So it’s Monday 3rd November morning, 9.49am in Xiamen and I am currently sat in a shopping district with this view.
After getting a public bus all by myself without panicking (go me!) bright and early, on arrival it was clear that shops weren’t open yet. Luckily for me I had purchased a pork bun and caramel centred cake thing so I decided to sit on the curb (next to two guys doing the same) to have a bite to eat before seeking out a coffee shop. Whilst doing this I noticed a few more disapproving stares from locals than usual… Why are they looking at me? Is it frowned upon for a female to be sat on the floor? Am I really in a non-touristy area where westerners are not seen? Or could it be the gravy running down my chin and on my jeans as I was eating my pork bun. Darn it!!!! This isn’t a very good start to the day.
Anywho, I’m sat here now ready for some blogging and reflecting on my weekend here in Xiamen….
On the Friday Kerrie took me to the mall to find clothes – it’s getting hotter and I seriously need some vest tops for South East Asia. Annoyingly for me, I’m no size 8 so its hard to find lose fitting travel clothes and here (as everyone is teeny tiny) even though it’s roasting they only sell jumpers and long sleeved tops. Luckily Kerrie and I are the same dress size so it’s just like uni again being able to borrow her clothes! After an unsuccessful shopping trip Kerrie had an afternoon of lessons so I just chilled in a coffee shop to read and Skype Jake.
On this day it was also Halloween and we had bought tickets to an outdoors event that evening, but knowing that China doesn’t celebrate this I had no idea what to expect, how many people would be going and would people would get dressed up? Before this point, other than Kerrie and her friends I hadn’t seen a single other westerner. But suprisingly the party was very cool and very busy (like a rave but a bit more toned down) I think the venue was a college yard. As we wondered around there were stalls go get henna and your face painted, you could play angry birds with a giant catapult or buy drinks and food. Also in one room there was a band playing ‘Ghost town’, ironically written about Coventry where Kerrie and I met! It was a nice night – not too crazy and I was able to speak to more people and see all the cool costume efforts. We ended the night eating bbq street food – which definitely beats your standard kebab in the UK!
The following day we headed towards the temples on the other…
Hang on a second.
As I write this a mother has just plonked her baby beside me to wee ON the bench I’m sat on. There is now a puddle that’s moving towards me. Nice! I’m glad I got to witness this – this happens a lot, children just wee everywhere. I’m just lucky it wasn’t on me because this often also happens and it seems to be no big deal.
Anyways, we headed to the temples on the other side of the city. Walking up to it I thought it’s just going to be another pretty temple. I’ve seen quite a lot of these now but as we wondered through you could start climbing up a mountain. We didn’t go very far up but it was different from what I’d seen previously and one of the best to explore because there were a few different routes up and a few suprising little finds a long the way.
Following this we went to Xiamen University to have a look around. Apparently its has the most beautiful campus in China. Sadly I didn’t take many pictures (it was boiling hot!!) but the campus had a bit of a New York feel in regards to buildings and Halls, and in the centre was a lake. We wondered over to a tunnel which contained graffiti the students had done and it was truly incredible as there was so many different works of art as the tunnel went on for a loooong time.
For dinner that night we had something totally new… it was fish cooked in a chilli oil soup – tasted similar to the hot pot I had in Chengdu but I really enjoyed this.