Friday, October 31, 2008

Xiamen Markets and other Fun - Guest Blogger

Well today is a new day, Tina and I are off to Tai Chi. Mark's working from home and will be looking after DOD (our dear ol' Dad) this morning. Since the day is off to a slow start for dad, he was curious for about breakfast. Since Wichmann B&B doesn't include breakfast he wasn't sure where his morning 'grub' was coming from. Luckily, he brought groceries for Tina and Mark from Canada.

Tai Chi is a wonderfully slow excercise. It is energizing and meditative. Tai Chi has the ability to strengthen muscles you never knew you had. Flexibility is also a benefit. Tai Chi is a total mind, body and spirit excercise and it a lifelong endeavour. It is especially invigorating when done outside in nature. We finished and headed back to the apartment.

We gathered our belongings and headed for lunch and a small 'walk'. Tina and Mark took us back to the local market and walk through the different alleys. A total culture shock. When you have done these alleys you really didn't know whether to feel guilty or sad. An unbelievable way of life! The alleys are wide enough for only 1 person, so single file we go. These people have a very simple life and poor. The real ironic part is -when you look up you see the new highrises. According to Tina and Mark, eventually these old sections of town are being slowly demolished to make way for the new. Part of our alley tour gave Dad a real eye opener. Dad and Mark went down their own 'special' alley. In other words, the women would be 'cramping their style.' As we were going through the alleys we couldn't help but laugh. We met up with the men and heard their story. Let just say, they (according the them) were lucky to get out in one piece! Ya, Ya,.............

Next came our shopping, I did manage to pick a small Samsonite for $40, thanks to Mark and he's bartering. The price of the case started at 480RMB and ended up at 280RMB. Just divide the amount by 7 to give you the dollars.

We arrived back at the apartment and Tina made up be real quiet as not to disturb Mark. So that's what we did. Our next stop was for a foot massage. Dad was so excited. This time around it was painful. My guy hit all the right spots. He must have found all the tense /stress spots. Wow! It hurt. The funny thing about a foot massage here in China is the masseuse also works on the your back. Boy that was even more painful! My masseuse found all the right spots, again.... I thought for sure I was going to fall off my chair. Oddly, the discomfort I had to endure was gone in no time when he was finished. Now it was time to head home.

We arrived again at the apartment, so we could pickup Mark for dinner when he was finished his work. Again, Tina told us to keep quiet as Mark was working. So we waited. We didn't want to disturb him, so we were quiet as as mouse. We waited. Basically, we just relaxed again. Not me, I am told to write this blog. So like a good sister I did. Now, it was time to get Mark and go for dinner. If you know Tina and Mark's place its not that big. Its a 2 bedroom apartment. Really nice and really, really spacious. It must be, since Tina couldn't find Mark. She didn't realize he was gone. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? Anyway, we headed out for dinner.

A local restaurant called 'Good Taste'. Quite an interesting meal. In the middle of your table is a gas burner. The idea of the meal is to order assorted dishes to cook. The pot has a basic stock - ours was fish and from there you add your own indgredients. Tina ordered for us, which also included live prawns. The prawns are added to your boiling pot. I just didn't have the heart. One thing about China, all their food is fresh. I mean alive and kickin'. For me, it would take some getting use to. We have been lucky, we really enjoyed the food. There really is no alternative. It seems any Western type food will cost you more and Tina and Mark wouldn't take us there anyway.

We loved the food, and went back to the apartment to retire for the evening.

(As a side note, I had told Tina that I would most likely be heading out in the afternoon to visit a vendor for work. I did also send a text message to her, while they were being quiet waiting, telling her to just go out and eat without me - I think she just wanted to enjoy her family being quiet.... I did manage to finish and come home by 19:00 so that I could enjoy more family time.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Farewell to Xiamen and China - Guest Blogger

(Our guest blogger is a little behind in telling all the stories, we think she really enjoyed writing these and felt the need to stretch them out as much as she could, but we are actually going to post them out of order - you get her farewell post today, the day everyone actually left - and then we will return to the few remaining posts that Karen wrote while everyone was still here.)

Well its our last day. Its about 2:00 am and everyone is asleep, well except Mark and Tina. I still hear them yakking' in their room. I thought I would complete this blog now since I know Tina will hound to death me until it is done. I am sure the hours prior to our leaving for the airport will be hectic.

