We arrived in WuZhen in the late afternoon and after checking into WuZhen we went to our incredible hotel to check in there and then off to another private room in an exclusive restaurant for a delicious meal.
After the meal, the women and kids went to bed, while the men went to a local bar. The bar was small and looked exactly the way you would think a small bar in a town run for tourists would look. There were a few other tables full of Chinese vacationers drinking and playing drinking games and barely listening to a Pilipino band playing current pop songs.
We got a table and ordered drinks. Many, many drinks. Our gracious host brought along scotch that was literally the same age as me and expensive Cuban cigars    and we smoked cigars and played Chinese drinking games. We ended up drinking the entire bottle of 31 year old scotch as well as many beers and ate a lot of fruit, which was brought out for some reason. I must mention that while we sat and drank and carried on, our host's bodyguard/driver sat at a nearby table, drank water and seemed to enjoy the band.
I went back to my hotel room and slept diagonally/sideways across my king size cloud of a bed, leaving the balcony door open because it opened onto a beautiful pond full of lily pads and lotus flowers and the rain outside sounded nice and woke up with some sort of mosquito like bug bite all over my feet and chest.
In the morning we had breakfast and headed to the canals. The canals are amazing and it was a really fun experience, but I took a million pictures and I'll let them speak for themselves . I must mention the delicious "Communist retro" restaurant we ate lunch at. It was delicious and we had so much food
 If you don't hit traffic and you definitely will hit traffic, so let's stop whining about the pan am games.
 I actually have no idea if whining about the Pan Am Games is still a thing, hopefully we've all caught pan am fever and I'll have to wear one of those SARS masks when I get home.
 There will be a lot of footnotes in this entry. The literary version of me thinks they're a good metaphor for China. There are so many rewarding, crazy, amazing things that you can see on your detours and yet you can go right by them and ignore them and the place still functions as a whole. Or, it's just a baldfaced rip off of David Foster Wallace. You decide.
 and San Antonio's river walk, where 3 members of a former hockey team I played on were arrested for arguing with a bouncer after he poured out their last call beers moments after they received them. Apparently, these water world towns are very cognizant of their tourist value. San Antonio seemingly deploying all of the city's police on the river, leaving the rest of the city as a free for all, and Wu Zhen posting a code of conduct for vendors and residents that explicitly states leave the tourists alone, a crime, I believe is punishable by being tossed in the river after eating too many delicious dumplings. I kid, I'm sure the real punishment is far more sinister.
 the whole city is basically a tourist spot. Everyone who owned a house or business there was bought out by the government some years ago and now, with the exception of the hotels (I believe) it is run by the government, making it something of a Potemkin village or like the "based on a true story" version of what WuZhen once was, maybe.
 In China, drinking is men's work
 for some reason, having a Pilipino band at your bar is a big deal in China. It is touted in a lot of the bar advertising, by those bars lucky enough to have a Pilipino band playing in their establishment. All of the bands have been good that I've seen, so maybe they're onto something. Perhaps the Philippines has some sort of cover band course at university
 obviously, it's a way for people to pursue a better life than a country where Manny Paquiao is an elected member of government can give them. Stop being so cynical, Rob!
 I told our host my one cigar-related anecdote
 I have visited a factory where they made the particular expensive cigars that we were smoking
 on this trip I have more than doubled my lifetime count of cigars smoked
 I'm at 5 now, the previous two being 1) in Cuba after visiting the aforementioned cigar factory and 2) in the dressing room after winning the Calder cup.
 the game we played was a form of dice where you make predictions and if you're wrong you drink. There are no good or bad hands really, but our host upon rolling almost every time said out loud "Oh My God!" Or "it's good"
 these guys are incredible. They drove us for about 3 hours to Hangzhou and WuZhen and while we ate lunch and dinner, they made all sorts of arrangements for our trip. Including, but not limited to, standing in line for tickets to the ferry, buying our whole group ponchos, arranging umbrellas from the hotel or some other place I have no idea about, all the while functioning as a sort of backpack/guide/bodyguard for our wonderful host, I'm not sure that they sleep. Also, apparently they're former military.
 but not too near
 he was emphatic about telling us this, even though he wasn't driving anywhere as Wu Zhen doesn't have roads
 are they the same thing? I have not been able to figure that out
 including beef and noodle soup
 A picture is worth a thousand words after all and I've already used far too many in these damn footnotes.
 if you're reading this before July 22, 2015, come back after that and there will be pictures here
 including "communist beef" and some sort of snail that one woman from our group told us she used to eat as a little girl out of the water near her house, she also would sometimes sell them to buy ice cream.