Xiamen, Fujian – Part 2

We left you the other day with Geoff demonstrating his Canada Cares persona, pushing the loads of sand up the huge hills of Gulang Yu. From there it was up to Sunlight Rock – the highest point on the island from where, on a clear day, you could likely see Taiwan. However, it is likely that Taiwan has not been visible since, oh, 1934 or so. There are three hundred steps plus a number of gentle inclines to get from the entrance to the park to the top. There were some older people climbing, but it was generally a 62 and under crowd. Remember how we told you there were no cars etc. on the island? Well once you get halfway up to the peak, there are a number of small concessions which serve hot dogs, water and pop. Now, the first step is to get that stuff from the ferry dock to the park entrance on the carts like these which carried the sand – which is all uphill.

Looks a little saggy in the middle

It’s the getting started…

And this is how they make their way to the concession storage hut. More backbreaking work.

The strain on his face is a little obvious.

The strain on his face is a little obvious. Have you ever lifted just ONE of those cases of water? Let alone two AND two cases of large bottles of soda.

Once they get here, they turn around and effectively just drop them. Pity the guy who gets there first, as he has to squat. down.

Once they get here, they turn around and effectively just drop them. Pity the guy who gets there first, as he has to squat down.

I don't think this was originally designed to store water and pop!

I don’t think this was originally designed to store water and pop!

At this point we were pretty much exactly half way up the stairs, if not the the total altitude we climbed – 156 steps down, 144 to go.

Terry approaching step 220.

Terry approaching step 220.

Well, I guess we have been to Xiamen

Well, I guess we have been to Xiamen

Our destination - just have to defeat the throngs!

Our destination – we just have to defeat the throngs!

Perhaps this should have been titled “Getting Up The Last Twelve Stairs at Sunlight Rock is No Mean Feat!” (Ed. note: The abrupt ending was caused by the videographer being jostled and only seeing the ground below him.)

Once you get to the top, the view is quite spectacular.

(Ed. note: Is this just another example of that gratuitous Italy/China comparison thing? Get over it!)

The photo is good - the subject is beautiful.

The photo is good – the subject is beautiful.

From the top we began the descent and meander back to the ferry. Our first stop, however was for lunch at The Silly Girl Cafe and Hotel, a very funky spot. Geoff enjoyed a really good spaghetti and meat sauce lunch and Terry indulged in chicken with chilies – or was that chilies with chicken?

Now I'm not saying there were too many chilies on that plate, but I do think that maybe they matched the grains of rice one for one.

Now I’m not saying there were too many chilies on that plate, but I do think that maybe they matched the grains of rice one for one.

If I had known that all that sand had been to make this kid a sand box, I’m not sure I would have helped!

Hey kid, that's MY sand.

Hey kid, that’s MY sand.

As previously mentioned, the island is car-free. It is a tourist destination/trap. It is hilly. It was 80 degrees F. (Ed. note: Well noted, Wendy!) Why would these two choose to wear A) the boots with the brass toes, and B) a black velvet dress and high black boots?

They may not be steel toed but...

They may not be steel toed but…

That's her fella 10 paces ahead. The purple umbrella is fetching, though, isn't it.

That’s her fella 10 paces ahead. The purple umbrella is fetching, though, isn’t it.

We spent a great deal of time, energy and walking trying to find the puppet museum and the
Huangrong Yuantang Mansion. Sadly, we eventually found them. First, the tickets were 118 RMB each ($40. for the two). This is because not only do you get a (10 minute) puppet show, you get to see (and/or buy) puppets from the past and present.

The puppets costumes were incredibly detailed.

Their faces were quite grotesque – not something you might want little children to see.

Their faces where also quite grotesque - not something you might want little children to see.

Their costumes were incredibly detailed, however.

