Friday, June 12, 2009

Expat Outing.

Just when I thought I would slow down for a moment, after spending two weeks with great friends travelling within China, I received an email from a few expat friends who wanted to explore more of our province on Monday. Naturally I agreed as one cannot miss the opportunity of exploring new places.

Originally our flight was to arrive back in Xiamen around 6:30pm, but China Eastern changed their flights so we ended up arriving around 10pm. When I originally agreed to this, I thought I would have some down time, but alas, no rest for the wicked. By the time, we got home and unpacked, it was closer to midnight which meant Monday morning was upon us much quicker than I had would have liked. Yea, I know my life is hell…..

I met the gals at early in the morning as we had a two hour drive and some of them needed to be back to pick up kids from school. The agenda for the day was to check out the flower expo and then go to the largest Tea museum in all of China. Our province apparently has the most tea drinkers per capita then anywhere else in China, or so they say.

As we drive to our first destination, most of the time was spent catching up with everyone. The drive itself was mostly highway driving, so not much in the way of an interesting view. We are forever grateful, that some of the women have drivers, which allows us to sightsee in our province much easier, than taking local buses. In the next few weeks, there will be an expat migration, which means it will be relatively quiet here.

We arrive at our first destination which was the flower exhibition. Here we had a tour guide, which of course was in Chinese so we came to the conclusion that they don’t see a lot of foreigners. We were lucky we had two Chinese teachers that joined us, thus becoming our translators. After 1 ½ hours of pretty much seeing trees, and little flowers, our attention level was starting to wane. The upkeep was quite poor, and wondered where the beautiful flowers that they advertised where located. When asked, they said it happens once a year in November. Come back then, she pleads. No wonder we got 50% off the admission.
At this point we were hungry, so we figured we would eat at the tea museum. Upon arrival and seeing the sign that says restaurant, we come to find out that they don’t have one. Why the sign is there, I couldn’t tell you, but alas, we had to find someplace to eat. The area we were visiting had little way of food. The driver found a little hole in the wall, which was fine by most of us. Some not so much so they wandered back to the museum as time was getting short. The rest of us grabbed a bite, and went to the tea museum afterwards. The grounds here were much nicer and well done than the flower expo. They had buildings that depicted various countries and their version of their tea ceremonies. As an example, there was a Korean tea house, a Japanese tea house and a Chinese tea house, except, the ceremonies were only at certain times of the day. We were too late for a couple of them, and too early for the Chinese one. The issue being we all needed to be back in Xiamen by a certain time, which meant we missed seeing the different ceremonies. We did get to see the buildings, the beautiful grounds and of course we did manage to have some time to shop and buy some tea.
Even though our timing was off, it was a nice day to see a different part of our area and was great catching up with everyone.

To all my expat friends going back home, safe travels and we the rest of us staying, we will see you and Me and You 2 for sangrias.

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