Our trip has been amazing! Our thanks to Mark and Tina. We have seen sights we would never have seen had we been on our own. Sights from the large city of Beijing to the country side Guilin. From the small villages in the mountains to the alley ways of Xiamen. Thanks to Tina and Mark, for we would not have enjoyed the experiences we did without their humour and patience. From the foot massages, the shoe shines and Dad's experience through the 'special' alley. To the many Chinese people we have met along the way, thank you for your curiosity, helpfulness and hospitality. We now have stories for many Christmas' to come. Thank you, Tina and Mark for a once in a lifetime experience. I can't wait to see and visit your next destination. Thank you Siew for the wonderful dinners and your friendship. Siew best of luck in Malaysia. Thank you Yih for the 'hairy crabs' and your friendship.

I do want to say one thing, anyone who has an interest in visiting China, leave your fears home. Our experience has shown us that any preconceived ideas of this country is unfounded. What we think of China and its people is a waste of energy. We didn't have problems with the smog, the smoking, or the food. In fact, we hardly encountered any of these problems. The Chinese people are a curious bunch, an attentive bunch and a very respectful and entertaining bunch. They love to learn and love to help anyone who is willing to try their way. Yes, their way of doing things is somewhat different and sometimes unexpected. They as a culture are learning as our culture once did. It only takes one step at a time. As a visitor you must go with the flow. Once you've figured that out, than you'll have a lifetime of memories and a helluva good time! We are indeed each others brother.

Mark and Tina, thanks again for the memories and we will be see in you two in about 6 weeks for Christmas. Thanks for our accommodations at the Wichmann B (No 2nd B ) I know we were booked on the 'budget' tour,but Tina I'm still looking for my hat!!

Well that's it. It's time to say good bye to China.

Willie, Brenda, Greg, Jenna and Brent we are on our way back home! We miss you and look for to seeing you all soon! We are also looking forward to seeing the kids, Scruff and Tina.
Tina, (sister) my job is finally done!!! I gladly had over the reins to your next guest.

Mark and Tina enjoy life and thanks again for a wonderful time. Bless you both.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday by the Beach

This is a new day and we aren't starting the day as briskly as we had hoped. Once we got our selves all sorted out, we were on our way. We walked through part of the market and went looking for a bank. Yesterday's shopping proved to be quite an experience and has somewhat drained our pockets. Once we left the bank we headed for the beach. Actually, we headed to Hulishan, where the largest cannon in the world is pointed at Tawian. An impressive piece of armament. It took 5 years to build and it virtually impregnable. This Krupp made cannon weighs about 60 tonnes and was installed in 1896.

Once we finished looking around we began walking along the beach's boardwalk. The beaches were alive with all sorts of people. There were young brides getting there pictures taken, vendors selling their wares and people just enjoying the sun and water. As we walked I was enjoying the landscape with its large rocks situated just where our creator had placed them. It seemed these rocks were positioned in the just right spot. To me the placement of these rocks were an invitation to sit and just to soaked up the the surroundings. Maybe next time.

As we continued on the came to the end of the boardwalk and now heading to You and Me 2. Yep! A bar. It sounds like we've done a lot of drinking on this trip, we'll you would be right. The beer here in China is only 3% alcohol. So its not really that bad (that's my story and I'm stickin' to it). Actually, China pushes the beer. I saw an ad for pizza and it comes with beer! They deliver too!! Tell me where you can find this service in Canada. While at You and Me2 we met some nice people and really enjoyed ourselves. The weather has been wonderful for us especially at night. The weather during the day its been hot and humid. Once we finished with at You and Me 2 we headed toward a restaurant for some seafood. Again, the food was delicious and we enjoyed it very much.

This is it for this day.

Back home

We're back at 'home', in Xiamen. Amazingly, the flight from Guilin seemed to go really quick. Its too bad, since we has great seats. Lots of leg room.

We came back to the Wichmann B&B and dropped off our stuff and picked up Mark. We really missed him. So off went for dinner. It was Korean where they BBQ at the table. The beauty of the bbqing is that it's done in front you. From there we went a drinkin'. A cute little 'hole in the wall' for maybe 7 people (if you're lucky). More beer!! Willie you are really going to enjoy this country. Back to the B&B we go.

It Saturday, and a great day!!!! Its time to shop. Off we go to Gulang Yu! Interestingly enough, you don't have to pay for the ferry ride over, yet you do have to pay on the way back. If you want first class seating you pay a little extra. A ferry ride of 8 min. ( I think.) Tina won the bet, by default , Mark gave up trying to time the ride. We wandered and wandered and wandered. Finally our guide let us rest and have a beer. This little island is quite nice and a great place to discover. The beaches are peaceful. In the distance you can see the boats, boats and boats. Large and small. Quite fascinating are the large steam liners that are filled with containers going for the west. ( I think) Greg, remember the show we saw, just like it. I wondered if the captain would meet up with some pirates. We continued on to do more sight seeing.

