马可•波罗现身杭州CBD / Marco Polo Is Alive and Well, in Hangzhou’s CBD

马可•波罗现身杭州CBD

最近我出席了在杭州举办的国际期刊联盟“第二届亚太数字期刊大会”,并在会上做了发言。我上次去杭州还是在1977年,自那以后杭州发生的变化只可用“壮观”来形容。

就我看来,从1977年至今,杭州唯一没变的也许就是它的名称,而其他的一切(除交通拥堵外)都变得比以前更好,几乎让人辨不出旧时模样。

诚然,美丽的西子湖、湖畔垂柳和法国梧桐、精巧的市区寺庙,还有其他古代建筑典范依然风姿绰约,美丽不减当年。但比肩而邻的麦当劳、肯德基、必胜客和奢侈品店却为这道风景增添了迥异的色彩。而车水马龙的街道和熙熙攘攘的游客也是70年代根本不可能看到的景象。

杭州目前号称是中国房价最高的城市,住宅平均价格合人民币20,000元/平方米,是中国富人二次置业的热门城市。在杭州,阿里巴巴之类的大型成功企业层出不穷,那里也是浙江省乃至长江三角洲出口业务的核心部分。

虽然我在行前就对杭州的变化有所了解,但亲眼目睹这个城市只用短短一代人的时间就发展得如此富足,对我的冲击还是远远超出了之前的泛泛了解。

现在,从上海乘火车去杭州大概需要90分钟,但过不了多久,新的沪杭高铁即将通车,两地车程将进一步缩短至45分钟。每天,杭州还有六次航班往返香港,飞行时间大约为75分钟。但与海南三亚和云南昆明相比,很多香港人似乎还不知道杭州也是个周末休闲度假的好去处。

杭州机场十分现代高效。我从香港搭乘港龙公司的航班抵达杭州时正是中午。从出机舱到入境、取行李、通关、出机场、上便道,总共才用了10分钟。没有几家机场能提供比这更快的旅客服务了。

“Please take your taxi into the queue.” (请开出租车排队。)

话虽如此,但机场的出租车站却设在了国内候机楼,而非国际候机楼。排队的人也很多,等车需要大概20分钟。车站的指示牌用错误的英文善意地提醒道:“Please take your taxi into the queue(请开出租车排队)”,好像是建议大家上车后开着车闯进候车队伍、从人群身上轧过去似的。也许这并不是它的本意,如果能改成让大家更明白的“Please queue for taxi(请排队等候出租车)”,就更好、更安全了。

杭州景色优美,环境宜人,餐饮美食种类繁多,人文景观和历史古迹也令人目不暇接,难怪能引得全国游客纷至沓来。成群结队的观光巴士停靠在西湖边,车门开合处吐出一批批游客。

要想饱览杭州的众多美景,明智的游客会在清晨六点甚至更早就从酒店出发,那时街上车还不多。如果等到九点出发,拥挤的交通就会彻底改变你的感受,甚至让人心烦意乱。我就是早晨六点从酒店出发,赶去西湖乘第一班游船的。到八点时,水面上已是船满为患。

这次我在杭州先后住过两家酒店:会议期间,我下榻于CBD(中央商务区)内的湖滨路凯悦酒店,位置紧邻西湖。之后,我搬去了灵隐寺旁的安缦法云,那里地处山间,环境极为清幽。

两家酒店的条件都很优越,却为极具鉴赏品味的客人提供了完全不同的下榻体验。

凯悦酒店设在CBD内,地理位置一流,设施及服务都更适于繁忙的商务旅客以及希望能徒步游览西湖并购物的观光客入住。酒店内的“湖滨28”中餐厅以杭帮菜和江浙菜见长,是杭州最好的中餐厅之一。

说起“CBD”这个英文缩写,在中国可谓尽人皆知——就连不会说英文的人也是耳熟能详——认知度超过了北美、英国和澳大利亚的总和。这主要还得归功于中国的房地产开发商。很多中国人顺理成章地认为,在英语国家的城市里必定有个区域叫做“CBD”,但大多数情况下并非如此。当然也有少数例外,比如伦敦。

举个例子来说:纽约的中央商务区位于曼哈顿中城。如果你在纽约叫出租车司机送你去“CBD”,他只会用茫然的眼神瞪着你,不知所云。

在中国,“CBD”基本是指城市中心的高档物业聚集区。大多数中国城市似乎都有一个CBD,它也是高端地产广告中的常用词。

我头一回听说“CBD”还是在中国,时间大约是5年前。当时,我还是请教了别人才搞明白它的含义。

所以, “CBD” 可以作为中文“外来语”引入英文单词表,就像“鸦片”(opium)、“台风”(typhoon)、“大班”(taipan)、“炒菜锅”(wok)等大批词汇一样。

我跑题了……

安缦法云改建于一座已有700年历史的古村落,那里原是灵隐寺法师及信徒的居所,现在共有42间客房,装修豪华舒适。酒店里绿树成荫,花园繁茂,还有一间生机勃勃的茶坊和几片种着各式中国蔬菜的菜园,供这家风景如画的度假酒店自给自足。古代村落建筑都得到了精心的保护,无线网络、餐厅等满足高端客户需求的现代设施也一应俱全。整体环境轻松宜人,淡泊宁静。

这次多年以后再回杭州,我还意外发现一个热闹的意大利社区,就在离凯悦酒店步行几分钟的地方。

在那里,范思哲(Versace)、切瑞蒂(Cerruti)、杰尼亚(Zegna)、史提芬劳尼治(Stefano Ricci)、兰博基尼(Lamborghini)、法拉利(Ferrari)和玛莎拉蒂(Maserati)等高端奢侈品专卖店面向西湖一字排开,鳞次栉比。

Marco Polo Is Alive and Well , in Hangzhou’s CBD

I recently spoke at The FIPP’s 2nd Asia-Pacific Digital Magazine Conference in Hangzhou . My last visit to Hangzhou was in 1977 , and the changes since that time are simply phenomenal .

