Friday, March 6, 2009

Quanzhou and Chongwu Outing

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of going to Quanzhou and Chongwu for the day. An outing was arranged by the Millennium for some of the expat women to go and visit these two towns.

Chongwu was our first stop, and probably the highlight of the trip, and not just my opinion. Due to the time we spent there, we missed out on a few of the other sights that were scheduled for that day but it was worth it.

This town has an ancient wall which is approximately 2.5kms. The beauty of this village is that the town has not changed much over the past 1000 years. The narrow roads, make it perfect for wandering around the town. Alas, we didn't have as much time as one would hope, but it just means that I need to bring Mark here and we can spend the day taking photos.

The local people, called Hui'an have kept their tradition. The women's tops are tight and short, exposing their bellies. There is some legend, which escapes me at the moment and no I didn't get any pictures. Also, the Hui'an have a tradition, where by when a man and woman wed, they do not stay together until she becomes pregnant. Apparently the men stay with their families or friends and the woman stay with her family. The bride cannot make contact with the groom other than the holidays, which are the Spring Festival, Tomb Sweeping Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. According to my taiji teacher, sometimes even when they have a child, the man and woman still live apart. Well I guess, they would never tire of each other.

Ancient wall, one of the best preserved walls in China

These are the black chickens that you can buy in the grocery stores

After spending a couple of hours here, we drove to Quanzhou. Quanzhou is part of the maritime silk road, and has been around 1000 years before Christ. Quanzhou is known for it's silk and some pretty outstanding temples. Back in the day, Quanzhou was quite the melting pot, so there is a strong Arab presence in this city.

Due to the time restriction that we had, and the very aggressive sightseeing agenda, not a lot of time was spent in this city. That being said, we did manage to see the Maritime museum, Kaiyuan Temple, the Mosque and the tombs, and the renowned puppet museum.

The Kaiyuan temple was one of the historical sites that survived the Cultural Revolution, thanks to Deng Xiaoping. The pagodas which are located to the east and west are over 1000 years old, built during the Song Dynasty. They are the best preserved stone pagodas in China.

Pretty impressive

These women decorate their hair this way every day. It takes a long time.

After getting lost a few times, we finally made it to the Mosque. The mosque was built over 1000 years ago, however an earthquake destroyed most of the mosque leaving only a skeleton.
Shannon, one of the tour guides, who happens to speak fluent Chinese was interviewed by a local television station.

The last stop was the puppet museum. Unfortunately, we were unable to see a show but some of the gals bought some puppets to take back for their children.

After a long day of driving, we managed to get back in the early evening. It was a great way to spend the day and enjoy some of our province's unique history.


Anonymous said...

Nice photos Tina! The first town looks like a neat place...


kdobson said...

I'm not sure of the legend, but there was a famous saying about the outfits of Hui'an girls:
"Feudal hat, Democratic belly, saves on the shirt, wastes on the pants."

The 'feudal' element in the hat comes from the tight wrapping holding on the hat, and the 'democracy' is for the unusual, exposed midsection.

(You can check the 惠安女 article on Chinese Wikipedia for more random info)

Tina said...

Thanks for the history. I'll look it up in Wiki..