Some history ....
This little island was once an area used by foreign dignitaries. At that time outsiders were not allowed in mainland China.

Now it was time shop! That was fun. Tina knows all the good spots. It helped that Tina knew some of the merchants as we got some great bargains. It seemed like Christmas, for we received free gifts. I am sure Tina is a great economic supporter of Gulang Yu. Now it was time to go home. Back to Xiamen and we go shrimping.

Meaning, we had to fish for our dinner. Luckily, we could order our food. The 5 shrimps that were caught couldn't sustain cat. Our great fishermen were DOD with 3, Ben (Siew's son) 1 and Christel with 1. The rest of us enjoyed our beers and did a lot of yakking. This took about an hour and we went to order our dinner, which much easier. From there we went to Temptations and enjoyed some nice wine and great conversation. Tina had left for a few minutes and came back with some fruit. We sampled persimmon (really good), custard apple r(really tasty and mice texture), durian (ugh..really stinky and a taste you had to get used) Sorry Sue, (her favourite), magosteen (quite tasty but not much meat to it), Chinese apple (a little drier that our royal galas).

Talked, drank, ate and left!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guilin Part l

Now for our Guilin tour. What a beautiful countryside!!! The hour and a half flight from Xiamen to Guilin was pretty uneventful. Our guide picked us up and we travelled to our hotel.

Our tour in Guilin included the rice fields of Ping' An home of the Yoa and Zhuang people. To see the rice up close we had to climb 'big mountain', which was about 500 steps. The further up we went, the more pictures were taken, the scenery was beautiful. Although, it was a cloudy day, we were able to get the feel for the area. Up we go. I'll tell you these people have the art of commercialism down to a science. As we continued, we were able to walk through the village and actually see the people at work and going about their business. I managed to go 3/4 of the way while everyone else went to the top. I figured I had nothing to prove, so I sat and soak in the atmosphere. Mind you, it didn't take long for the others to come back. On our descend we stop in at a restaurant and enjoyed the local cuisine and hospitality. Dad was a big hit and luckily the ladies knew how to speak some English. With Dad's English and their English they hit it off pretty good. We have been pleasantly surprised that the food we have eaten so far has been quite tasty. Although for dad, not much in the way of dessert, particularly cake. Yet, he has been quite taken by the beer, only because Jagermeister is hard to find. As we continued to descend we did some shopping before returning back to Guilin.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped off at a Tea farm, where a tea ceremony was performed. A variety of teas were sampled and enjoyed. We purchased some wild green tea picked from the mountains.

Our next quick stop was, you'll never guess........ a foot message! Dad was pretty happy about that.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Guest Blog - Trip to Xingan

The next day took us to Xingan to see the Ling Canal. This Canal has an origin of 2000 years, (Qin Dynasty). In its day it it sounds as though it quite a monumental piece of engineering. Today, a winding river. If you've ever watched the cartoon 'The Flinstones', the episode where they travel to the Grand Canyon, you'll understand. This episode featrured Fred and the gang in awe of a large 'rock', compared to its grandeur landscape of today. We toured the canal by boat and at the end toured the village of 'Jiuwu' and it people.This villaage dates back to the Ming dynasty about 600 years.

Ling Canal

Villaga of Xingan
Ling Canal

Jiuwu Village

Jiuwu Village

From the village of Jiuwu we travelled to Yangshou and stayed the night there. Here we were able to see a spectalular show on the Li river (along with 5000 other people). If you saw the Olympic Opening ceremonies this year you'll get some idea of the special effects. Actually it was director for both shows.
Our next day took us down the Li river. Again, the views were spectacular and breathtaking. This day was a wet day, as it rained most of the way and the boat was only a half covered boat. We had made it to the end of our run and about to turn around,when our driver couldn't get the small bamboo boat start. He tried and he tried, to no avail couldn't get it started. At this point Dad got into the act. He also tried and managed to get almost started it and again not much happening. The driver tried again and this time managed to get it get it started. Off we go, soaked and all. Once we got back to our van we definitely had the driver turn on the heat. Now we are heading back to the airport to catch our flight to Xiamen. Our drive back included a drive through the mountains, a dirt, narrow and winding road. It was off the beaten path and it was worth it.

