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.
And this is how they make their way to the concession storage hut. More backbreaking work.
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.
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!)
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?
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!
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?
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.
But Geoff’s favourite was this finger puppet. (Ed. note: Terry found it quite disturbing)
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.
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:
- I apologize for the poor quality of the video, but it matched the quality of the performance.
- 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.
- 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!
- AND WE PAID FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE – WASTRELS, SQUANDERERS, THAT’S WHO WE ARE!
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:
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.
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 feel badly, but it’s not my fault I have packed on a little beef since the wedding” or
- “This wasn’t my gown, but damn it, I want my picture taken in red”