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Published: September 29th 2015
Not many of my readers both foreign and Chinese will know this place, aside from the ones that are from here. Defeng is a city level prefecture that belongs to Yancheng here in Jinagsu province. The last time I was here was at least 5 years ago visiting a friend of mine John. Now time as again presented an opportunity to visit him once more. Things have changed somewhat for him; he has been married and has a daughter now. His lovely and talented wife is also expecting their second child. Day 1
My journey starts off of course in Jinhua, leaving my already packed bags behind for this trip to return there to fetch them and go to Wuhan. I had booked a train ticket to Nanjing since there is no direct train service to Dafeng. Getting to the train station over an hour early to make sure I was there for my train and didn't miss it. One of my few departures that was in the middle of the day. 12:30 in the afternoon. The sun shining brightly in the noonday sky heat emanating in the high 30sC. Getting close to the train
station traffic was getting congested, only as we neared the station we saw the cause of it. A collision between an EBike and a taxi cab, a police presence was obvious; if I were to hazard a guess at least 10 officers were present taking notes from people who saw what had happened. I not seeing anything was not questioned well to those around I was pretty much invisible. Going into the station and finding a nice place to sit down and have a cup of coffee collecting my thoughts before the train ride. A ride of 2.5 hours before I would arrive in Nanjing. I was in the first class section of the train, which to be honest isn’t that much different from second class for the CRH trains. Boarding time at least time to go down to the platform and wait for our train to arrive, as I was waiting there was this bright young girl who was interested in speaking to me but at the same time was rather shy to do so. We played and joked around giving her a wide smile on her face. Getting on the train putting my bags away I took a
small nap to pass the time. Getting to Nanjing I disembark only to realize much to my displeasure that I had forgotten one key thing, although not vital for my travels my fedora. (My hat for those of you who don't know what it is.) It is after-all replaceable. Well I had went to purchase my ticket to Defeng at the local bus station making sure the time and gate of its departure. I was off to have myself another cup of coffee. As I was walking around outside the station I came across the most wondrous site. A Starbucks coffee place, I went in and purchased myself a coffee and a Nanjing travel mug and of course some instant coffee.
I returned to the station and waited for my turn to leave on the bus. So when it was my turn to board the bus I had went to the wrong bus but I was directed to the proper one and we were off. During the time I had dozed off it wasn't until the bus had stopped for its break to have a light snack and pee break that I had awoke. The remaining time
I had stayed awake, finally arriving in Defang at 8:30 in the evening. My friend John and kindly greeted me at the bus station and dropped me off at his second home for which I would be staying at for the duration of my stay in Defang. He had showed me where to find and work some of the amenities and was off to his home to spend the remaining evening with his family. And leaving me to my own devices. I had changed and laid out a few things to charge. I pulled out my 3DS and played a bit while I checked my emails, after which I had fallen asleep. Day 2
Waking up early, I had been greeted by John asking if I had breakfast, which I had not. I quickly taken a shower and got dressed and we were off to have some breakfast and to meet his family. Where we would have lunch together. I got to meet his delightful family his grandfather, parents and of course his wife and his 4 year old daughter. After returning to my place of residence for a brief
rest. We, John, John’s father and I went out to the Defang Port, basically to the sea. Along the road leading to the Port of Defang there were some crossings for the people that lived in the area. When crossing these areas John in the driver would slow and honk his horn as I would guess a warning to those who would want to cross that there was a car coming.
Along the way I spotted a church, an actually church here in Defeng area. I will be getting to that in a moment. We finally get to the port, an isolated and solitary place. My host mentioned that the ships dock further out to sea because of the sands and the fact that when the tides go out there would be miles of seabed left exposed to the elements and would cause damage to the ships aside from being stranded on land. It was a beautiful landscape perfect for those artist that use canvases as their medium.