Li River
Local women washing clothes
Dad helping the boat driver

The road less travelled

We truly enjoyed this trip, wet and all.

Return of the Guest Blogger...

We are back from Guilin and what a beautiful countryside. I'll let you know about this area later. We've finished our sightseeing in Beijing and now we are onto our next destination. Xiamen. Here we will stay at Wichmann Bed and Breakfast, hold off on the breakfast. Actually, we had to bring our own from Canada. Accommodations are pleasant, extra space was converted into a bedroom. I have the luxury of a portable bed (better known as an air mattress) with an extra feature of an instant wake up call. Basically, once I hit the floor I have to get up. Its not all bad, I can look forward to breakfast?????

Today is a relaxing day according to our hostess, I thought maybe we would just hang around. Nope. Actually, we had to look for a bank. Banks are a little different over here, instead of waiting in line for a teller, you have to take a number and wait. And wait. And wait. Luckily, you have nice seats to wait on.
Tina mentioned a foot massage today. I was looking forward to this as this will be a real treat for me. My concern was dad. According to him, it is a waste of money and time. If you knew DOD (dear ol' dad) he tells it like it is and doesn't stop until you are convinced. He was pretty much convinced that a massage was pretty much a useless endeavor. He thinks that a massage is an extravagance. He really had no say at time. His arguing and bitchin' would prove to be waste of energy on his part. We are now finished with the bank and on our way to lunch. We met up with Siew (Mark and Tina's friend) and enjoyed nice lunch at a crocodile farm.
Now it is time for the massage. Yep, he's still yapping. If you knew Tina, she basically said "enough already sit down and enjoy." We all sat and waited. First, large vessels with water to wash our feet. We're still hearing DOD's "2 cents" . Once our feet were washed the conversations were becoming less animated and more relaxing. Now the fun part, the massage. First, the back. I could say that is was really relaxing and exhilarating, but I won't. It was painful. I didn't realize how tense the muscles were. I did hear a lot of 'ughh' , 'oh, my God, this hurts', 'wow they've got strong fingers' and that was just from Tina. Actually, everyone felt the pain. Next came the feet, this was really painful. Again, all of painful comments. Again, they came from Tina. The real funny part was not a PEEP from DOD!!!! He was just enjoying himself. He was really getting into the message.
After an hour we were done. We really did feel rejuvenated and wonderful. We then parted from Sue and took a cab back to our Wichmann B&B. The first question out of my dear Dad's mouth was 'when are we going to have our next foot message??? Go figure. So far I heard this question a least once a day. So we'll see.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Beijing Tours

Alright, it looks like you'll all need to wait another day before someone in Tina's family steps up and does another guest post. Apparently they had a long day today and can't get into the right frame of mind for writing to the masses....

But at least we are all back home in Xiamen , and I figured that I'd fill in a little more of our time in Beijing. Karen had mentioned that we toured the Olympic areas, so I figured that I'd throw in a couple of quick photos from that for you.

Bird's Nest
Christel, our guide, Gottfried, Me and Karen with the Water Cube in the background.

The other little tour that we took was a cyclo ride, because they don't have rickshaws, through the hutongs. The hutongs are the old housing areas, narrow streets and courtyards and tiny family houses, but they have done a lot of work lately in restoring them and opening them up to tours. Tina and I feel that the local alleys here in Xiamen provide a better feel for how the locals are living....
Row of cyclos
Christel and Gottfried in the cyclo.

It was a good tour, and fun just to get peddled around for a few hours before we headed to the airport and flew back to Xiamen. Fun was had by all...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Filler Post

Sorry, no great guest blogger post today and for once I don't really have much to say. Lately I've been traveling back and forth for work, last week up to Shanghai, then a quick break over the weekend to spend time with Tina's family in Beijing, and this week I've been in the southern part of Taiwan. If I had any photos that were of something other than the inside of a factory and old molding tools I'd at least post them for you....

Since I was going to be gone all week, Tina shuffled her touring plans and took her family off to Guilin for this week. They knew that they would not be posting while they were off touring, so Karen was nice enough to put in a couple of posts ahead of time. However, actually seeing China got in the way and all she completed before they left were the posts that finished with yesterdays story about being on the wall.

