This weekend Spill Group Asia and our new colleagues from Zlong Games went on a company outing. We left on Friday afternoon by bus to Anji, a city in the mountains of Zhejiang. The place is famous for its nature, especially for its huge bamboo forests. It actually turned out to be close to Moganshan, where I spent last weekend. The trip by bus was about 3-4 hours, but it seemed a lot longer: the tour guide that was provided to us kept on talking and talked so loud that my left ear (that was right below the loudspeaker – which was not functioning well) was literally hurting – I can still feell it now! Luckily he did not talk the whole way, but it certainly seemed like it.
We arrived in Anji just before it got dark, and made a short trip to the set of the movie The Banquet. From there we hiked up to a viewing point, from where we overlooked a sea of bamboo trees. As far a you could see only mountains full of bamboo forests. A beautiful sight, but we could not enjoy it long because it got dark and we had to leave the woods.
When we got back to the entrance of the park, dinner was ready. Some nice local dishes with lots and lots of local beer. The beer was called bamboo beer, but I am still not sure if bamboo is one of the ingredients (anybody knows?). It tasted a bit sweeter than my usual Tsingtao or Heineken, but was not bad. During the dinner many colleagues decided to toast with the management, and I was one of the victims. I had to drink several glasses of beer ganbei (drinking it empty at once), but because the bamboo beer was quite light it was not a very difficult task.
The dinner was followed by a bonfire (the second in a week for me), in an open area in the woods. We did some games, and the losers had to perform for the group. During the bonfire I received an email that Peter Driessen just got a new son, so I could annnounce that to the whole group. Peter, if you read this, congrats from all of us!
The night we spent in a hotel in Anji, which turned out to be much better than expected. Even the breakfast the next morning was quite OK (I had a bit of a hangover from the bamboo beer, but the greasy fried noodles made me feel much better). The only thing I did not understand is why they served hot orange juice. When we asked if they had cold orange juice the waitress brought us some ice cubes!
We spent the whole next day enjoying the nature outside Anji. First we hiked up a mountain, which was much higher than I expected. But the view from the top was fantastic, and the walk was a good opportunity to talk to some colleagues that I did not know very well yet. After the hike (almost 2 hours up and 1 hour downhill) we had lunch at a local restaurant, before we drove to a river close to Hangzhou. Here we went rafting on bamboo (what other material can you expect here?) boats. It was a nice ride, especially because the weather had cleared up completely and it had become nice and sunny with a blue sky. The water was quite calm due to a lack of rain, but the water pistols that many colleagues had brought ensured that we all got soaked anyway.
The day ended with the drive back to Shanghai. The whole bus was watching The Banquet and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon on the internal TV, but I decided to catch up on some sleep. All in all a nice weekend in a beautiful scenery. I had not been to Anji before, and it’s definitely a good place to visit for a weekend trip from Shanghai. The hotels are decent (much better than Moganshan), and the nature is stunning. Some valleys that we drove through reminded me even of the European Alps, although the mountains are much older here (=less steep). There are even one-day organized trips from Shanghai, but considering the distance you will likely spend more time on the road than in nature. If you want to go by car, the quickest way is to take the expressway to Hangzhou and then take the ring road (at exit 18) until you hit the expressway to Nanjing. From there you should see signs to Anji.
More pictures from the trip you can find here