From what I can see , about the only thing in Hangzhou that hasn’t changed dramatically since 1977 is the city’s name . Everything else is almost unrecognizable , in a generally positive way (except for the traffic jams) .

True , the beauty of West Lake , the willow trees and phoenix trees which surround it , and the city’s many fine temples and other lovely examples of traditional architecture are intact , charming and largely unchanged ; but the juxtaposition of McDonald’s , KFC , Pizza Hut and high-end retail outlets adds a very different backdrop . And then there’s the traffic , and the hordes of tourists , which were nowhere to be seen in the 1970s .

Hangzhou now boasts China’s most expensive residential real estate market , with apartments averaging RMB20,000 per square meter . It is a popular location for second homes among wealthy Chinese . It has a fast growing number of super successful entrepreneurial companies , like Alibaba , and is an integral part of the export powerhouse of Zhejiang Province and the Yangzi River Delta .

I knew all that before I went , but to see the street life of a city which has attained such a high degree of affluence within the short span of one generation is much more impactful than just knowing about it .

From Shanghai to Hangzhou by train currently takes about 90 minutes , but the new high-speed rail link scheduled to open shortly will cut this to 45 minutes . There are six flights daily to and from Hong Kong , making it an easy 75-minute connection by air , and yet not many people in Hong Kong seem to have discovered Hangzhou as a weekend destination , as compared with Sanya in Hainan or Kunming in Yunnan .

Hangzhou’s airport is modern and efficient . The elapsed time from when I walked off the mid-day Dragonair flight which brought me from Hong Kong , until clearing immigration , collecting my checked bag , passing through Customs and walking out to the curbside , was only ten minutes . Few if any airport authorities anywhere can deliver better efficiency to passengers than that .

“Please take your taxi into the queue.”

Having said that , the taxi queue , located at the domestic rather than the international terminal , was long . Waiting in line for a taxi took about 20 minutes . A well-intentioned but wrongly worded English sign says: “Please take your taxi into the queue” , which seems to suggest that once you get a taxi , you should drive into the queue and run over those people still waiting there . Probably not the intended message . “Please queue for a taxi” would be a much better , and safer , message for all concerned .

Hangzhou is a green and inviting environment , offering a variety of great dining options . Its cultural offerings and historic spots are many and varied , which explains the throngs of tourist buses disgorging passengers from all over China which crowd the shores of West Lake .

Wise tourist visitors to Hangzhou who are intent on seeing the city’s many sights will depart their hotel by 6 a.m. or even earlier , at which time traffic is minimal . By comparison , departing at 9 a.m. will almost certainly offer a very different and probably frustrating transportation experience . For my boat trip on West Lake , I left the hotel at 6 a.m. , and we were the first boat on the lake . By 8 a.m. the water was crowded with boat traffic .

I stayed in two hotels during my stay : during the conference , I stayed in the Hyatt Regency , located on Hubin Road next to the West Lake , in the CBD (Central Business District) . Afterwards I moved to the Amanfuyun , located in a quiet , scenic valley next to the Lingyin Temple .

Both are excellent places to stay , but intentionally offer completely different experiences for the discerning traveler .

The Hyatt’s CBD location , facilities and service are ideal for busy business travelers , and tourist visitors who want to be within walking distance of shops and the West Lake . It’s Hubin 28 Chinese restaurant , specializing in Hangzhou and Zhejiang cuisine , is one of the best in town .

Speaking of CBD , this English acronym is now far better known in China – even to people who do not speak English – than it is in North America , the U.K. and Australia combined , thanks largely to China’s property developers . Most people in China understandably assume that cities in English speaking countries have an area known as the CBD , which is generally not true , with very few exceptions , such as London .

New York’s central business district , for example , is mid-town Manhattan . If you ask a New York taxi driver to take you to the CBD , you’ll get a blank stare .

In China , “CBD” ultimately refers to downtown areas where the most expensive real estate is situated . Most Chinese cities seem to have one , and it’s frequently cited as a draw in high-end property advertising .

The first time I heard the term “CBD” was in China five years or so ago, and I had to ask someone what it meant .

So we can add “CBD” to the long list of words in English which have been borrowed from Chinese , which includes opium , typhoon , taipan , wok , and a host of others .

But I digress…

The Amanfuyun is a luxurious , lush 42-room retreat built around a 700-year old village originally settled by the monks of the Lingyun Temple and their followers . It has an extensive expanses of forest and gardens , an active tea plantation , and plots devoted to cultivation of a variety of Chinese vegetables for the picturesque resort’s own use . The traditional village architecture has been meticulously preserved , with all the modern comforts upscale travelers demand , including wi-fi and excellent restaurants . It is a very relaxing and scenic environment .

During my long-overdue return visit to Hangzhou , it came as a big surprise came to discover a thriving Italian neighborhood within a few minutes’ walk from the Hyatt Regency .

There , facing the West Lake , is a string of high-end Italian luxury branded retail outlets , one after another : Versace , Cerruti , Zegna , Stefano Ricci , Lamborghini , Ferrari , Maserati .

 

虽然我在杭州这个意大利社区没见到一个意大利人,但我想马可•波罗一定会为此自豪不已。

Although I didn’t see any Italians in Hangzhou’s Italian neighborhood , I think Marco Polo would be proud nonetheless .


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