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  • Day8

    Fast trains and slow boats

    December 2, 2017 in China ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    We left Xiamen on Wednesday aboard the bullet train. We whistled at top speed through some pretty huge cities and some rural areas where we saw farmers with oxen pulling plows. China is such a study in contrasts.

    Our first stop was Putian where we took a car (Uber equivalent that Maria can get at a moment’s notice through a phone app). A little lady near the train station magically appeared and we trustingly left our luggage with her for the day. Everyone here has a small business going on if they are not in some official, uniformed position.

    We headed back to the coast and took a ferry to Meizhou Island the birthplace of the Mazu culture which seems to be some sect of Buddhism who worship this goddess Mazu. It was all a bit confusing given the lack of English translations that made any sense. Anyway, we walked up to a series of temples and hired a nice lady to tour us around the island. Then it was back to Putian -where our luggage was right back where we left it, and another bullet train to Wuyishan where we arrived late to our very Chinese hotel named the Jooch.

    Wuyishan is a beautiful area with dramatic buttes and a river that meanders through the area. It is a key tea growing area -although finding a decent cup of tea was surprisingly difficult and expensive!
    Our hotel had been a Best Western hotel in the recent past but is no longer that brand so as Mike says, it was all fur coat , no nickers. Meaning it looked great but was missing some important things. Our room was lovely and quite comfortable. The lobby bar billed on the ads is no longer but we managed to get a half decent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from the restaurant which took 3 people to sort out. The boys reported that the local beer was good.

    Our 2days in Wuyishan were very active. We hiked three times including a real grind to the top of one mountain called the Heavenly Peak(I think, again limited English signage), It was like a 45 minute stair master. Views at the top were nice. The place was very crowded, as with most attractions here. We certainly got lots of attention as this area is not really a Western tourist draw and people kept exclaiming about us wearing shorts. We also took a leisurely bamboo raft ride down the Jiuqu river.
    The fellow steering our raft seemed a bit concerned about our total weight given his rickety raft. I doubt he was concerned about Maria. Although he grumbled a lot probably in hopes of getting more money from us-he and his buddy managed to steer us deftly through the rapids and to a safe landing downstream.

    Got a question about the “facilities”. We have been off the usual tourist track so mostly squatty potties. They have been very clean though. I’m well equipped with my toilet provisions and if there is a regular toilet for disabled people I use it shamelessly. We hear that China is trying to attract more foreign tourists and has a Toilet Revolution starting . This is the name given to all large government initiatives.
    Late yesterday we arrived via another bullet train to Huangshan . We are staying at a lovely little boutique hotel near the base of the Yellow Mountain scenic area. Today we are due to go up and hike around the top area. Onward!!
    Must run, being called to breakfast.

    Heather xx
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