We will both be back in Xiamen tomorrow so hopefully we can get this back up and filled with good enjoyable stories and some photos. I know that our guests had some stories that they wanted to share about their first day in Xiamen, but I'm guessing that those may get bumped for stories from their recent trip. We should see tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 3

Welcome to day 3 of our Chinese vacation. We woke to a cloudy day and it look as though it was going to rain. We had breakfast (what a variety) and waited for our tour guide. No not Mark, a real guide. Today was going to be the tour of the Great Wall and the Olympic venues. The great wall is an amazing piece of wonder and with its history an impressive piece of engineering. I can understand where the great artists get their inspiration after soaking in the Great Wall and it atmosphere.

A bit of history – The Great Wall was built in shorter pieces in the 5th century. This was used to defend the smaller states from its enemies. The first Qyn emperor who unified china linked and extended the walls as a protection from other nomadic tribes. It was originally built by slave labor and considered the longest grave site in the world; many of its build were buried where they fell. Most people go to the badling area to see the wall. Not us, we went to mutianyu which is approximately 70 k from Beijing. This area isn’t as touristy as the rest, but there were still a lot of people. We took cable car up to the other sections and walk other sections of the wall. We had 90 minutes to wonder and enjoy the breathtaking views. From there we had lunch and again a lot of food.

The Olympic venues were our next stop where we visited the water cube and birds nest. Again, there were a lot of people. We were not allowed to visit inside the venues.

They then drove us to the market where the designer knock offs are. There was nothing we really we wanted so we left and went for dinner.

Since Peking Duck is Beijing’s specialty dish we had to try it. We were all somewhat full from lunch, we still managed to eat ½ a duck. It really is delightful dish. Tina tells me I can finish this part of the blog now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 2 - China tour

Its day 2 and we’re off to see the sites. After a great breakfast, we followed our resident Chinese ‘expats’ (Tina and Mark). Off we go to the Forbidden City and Tiamennan square. I am really looking forward to these sites.

Every time I asked Mark how far we were – ‘half way’ was his answer. Everywhere, was ‘half way’!! I learned quickly to accept only ‘half’ his word. Mind you, I learned from Tina a long time ago that everywhere is ‘around the corner.’

We finally made to our destination. I couldn’t believe all the ‘#$%&’ people. I swear half of Asia was there. Needless to say, we weren’t that interested in going into these sites. So off we go again to another site, ‘Summer Palace’. This time we went by subway. Our guide (Mark) did a splendid job. In the subway we went upstairs, downstairs, transfer line here, transfer line there. DOD (dear ol’ Dad) asked the magic question…. How far? Guess what our guide told them? You guessed it – ‘halfway’.

We made it and none too soon. DOD was starting to grumble. Once he saw the Summer Palace things were looking up. He seemed to be interested.

This time we did steps, steps and more steps. It was quite impressive; the work done at the time must have been quite backbreaking. The artwork is amazing and quite intricate.

Some history on the summer Palace – it only opened to public in 1925. Its 717 acres and ¾ of it is water. It was original built in the 12 century and expanded in 1860 by the British / French army. It was rebuilt and then badly damage by foreign powers. Then restored in 1903. The imperial court lived here from April 15 to October 15 and only those invited were able to stay.

From the summer palace went by taxi to lunch. Our guide now has ideas of his own. He was determined to locate a restaurant for DOD and Christel. A restaurant specializing in German cuisine. Now, I know why we took the subway earlier on. We walked and walked and walked and yep, walk some more. He was like a dog with a bone – bound and determined to find this restaurant, whether or not we ended up going in circles.

We managed to find a bar area and our guide let us rest. Once we got our energy back we were off and walking again…… Now Mark is determined, he’s rested. Our journey begins again and this time we went around the block. As time went by we had to go for another beer. This time a place called the Blue Frog. Beijing is really growing up. Large stores, and more bars. Our ‘guide’ is now asking the owner of the Blue frog where the “Drei Kronen”, finally….. He knew the area and explained where he thought we had to go. So now we know the area where it should be. Specifics, not yet, so ask, again we did. Two young ladies did there best to help us.

You know what? Let’s take a cab. One thing I learned about the Chinese is…..don’t confuse them because you won’t get anywhere. Since were 5 of us we would have to take 2 cabs. Mark and I took one cab, and Tina, Dad & Christel took another. Mark and I went first. Off we go. Mark told the cab the area and not even 2 min. the cab stopped and told us to get out. He doesn’t know where it is. Thank God the other 3 hadn’t gone. So back we go. We all met up again and once again we begin our search. Here we go a walkin’….. I think by dumb luck we found it!!! We finally found the Drei Kronen. There we sat and ate and drank. Dad was in his element, yakking to all the young women, especially those that spoke German. As time wore on tiredness crept in and Dad started walking around and ended up at a game with a bunch of patrons. I’m not sure what the game is called. It seemed as though it was like air shuffleboard. He did manage to win a game and make new friends. He did have one fellow who wanted to buy him a drink but DOD refused. It was time to go back to the hotel. Two taxis we took and again Mark and I shared a cab and again the cabby didn’t know where to go. Actually, he took up to the wrong hotel (a real nice one). It did work out and we ended up where we were suppose to. The others also had a problem with directions and they did end up back where they were supposed to.