The next stop on our tour for the day was the Defeng Ocean World. When we arrived the place was closing shortly, but they agreed to
let us through if we promised to be really quick. It looks like it didn’t have much to offer in the way of things inside the main building. After seeing the main building we walked around to the back and saw the tropical forest landscape in the greenery. The landscape for the whole place was well kept and very nice. I would recommend visiting this place if you have the chance. After which we went back to the apartment for me to get some rest. For the next day. Day 3 of trip
Today was a busy day. In the morning I ventured out on my own accord and ended up at the Mingdu Walking Street. (Mingdu Pedestrian Street), now here I had realized that I had been here before on my previous two visits to Defang. But back then I wasn’t writing my blog and wasn’t really interested in seeing the sites. But now being a little older and a little wiser I had took the chance and snapped some shots. I walked around snapping some shots there was a few places in this area
that I just needed to take photos of. Like a coffee house named this is Our Coffee House. If I have the time in my remaining time here I will go in and have a look and maybe have a drink. After which I was off to RT Mart to meet another old friend. It was delightful seeing a new old friend after so many years. After lunch I returned to the apartment to have a small rest before venturing out once more with John, his mother and his daughter, to visit Holland Flower Sea. Now based on what I was told, The Holland Flower Sea had been opened for about a year. That the land that it sat on had been reclaimed from the farmers that had this field by the government for a small fee. As I walked around this place with John, his mother and his 4 year old daughter along with a friend of their daughter, and his grandmother (I believe). We started off just on the long entrance to the place. We parked the car at the entrance of the sea, and then we walked down the street to the actual entrance gate. After entering
Princess in new bag
Princess is taking a ride in the new camera bag. Which shows Where i am from, my favorite video game and one of the movies i like
we were greeted by a park employee, and friend of Johns. After speaking with her for a brief time we were off. My eyes had spotted a plane out in the open for display on the park side of the entrance. It was quickly decided that the children would have their picture taken with the plane. Then we headed for the market that sold an assortment of flowers and plants for gardens and the home. Spread through out the store were little cut outs with the face missing so the children could put their heads in the spot and the parents could take their photos. There was this one cut out that I just had to take my photo with. From DBZ, for those that enjoy anime would know the abbreviation of the TV show, Dragon Ball Z. As we exited the store I noticed some ways off a cathedral of sorts with all the markings of it including stained glass windows, but I will get to that place in due time.
We set off to the right, seeing the flowers that had already been planted and empty flower beds for flowers that have yet to have
been placed. Even here I saw signs of the flood and the damage caused by the typhoon. Some of the trees had been toppled and of course the flower beds as someone mentioned had to be redone in some of the areas. Also dotting the landscape along side the myriad of colored flowers were giant paired hearts. I can only assume this is a popular destination to have wedding photos done in this city. There were also cows and windmills throughout the flower sea. Along with these things near the front of this sea of tranquility were military crafts, well not real military crafts fake ones had been constructed for the purpose I assume was to give the children something to fawn over and be interested in and a photo op for the parents.
We finally made it back to the beginning of it all. We made it to the bridge which we had to cross to get to the cathedral. It was being refurbished or repaired. Work crews were fixing this small bridge to its original splendor. John had asked if it was possible to cross so we can see the splendor of the structure on
the other side. They agreed as long as we didn't disturb their work, which seemed fair. So we crossed the bridge and strolled over. Sadly, we couldn't get inside because the inside of this massive structure was also like other areas of the park were under construction. It was a worthwhile visit to the Holland Flower Sea in Defang and would recommend it to anyone if you are in the neighborhood. With seeing the park in its entirety we had returned to the car and drove back. I returned to my temporary apartment to rest and finish writing the day’s adventure. Day 4 of trip day 3 in Defeng.
With the the start of another sunny day in Defeng. I spent the morning lulling around the apartment. In the afternoon I had ventured downtown for lunch seeing the sites and sounds of small town China. After which I phoned and met another old friend from my first time here in Defang years ago, Rose. She had wanted to meet as soon as she had learned I was in town. So we met, she had ride her small electric bike from her home to where
I was. I thought nothing of it until I was actually on the death machine. I am not a light fella weighing in at 93kilos. I felt that if I had leaned back any further then I would have caused the bike to pop a wheelie and scare the crap out of Rose. Not to mention that this was a small thing. Small enough that if I stretched my legs down I would have literally felt the road under my feet. So off we went me holding on hoping we didn't crash or fall into any potholes (not that were many on the road, but a few). We had stopped of at the hospital to see one of her students who had broken his arm in two different places earlier in the day. He seemed ok considering he broke his arm in two places. After that we went to her home and met more students and ended up going out for a bite to eat since neither her nor her students had eaten lunch yet. The lunch was good, the students were eager to talk and ask questions. The most common was where I was from, what I liked to
do, why I came to China. The usual standard questions. It was fun. After that it was a bit of a blur until later when even more students had arrived for the reality simulation that was to take place. As the students started showing up they were surprised to see a foreigner there we started talked of course they asked questions, some I could see wanted to ask but were to shy, while others who over joyed. Once we were all ready, we were off to the races, it turned out when we got to our destination that we were to play laser tag. When the man in charge was demonstrating the proper usage of the equipment, I was the one he demonstrated on. So the students could actually see how to do it properly. We were split into 3 teams, I was part of team 3.my team didn't do so well, but the students really enjoyed themselves, and in my opinion that is what mattered. Children being able to be children every now and again.