But Geoff’s favourite was this finger puppet. (Ed. note: Terry found it quite disturbing)

Demented Donald Duck

Demented Donald Duck

You also get to go in to the 100 year old fully restored mansion across the lane and see all sorts of interesting artifacts, all described in great detail in Chinese. Now, when the Chinese tour that comes in after you and leaves before you – and they can read the information, you must wonder about the quality of the museum/mansion. Having said that, I found these two photographs quite interesting. The first is self-explanatory and the second was one in a series which depicted the state of the mansion after it had been deserted for a while and before it was restored.

Check out the nationality of the guard.

Check out the nationality of the guard.

I was quite taken with a forlorn sense of loss this portrayed

I was quite overwhelmed with a forlorn sense of loss in this photograph.

We have saved the very best for last, however. Right after the (10 minute) puppet show, many of the audience (maybe 25 people) raced upstairs to get good seats for the next performance. We looked at some puppets and then followed, assuming another puppet show. Please ignore the beep beep in the middle of the 30 second video. Fortuitously, the battery was going.

Now three points:

  1. I apologize for the poor quality of the video, but it matched the quality of the performance.
  2. After waiting for about 15 minutes for it to start, we had to wait for another 15 minutes before some Chinese folks left so we too could make a graceful, mid-performance exit.
  3. Although you can’t really hear much of the singer, Terry thought that if she was the best of the four then Oh Lord, how bad must the other three be!
  4. AND WE PAID FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE – WASTRELS, SQUANDERERS, THAT’S WHO WE ARE!

Wedding Mania

Once again we were witness to the trials and tribulations of Chinese brides. You may remember the photos from Shanghai. Gulang Yu is also a favoured destination, apparently. Now we have not described the ride over from Xiamen to Gulang Yu, but trust me, it is a feat to survive. Geoff felt you could very well have read about our drowning due to the overcrowded ferry and the ten minute crossing. One would think that the brides would carry their gowns etc across and get changed there. Think again, grasshopper. They arrive on the island in all their splendour and regalia. Here are some examples:

A lovely couple - the trick was to get the passersby to stop long enough to get the photo taken

A lovely couple – the trick was to get the passersby to stop long enough to get the photo taken

They were having a great deal of fun - the photographer was trying to do some "arty" things.

They were having a great deal of fun – the photographer was trying to do some “arty” things. Do you think the groom might be a tad underdressed. though?

Even I wouldn't want to cross her

Even I wouldn’t want to cross her…

...which is maybe why he was wearing this ...uh...tie?

…which is maybe why he was wearing this …uh…tie?

I trust this photo on a rock won't lead to a rocky relationship. LOL

I trust this photo on a rock won’t lead to a “rocky” relationship. LOL

And under that beautiful gown is a woman with wonderful common sense - and pink flip flops!

And under that beautiful gown is a woman with wonderful common sense – and pink flip flops!

Hey - a guy can look demure too, can't he?

Hey – a guy can look demure too, can’t he?

This young woman had a great sense of humour. She smiled, laughed and flashed us the big V as she ran toward us, barefoot and carrying the killer heels.

This young woman had a great sense of humour. She smiled, laughed and flashed us the big V as she ran toward us, barefoot and carrying the killer heels. (Hey, there’s those flip flops again.)

And finally in Wedding Mania there was this beautiful bride in her lovely gown. Pay no attention to the guy in the southern US chain gang suit.

For a different angle of her gown, see the photo after The Shoe - forgot to put it in.

For a different angle of her gown, see the photo after The Shoe – forgot to put it in.

The Shoe

The amazing thing about this woman was the speed at which, at the end of the day, she was motoring. They must have been extensions of her legs.

I could not have moved in running shoes as fast as she was going.

I could not have moved in running shoes as fast as she was going.

Now either

  1. “I feel badly, but it’s not my fault I have packed on a little beef since the wedding” or
  2. “This wasn’t my gown, but damn it, I want my picture taken in red”

    There are no words

    There are no words… (Ed. note: except maybe “Like the fraying?”)

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