Xiamen - a dismal day in the van


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Asia » China » Fujian » Xiamen
April 30th 2014
Published: June 25th 2017
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The home of the HakkaThe home of the HakkaThe home of the Hakka

It's that blur in the background through the haze/mist/fog
Geo: 24.4783, 118.17

Not going to rate this adventure as one of my "favs" in China but maybe the weather was responsible for a dampened enthusiasm. The visibility at some times during the day was down to 20 metres ....so Xiamen and the surrounding landscape zoomed by shrouded in a perpetual fog of mystery.

We left the Days Inn at 8.30 am under an umbrella in heavy rain and returned to Xiamen at 5.15 pm under an umbrella shrouded in mist and rain. Our goal was to reach the mountains of south western Fujian to see the cluster of tulous which is the home of the Hakka.

Some of these round, oval and square structures were built in the 12th century and they stand as a distinctive fortress in the region. Built over four or five storeys high with thick mud and bamboo walls these mountain clusters each house around 200 families. They are like a modern apartment block built around a central courtyard. On the lower floor is a kitchen with its own well. The next floor is for storage with the upper "apartment" floors as the living and sleeping spaces. The tulous are inhabited today and the local people have added their
Mac was mobbed today..including squealingMac was mobbed today..including squealingMac was mobbed today..including squealing

Forget the single quiet snap...this was a squealing series!
own "market" stall outside of each of their doorways.

The viewing is accompanied by the gauntlet......and there are soooooo many of them. Lots

It was a long haul. And when we arrived...the conditions were so poor that the mountain of steps used to gain access to the village were declared too dangerous to navigate. We saw one unfortunate tourist take a very nasty tumble on the flat platform....Mac did a little skating two step (I was the hero and saved him!) We followed Lucy (in the sky with diamonds)'s advice and stayed on solid ground. We did get up close and personal to the tulous at two additional stops and did some exploration. But we were out of the van for a total of 30 minutes of touring and 30 minutes for lunch..but for the other 7 hours 45 minutes we were rocking and rolling in the back of the 12 seater people movers. (I have a new understanding of why they call them "people movers".)

Mountains, vans and Chinese drivers....not my favourite combination. We located the "worst" driver in the world in Jiuzhaigou - we have a contender for the runner up. Although I have to concede that because we are seeing the "style" repeated so frequently - we probably need to stand in awe of their expertise in getting us safely from one spot to another. I would like to make it mandatory for every driver to do a stint as a passenger! Maybe once they have been thrown from side to side with the wild swerving and jerked backwards and forwards with constant acceleration and braking they may consider passenger comfort. Mac sits eagle eyed in the centre seat for the entire journey marvelling at the lack of pre judgement that seems characteristic of the driving!

Anyway, I was so sore after our epic marathon I filled up the tub, added some bath salts and bubbles and soaked away some of the muscle strain from holding on. Not a bad life really.

But the day was almost worth it to get the laugh from the rock star reception that Mac received outside one of the clusters. As the van door slid open and Mac uncoiled himself - a "human cluster" on the bridge spotted the tall white foreigner. One of the girls literally did the little "stamping of the feet with excitement" thing and with a nod of encouragement from Mac they were all squeals, giggles and laughter - accompanied by the flailing of arms, legs, umbrellas and cameras as they jostled to take not one...but a SERIES of photos with him. He puffed up like a peacock, threw his arms open wide and strutted his stuff. It is a lot of fun! The rock star was back after a couple of quiet days (he did feature in a Chinese soldier's home movie on the plane yesterday!)

We finished the evening at a "seafood" restaurant - and I must say that Mac attacked the range of dishes with a new passion. We fought over the last morsels of the fish but I let Mac be the master of the "pippies in junket". The soup was delicious....the squid dish was a scrumptious taste (for me...a shame about the pockets of VERY hot chillies...for Mac...bring it on!) And yep, as many drinks as you want!

Congratulations to Mac, my hero again. He completes every night with a check of our financials and a cross checking of the charges made to our account for the day. Last night he spotted that we had been charged TWICE for our super feast the night before. So armed with the receipt we had been issued and an online bank statement displayed on the iPad he high-tailed it down to the desk manager in the Lobby and after discussions, demonstrations and elevator rides to the restaurant with the manager he was a WINNER and had the duplicate successfully reversed. It always pays to check!

And can you believe it....one week to go!?! Alarms are set for an early 5.45 am start tomorrow morning .... we are off to Shanghai and a familiar face in the crowd ...catching up with @PeterFoster on The Bund (our navigation skills permitting).

Pedometer Reading: 4 887
Temperature: 22 C persistent rain and heavy mist/fog/smog12 seater people mover (I have a new understanding of why they call them "people movers"😉

@FionaCant...Mac is singing the Beatles song for you "They say it's your birthday! Happy Birthday to you!" I am tapping along. Hope you can hear us...and have a super celebration. Happy Birthday for May 1st Mrs Cant. Catch you on our return. Love xoxo


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1st May 2014

In spite of the awful weather, you still had some interesting adventures.......Mac is such a Super Star.....hope you've warned him not to expect that sort of attention when he gets home......hard to believe only 1 week to go......I think Sp
arkie will be soooooooooooo happy!!!!!!!.......x0x0x0x0x0
1st May 2014

Jan, the 1st postcard arrived yesterday for Ruby......I put it in her letter box for her to discover & she was absolutely thrilled (I think it went to Kindy today for 'show & tell').......another arrived today, so have done the same
thing......thankyou so much ......she's lovin' it!!!!!...........xoxoxoxoxoxo

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