north of us. Let's go!

We arrived and circled the tower. It's about one third the size of the original. This picture was through a fence. The area around the tower was blocked to visitors. This neighborhood called Tianducheng in Hangzhou was built around 2000. The construction included the tower and a steet called Xiangxie that's a copy of the Champs Elysees. Xiangxie street has a ton of sculptures and fountains. Not a good copy as it's missing all eight lanes of traffic.

Xiangxie street is lined with buildings on both sides that include apartments on the floors two and above with small shops on the ground floor. When we reached the far end of the street there was a large set of stairs and more fountains.

We had to pay a few dollars to enter the area. No idea what we were getting into, but what the heck? Adventure and all that. We went in. Seemed like it would be a park of some sort.

It was a nice park with stores, shops, attractions, etc. However, it WAS a nice park which has fallen into disrepair and very little use. Jeremy guessed that it was a Covid casualty. That would make a lot of sense. We meandered around the park which really was a nice walk. There were many empty buildings including this one that was labeled "Moulin Rouge". Ummmm. Okay. Maybe the windmill fell down?

One portion of the park had a "Castle on the hill". We could see it in the distance and figured we should give it a look. We arrived to an empty Castle, but an open door...

So we had to walk in and have a look. What we found was interesting, fascinating, and at times scary. Jeremy and I walked up stairs to the top floor. What we found up there was... Oh man. Watch the videos.

And then as I'm about to leave Jeremy founds a "hidden" door. It really was. It was a rectangle on a wall. No handle. So of course he opens it and finds a thin passage way with mirrors on the walls. It was totally a mirror maze. Not kidding. Yeah, so we check it out. I filmed our passage back.

Surreal at times today. Wondering if I'll wake up tonight with a poltergeist hovering over me with a sword because I defiled its crypt. Ya know. Eighties slasher flick stuff. As we're about to escape the castle alive Tia had to show me this...

I had multiple instances of "Blair which project" thoughts and Tia shows me this bathroom. I'm pretty sure I had even said "Blair which" in one of those videos. Of course at this moment, I'm like, leave. Leave now. Castle on the hill? Ummm. House of death and freaky scary stuff.

We made the long walk back to the car and headed back towards school with a stop off for lunch. Another fun day with Aiyun and the Moens. I appreciate the Moen's sense of adventure and willingness to explore. They're fun to hang out with.

Aiyun and I just spent the past nine days together. Our longest continuous stretch of time together. We watched movies. We walked. We hit golf balls. We played cribbage. We played table tennis. We had meals. We talked. We laughed. At times we just, were. At the moment we're finishing a movie called Serendipity. Aiyun likes to say our meeting was fate. It took us fifty plus years of life to meet, but we did. I'll headed up to Wuxi in thirteen days to spend the weekend with her. Until then, I'll miss her. Fate? Serendipity? I don't know. Don't care so much for either idea. Just glad we've met.

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