Xiamen #2: Overseas Chinese Museum and the Railway Culture Park

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Asia » China » Fujian » Xiamen
February 17th 2018
Published: May 25th 2018
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After another breakfast outdoors, I was ready to head out and explore some more of Xiamen. I got sunburnt yesterday, so made sure that I had my sunscreen on. I had also decided to spend some of today indoors so that would help my sore skin. I had decided that I wanted to visit the Overseas Chinese Museum. I could have taken the bus to get there, but I decided to walk as it was only a few kilometres and I expected the traffic to be as horrific as it had been the previous day. The walk to the museum took about an hour or so. I enjoyed my walk along the beach following the same route as the day before. I also followed the road in the direction of the temple, but whereas I went right to reach the temple, this time I took the road leading left. I deemed to be walking against the crowds doing this, as everyone getting off tour buses was headed towards Nanputuo Temple and Xiamen University. However, I made my way through the gaps and came to the museum.

The Overseas Chinese Museum is housed in a very elegant looking building. The museum opened in the late 1950s and was founded by Tan Kah Kee, a famous overseas Chinese leader (I have no idea who he was). The museum was free to enter, so that saved me a few RMB. It is spread out over three floors. I started with the ground floor and worked my way up. The ground floor contained exhibits about how The Chinese were transported overseas, it looked very grim and some of the hard manual labour jobs they did. There wasn't a lot of information in English, but a lot of the displays were pretty self explanatory. I headed up to the first floor, which was interesting, too. There were displays showing how the emigrants kept up their traditions in the it new countries. I also liked all the old school moviegoers on display.The second floor had two sections, one about nature and animals, an th other was a collection of old porcelain and other relics. I found these boring so only had a quick look around them. One funny incident happened in the museum. In general, Chinese people aren't used to seeing foreigners in the flesh and generally haze a bit longer than they should (I am being very polite here in how I am describing this). Anyway, I was looking at one of the exhibits in the museum, when a kid walked up and started staring at me, pretty normal stuff. However, after the initial state and once the kid's brain had kicked into what he was seeing, he give a bit of a scream, his face changed to a look of horror and he ran off. Seriously, do I look that scary?!?! Also, while I was looking around the museum, I saw one of the guys from the hostel, he confirmed how bad the traffic had been as he'd been stuck on the bus for about two hours and hadn't been got to where he wanted to be, before giving up, getting off and visiting the museum instead.

After the museum, I decided to keep walking. I headed further along Siming Road, I loved the buildings here as they were really old school and once again, the area reminded me of Hong Kong. The road is really long and eventually I came to a major crossroads. This must be one of the main parts of town. It was really funny to look across the street as the other side of Siming Road was so different. It was really fancy and much more upscale looking. I headed into the nice looking mall as I was starving by this point. I headed up to the restaurants on one of the upper floors and had a look around. Of course, I really wanted to go to the sushi restaurant that I spied, but it was closed for the New Year holiday. Just my luck, as it was the only place that was closed. I went to a Vietnamese/Thai place instead. They didn't seem to be doing their full menu, whether it was because it was the holiday or just that it was about 2 o'clock, I don't know. I ordered a chicken curry and grabbed a seat by the window so I could look out over Xiamen. The view wasn't too great, but better than staring at the restaurant's walls. The curry was pretty good, edible but didn't really have any wow factor. It was absolutely boiling though and I burnt my tongue trying to eat it. I was in need of a coffee after lunch and headed down to Starbucks to grab an iced one. Starbucks was rammed, so I decided to head back out and took my coffee with me.

When I had been walking about earlier, I had spotted a sign that said Railway Culture Park, so had looked it up and decided to head there. The old train track has been turned into a park area. I started in what seemed to be the middle, so I decided to head down towards the sea first. It was fun to walk along the old track. This part passes by a residential area and it seemed to be more locals walking along the path rather than tourists. The tracks head down to the water, but I was unable to get all thrown as the crossings for pedestrians were a bit dodgy and the track appears to run into the Navy area, which doesn't let us mere mortals in. I headed back up the other way, just across the road where the track continues, there are a few cafes, stores and restaurants set up to cater for tourists. Most of them were closed for the holiday. This was a residential area too as there were quite a few people going about their daily business. The track continues up with lots of greenery surrounding it, all very pretty. After about a kilometre or so, the tracks headed into a tunnel. I had a walk through the tunnel. It was interesting as it has been turned into a tourist attraction with lots of murals on the walls, spots to take pictures and facts about rail travel. I made it to the other end of the tunnel, before deciding to retrace my steps and head back to the hostel. My walk home along the beach meant I was able to catch the start of the sunset and the sky was turning a beautiful pink colour.

When I got back to the hostel, I noticed that the Korean restaurant just along the street was open. It hadn't been the day before, and I feared that it would be shut for the duration of my stay in Xiamen. Later, when I started to feel hungry, I headed there to get some take out. There was a bit of a problem as the menu was all in Chinese and the guy on till didn't speak any Korean. I managed to order by taking photos on my phone of the stuff I wanted that was displayed outside. The food was a little expensive, but I was excited to have Korean food. I took it back to the hostel and ate it there. I had ordered Kimchi jeon (pancake) and some kimbap. The kimbap was fairly decent but the jeon was really bland. There was too much food for me to eat, so I ended up bombing some of the pancake, which saddens me as much as it wasn't great, I still hate wasting food. I spent the rest of the evening chilling, doing some reading with a beer.

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