Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Guest Blog #5 - Mark's Parents

Ok, we received a quick e-mail from my folks once they got themselves settled in up in Beijing - the following is their next post:

We thought today would be a quiet day with nothing to write about, but as one travels, you learn there are always interesting things to share.

We began the day at a breakfast coffee place in the Ex Pat area of Xiamen.This was so Charlie could get a "western" breakfast. Mark and Tina had prepared him french toast for two mornings but this was a breakfast out where he actually got what he ordered and he enjoyed it.

We all went to the airport together as Mark & Tina were leaving for Shanghai for business on a flight one hour after ours.

There is a three day mourning period for the quake victims. This means only the news on TV, no entertainment type shows, and no entertainment such as concerts, opera, circus performances, etc. The Chinese flag is at half mast and we understand this is the first time this has happened for the citizens. Usually the flag at half mast is only for dignitaries. There is also 3 minutes of silence at 2:30 pm on each of these days. As this was announced on the airplane, the stewardesses stood in the aisles with heads bowed, and everyone respected this moment.

We finally met up with our tour guide, Amy, after some confusion at the Beijing airport. We came thru a domestic gate and she was at the international gate. We had given the tour group the flight info from Xiamen and they had assumed that was a connecting flight from Singapore.

Amy will be with us for this part of the tour (Wednesday thru Friday) and we are the only ones in the group! The ride into the hotel took about an hour and she shared lots of interesting facts:

  • Girls are named after colors, flowers, etc and boys are named after strong images such as lion, tiger.
  • The family name is the most important and is always given first in an introduction.
  • The newly planted trees and flowers along the roadways were done because the Olympic committee told the city, when they were being considered, that everything was too gray.
  • There are an average of 850 cars added daily into the city but there are also 9 million bicycles.
  • She said you really have to watch out for the bikes as they go whenever and where ever they want. Some areas we passed had a separate curbed off section of the road just for them. The city has also tried building roadways just for buses, but that idea is not working out as planned.
  • The Chinese people tend to push their way in and do not understand standing in an orderly line. But at the city's bus stops, there is an attempt to teach them the concept. There is an uniformed man with a flag whose job is to get them into single file for the buses.

These are just some quick first impressions.

Charlie is happy with the hotel choice and the excellent dinner buffet choices. All for today.



Anonymous said...

Hi Mark and Tina,

I enjoyed reading your blog! Very interesting and informative. I will be stopping by Xiamen for 3 to4 days this summer on an Asian trip. I have some Chinese friends in Xiamen whom I want to visit. Can you give me recommendation for a hotel in Xiamen that is close to Xiamen University and that is accceptable for most Americans? Any good Western restaurants?


Tina said...

Hi Matt

Sorry for the delay but having issues with my system. Anyway, a good hotel is the Millenium Hotel which is about a 5 minute cab ride to the university. Also, there is the Golf Hotel by the beach which is also close to the university.

As for Western restaurants, go by the Marco Polo area, and you will see a good handful of places to eat. I would suggest you try some of the local restaurants as they are less expensive and very good.

You can always email us, and we would be happy to help you. Enjoy your stay in China.