Monday, October 20, 2008

off we go

The day finally arrived and the three of us are heading to China. The 14 hour flight from Toronto to China would prove to be interesting. Although we pre-booked our seats, (an aisle seat for each) we ended up with an aisle, middle and a window seat. Oh great! We did settle in and now waited for take off. Our aircraft included our own entertainment system. No more looking over someone’s large head to see a movie half way up the aircraft. This system had some great features such as assorted TV programs, XM radio stations, movies etc…. What a bonus! Oh yes, and did I mention this was a new aircraft! The flight crew were nice, Captain seemed nice, (I have to say this, he is the one in charge) and a plane load of passengers. The takeoff went well and we are now in the air. I am really looking forward to my earphones. They came and eagerly I plugged them in. I unplugged them and plugged them in. Unplugged and plugged them in. Yep, you guessed it. Houston’ we have a problem. No sound. Needless to say, there were other who had the problem. The flight attendants tried and tried and to no avail our system was not to be. Thank you Nintendo! The rest of the flight proved to be uneventful. Beijing here we come. All went well through customs.

It was nice to see Tina and Mark, and our tour guide. Our next stop the hotel. What a huge city this Beijing. We are getting our first taste of China’s rush hour. Unbelievable!!!! Organized chaos. Vehicles are everywhere. Cyclists everywhere. Everyone wanting to be in front of the next guy. Everyone who was driving was trying to squeeze in between each other, if that didn’t work then they started to use their horns. I am sure they think that this would solve all their problems. I am also sure they honk because everyone else is. About an hour and a half later we finally make it to the hotel - what a nice hotel it is. I’m impressed. We go to check in and oh yes, the rooms were canceled. Go figure. We were late. Oh great, here we go. They say, when God closes one door another even better door will open. It sure did. From 2 double rooms (I would be sharing) being cancelled, we now have 2 singles and 1 double. That means I have my own room!! Perfect!

Once we finally checked in it was smooth sailing. We decided to look for some food. We decided to walk around our hotel to see what we could find. Let’s just say, we ended up back in the hotel for a beer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More guests

Ah, it's that time again - visiting guests....

This time it's Tina's family that made the long flight over to China land to visit us. This weekend we are up in Beijing to see the sights, then a few days in Xiamen and Tina will take them to Guilin to tour while I fly over to Taiwan for work.

As always, we will let (force) them to guest blog and fill you in with their experiences, so be expecting that. Right now, while in Beijing and next week when in Guilin, the posts may be sparse, but after that you will get all the stories and photos....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Part II – Friday night

After the wedding, both Mark and I were hungry as the food disappeared quite quickly, so we decided to find some food.

It was about 10pm at this point, and Mark suggested the market. What a great idea! By now, everyone knows that we really enjoy strolling through the market during the day, but in the evening, the market becomes a culinary delight, and we enjoy it just the same, if not more.

It's amazing how busy that market is in the evening with people of all ages enjoying their meals.

As we wandered down through the market watching everyone prepare food, eating and drinking, we came upon one vendor that looked like he may have what we wanted.

By this point every Chinese in the market, just looked at us, as if we just landed from another planet. Typically we get looks during the day from the locals, but at night, it’s a whole different ball game. They don’t get foreigners walking through the market at that time of night, let alone sitting and eating. If they are lucky to spot one our species, we are generally with other local Chinese, so needless to say we made many friends that night curious as to why we are there, and where we hail from.

Mark went and picked out some food and 20 minutes later we dined on chicken, octopus, and a host of grilled vegetables. It was damn tasty and still one of our favorite places to eat in Xiamen.

After three baskets of food, and many conversations later, we headed home. We were walking back and one table full of Chinese men offered us more food and beer. We stopped and chatted with them for awhile, and had some food, and we continued on our way.

A few of the vendors wanted their pictures taken as well as some young Chinese men. We took the photos and Mark promised to send them the pictures.

The next day, Mark sent off the photos as promised to the young men.