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Xiamen: Gulang Yu. Is This Really China!

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day to you As English were planning on heading back to Underwater World so Alexa could see it, I was hoping they were going to go early enough to see the 9:30am Dolphin Show so I didn't bother with my alarm. What was I thinking? I got a knock on my door at 10:30...BUGGER! When I went down to pay for the night's accommodation I got an answer to a question that had been bugging me for sometime. Other foreign teachers have told me there was a big calling for English Teachers in Italy. I never understood why as I thought that they were taught English from an early age and that almost everyone could speak English. Why I thought this I have no idea...but...at the reception desk were three Italian guys and none of them could speak English. One only a little but less than my Chinese. Strangely they could all speak Chinese so there we were speaking Italian, English and Chinese and after a time we finally figured out that I would get English's key deposit back when I departed the hotel and got mine back. It really was a strange experience. So now I can understand why there is a calling for English Teachers in Italy. I decided to walk the entire way to Lundu Wharf through the little back streets. Today was going to be my day walking around the little island of Gulang Yu exploring as much of it as possible. I had been waiting for this opportunity since we had our little exploration the other day. After an alleyway Fried Rice brunch I caught the ferry across and began my adventure. It was everything I wanted and more. I began behind the tourist shopping streets and wound my way to the beach beside Shuxhuang Garden that houses the '44 Bridge'. For those who want a beautiful walk filled with little beaches, a tunnel or two along with a few old arch ways this is for you. To the right of the little beach begins the path that will take you 95% of the way around the island. The weather was more than excellent, it was superb! I made my way around the back of Sunlight Rock and watched a guy painting two German Guys outside a tunnel entrance. I walked through the tunnel and thought it best not to over do it so I stopped and sat on the beach for awhile. It really was a panoramic moment. When I awoke thirty minutes later I continued my journey. There are many little beaches and most actually had no one on them. I spent time on each drifting away to the sound of the ocean, the boats and the tiny little waves. I've included a panoramic shot of some of them. This really is a beautiful little island, bugger the other million tourists, today I was alone! When I reached the Sanquitian Wharf which am on the side that faces the 'mainland' I thought it best to begin exploring the back streets of the empty side of the island. This was a most awesome choice. The only people I passed were elderly locals and a million Uni students. Another form of life also populates Gulang Yu, that of the cat. If you love cats like I do you'll love this island. If you don't like cats don't even think about harming the ones on this island, the locals love them as they keep the rats and other little critters away. The cats are well fed and looked after. Here I also found several tunnels that took me though hills so I didn't have to use the stairs. I found a few arch ways that once would have led somewhere but now only lead to someone's sleepy yard. I wound and would and wound my way here and there until I found myself back at the beach I started at. Here I sat and rested whilst watching little kids dig and play in the sand. When I woke up once again I headed around the Shuzuang Gardens (I didn't want to pay the 40 Yuan entrance fee just to use the 44 Bridge) and found pathway that led to the little beach on the other side of the gardens. I made my way to Yindou Rock and then found myself at the ticket booth to Haogue Garden. Don't you just hate it, I mean really really hate it when you get somewhere and you are 1.5 Yuan short of the entrance fee. I only had 13.5 Yuan and the fee was 15 Yuan and there was no way in the world Sgnt Noodle was going to let my in without the full fee. If only I didn't give that student 5 Yuan this afternoon! I find myself giving donations to many High and Uni students here in China. They sit cross legged with their school card before them and bow to everyone who walks past. This is the only way some of them can gather the money required to pay their fees and living costs. I questioned this many times before I began my little donations. I have several Chinese English Teacher friends who had to do the exact same thing to pay their way through school. When your parents are farmers or street sweepers there really is no other way, except prostitution of course. There are no school loans etc. Anyhow, I had walked enough for this day and couldn't be bothered walking all the way back once I had found a bank. Instead I sat for my daily coffee at Mc Donald's and read some more of 'Cell'. I'm going to miss English's company especially when the food bills come in but already I can feel the excitement return to my belly that I get when I head off solo. One pair of feet, you just can't beat it! Beers N Noodles to you...shane The soundtrack to this entry is Augie March's 'Sunset Studies' Beeeeeautiful!

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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