The fun eventually had to end. We took off the equipment and piled back into the cars and vans that brought
us to the location and returned us to Roses home, where some of the parents were waiting to pick up their sons or daughters. It was a pleasant surprise for some to learn that a foreigner had been present for the activity. Ye seemed very happy and I impressed. As night fell upon us the twilight of the night sky twinkled with the stars shining dimly on us. After the last of the students had been picked up and delivered into her mothers warm embrace, we had departed for dinner ourselves. The dinner was fun, remember the times that I had been here before, and how things had changed between then and now, laughing at the small things. But the night wore on and we were getting tired so we decided to call it a night and went home. As the night wore down for myself I fell asleep early to wake for another day of exploration of Defang. Day 5 of trip Day 4 in Dafeng
Another wonderful day in Dafeng. Waking up early and doing the morning routine, I had met with two students and spoke with them for some time. In
the afternoon, John the two students and myself and taken a small trip to a church in the outskirts of the city. I had previously seen it on the way to see the Defang port earlier in my trip and wanted to see it. Considering that I haven’t been inside a church here in China since I had come to this country over 7 years ago. The thought of it intrigued me. As we approached the church I was informed that one of the students had a Chinese Bible at his home. Although, I respect everyone’s right to believe in whatever deity they wish to as long as they try to live a good and honorable life. One where they do not compromise their own morals and sense of decency. We had arrived at the church parking within walking distance of it. Outside the actual church itself there was some construction going on. John, had informed me that about a year or two ago, the local government had informed the church that they needed to move because they needed the land to build something there, a park I believe but don’t rightly remember. Then a change of mind, 6 months
ago the local government had told them that they could stay where they were and all were happy. Walking around the outside the church it kind of felt good, one elderly man approached us and allowed us into the main sanctuary of the church. As I entered it, I felt a calming presence wash over me for a brief moment. It was just odd being in a church after so long not attending one. Although I was invited to the mass the following day, I politely declined the invitation on grounds that I had to work the following day.
After returning from this visit, we had lunch then proceeded to have a small rest until 2pm that afternoon. At which time we were off to the Defang Milu Deer Nature Reserve. This reserve is meant to house a wide variety of deer from all over the world. Although spacious as it was we were only able to see about 3 maybe 4 herds of deers. There was of course construction going on even here. Not just construction but also clearing from the recent typhoon that hit the area. The cost of entry was 55RMB but also an
additional 15 to use the electric bus. Unless you were a local then all you had to do was show the card and you got into the place for free. Of course you still had to pay to use the electric bus system. Of course there were workers cleaning up the mess from the typhoon that had hit the area only early that week, as well as building new attractions for the park. Its not like they don’t have an over abundant work force. As we boarded the electrical bus for our tour and started this trip. I must admit I was both impressed and somewhat disappointed at the same time. Impressed at the vastness of it all at the work of the city government for putting this type of park together. I must give the people that work at this park and the nature conservatives here big thumbs up. The roads were winding as we approached the first herd of deer, although I didn’t get out of the bus to take some photos but I did take some photos of these beautiful and majestic creatures. The heard were around a watering hole while others of this heard where spread
out among a vast area. After a few moments we were off with the driver and seeing the beautiful landscape. At one point we had stopped and got out to see a small video about the park itself. The building beside this little cinema was another building about a photographer and former mayor of Defang. It seems some of the locals don’t hold this former mayor in high esteems, that they think he was a corrupt official. Of course none of these thoughts can be proven but it seems that is what some of the locals believe him to be. I walked around the studio with the shots of different animals different deers in different poses and in action in their natural habitat. Walking past this to a different area of the park. As we walked towards and up hill we walked past a group of people, of workers building and repairing a pagoda. These workers doing their jobs well some were restoring the pagoda while others were working on other projects near the pagoda on a building for what purpose I know not what. As we continued walking around the park we saw at one area where two of
the deers were kept in a caged area.
This entry is not yet finished once it is I will add to it, but please enjoy what I have written so far.
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