China 9: Fujian

We arrived at Fujian in the evening and headed to where we were staying for the night – rural dwellings known by us westerners as “Roundhouses”. Built between the 12th and 20th centuries in Fujian only, they were built to keep bandits away and protect their homes; there are 30,000 remaining and many are still real homes for the people here, with some also being used as places to sample and sell tea (which we got to experience the following day). Being able to sleep in one was a cool experience (as was watching a Chinese soap opera on the TV after going for an evening stroll around beautiful Fujian).

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The following morning we headed over to Mr Liu’s for breakfast, which was also where we would be sleeping that night, before exploring more roundhouses in the area and trying a variety of local teas. It’s times like this when I wish I liked tea (I’m a coffee girl through and through and can only stomach a proper builder’s tea every so often when I am curled up on the sofa) – it was lovely to be able to try them and a couple were not unbearable, but it just isn’t my thing (but the peanut snacks they passed around are!)

We later walked through the tea fields before heading back to Mr Liu’s for dinner.

In the evening we sat around outside drinking beers and playing games, and it was at around 9pm when I was playing table tennis with Julia that a local Chinese man gestured to us, asking if he could take over her and play a game with me. His English was limited (and my Chinese even more so) but he could enthusiastically say “very good” to me and we established a common language through gesture, whooping and laughter. We played table tennis for about half an hour,after which he thanked me numerous times, asked to take a selfie of us together, showed me pictures of his family and even invited me over for tea. I was blown away by his kindness and how culturally apt the whole thing was; it was incredibly humbling and moving.

 

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After breakfast the following day we went on a 2 hour bike ride around Fujian, visiting the world’s largest Roundhouse along the way. It was raining pretty hard a first so we all got soaked through before quickly changing to being muggy so we felt pretty gross by the end of it, but cycling round rural China is definitely one of my top things to do! We later had dinner at Mr Liu’s again before taking a minibus to Yongding Railway Station for the first leg of our journey, a sleeper train, to Macau…

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Macau
Our sleeper train arrived in Guangzhou East railway station at 6am, where we had breakfast before taking a public bus to Zhuhai. Here we then crossed the border on foot to Macau before taking a free shuttle bus to The Galaxy (the grandest casino in Macau) and the Venetian (the biggest casino in Macau). Even though 5 x the amount if money passes through the Macau casinos compared to the Las Vegas casinos, the latter by far wins for me. I was quite happy to get the one hour ferry back to our tour starting point, Hong Kong, for our China tour to come to an end over drinks at our hostel (YesInn @ Causeway Bay). It’s been a crazy, intense and spectacular month, and I have a lot to now reflect on regarding my time in China…

LS

[See next post: My Reflections]

[See previous post: Shanghai]

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