A Travellerspoint blog

Transitions Back Into My New Life in Fujian

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Mate I couldn’t fit another thing in even if I was twins! It’s been a huge couple of weeks since my return to Fujian Province. The '2010 Miao & Dong Peoples Beers N Noodles Adventure’ has come to an end.

Seriously it was one of the most amazing and intrepid adventures I have had and I seriously had to look at where my last blog was actually posted from and found that it was from Sanjiang Town on the borders of Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi Provinces and since then there has been one hell of a lot of food and beer consumed and whilst catching up with my wonderful circle of friends new friends have been made and several new night BBQ stalls have been visited along with some old meaty haunts.

The fun all started on the two plane journeys that took us from Buckland’s in Yangshuo to Wuyishan.

Before I continue I must introduce the other two new foreign teachers, so everyone say a big G’Day Mate to Shaun and Ross who hail from the liquor lands of Leeds, England. Both are stage performers back home so being around them is like being in the musicals Rent and Footloose but I without the loose feet and as we don’t pay rent I guess it’s actually been more like a more a Grease reality than one where the young are either fighting for their right to dance or scrape enough money together to pay rent.

Actually, it’s been like none of the above but rather more like a living that silly ‘eddakaths’ blog from several years ago when he was living in Shaowu city in Fujian Province.

Anyhow, Shaun hates flying more than I, in fact more than anyone I have ever known and if he had an arm full of rosary beads he would have found a way to simultaneously count them from the little corner where he was found rocking back and forth speaking in strange tongues that only Father Karras could decipher.

But we’ll skip Regan’s slimy green foreplay and move on to my own ‘final destination’ moment.

Picture this….on a night flight with Regan (Shaun) rocking back and forth beside me whilst Father Karras (Ross) was trying to administer Priestly type affection (Don’t go there! Just stick with the Exorcist!), due to slight turbulence I’m holding on tight to my seat and out the window I spot a light. I get to thinking that it’s another plane which is cool as we don’t own the sky and the other plane has every right to share it with us but these thoughts quickly changed as it didn’t seem to move away. So I then get to thinking that it’s getting a little too close and maybe it should find its own air space as mine was getting a little cramped.

For those who don’t fly, the light was the small wing light but I of course I never thought of that at the time as I had Father Karras performing an exorcism on Regan beside me which made me all the more fearful of flying.

Now Picture This…..as we were nearing Wuyishan (only a minute or two had passed since I noticed the light and I was looking around the plane kind of wonderful why no-one else was staring out the window full of fear because there was another plane coming our way) all of a sudden the pilot turns on the big wing lights to make ready our landing. If I could have screamed I would have but thankfully for the rest of the passengers it got caught in my throat and as reality hit one of the scariest moments of my life passed by without notice.

I actually thought the other plane was about to crash into the side of ours…what a doofus! I soon comforted myself by giggling at Shaun counting his invisible rosaries beside me.

As we arrived around mid night we grabbed a hotel nearby and I happily introduced the Leeds Lads to the real way of eating here in China which is road side night BBQ and Beer and since they have never been the same and its now all about meat sticks, cold beer and Chinese girls (um…people…I won’t explain) in tiny denim shorts and high heels. The following day we were collected by the school at midday and as we drove further into the north western Fujian mountains I got to watch the excitement build on the faces of the Leeds Lads who had only the opportunity to see awesomeness of the Yangshuo area of Guangxi Province here in China.

Upon our arrival in Shaowu City the party began and believe me it hasn’t stopped since.

Before even reaching our school we stopped at one of Mr Du’s and the schools old haunts where the cold beer began to flow and succulent dish after succulent dish of the most delicious foods were placed before us and the Lazy Susan once again began its tantalizing twirl. She twirled her delights again that evening and then the following and she has been lap dancing her tasty treats before us almost every night since.

Between Susan’s tantalising twirls there has been a never ending supply of nightly meat filled BBQ stalls, home cooked dinners with friends, exquisite buffet dinners with some of my old students families, introductions and endless returns to Ting Tings Bar where we happily found deliciously new staff to drink with and get to know, several footloose and friendly KTV nights during which Shaun brought the room to their knees with his angelic voice and for me (besides returning to the warm hearts of my friends) the return to my Fujian bike rides.

I could expand the above list to fill several pages but I think I will simply allow not only the pictures attached to this page but also the following few blogs tell the rest of the story of what has been happening since Lazy Susan’s first sexy spin upon my return to a city that has unexpectedly felt and become more like HOME than home!

For all of my new readers I lived and taught here in Shaowu City from the end of 2006 to mid 2008 and ever since I have felt a strong calling to return. I didn’t return as I love to experience new places, new foods and new Chinese Cultures but since I left my friends and school here in Shaowu none of them have been half the school or offered the amazing life that I lived here.

Before we go onto the ‘bits and pieces of Fujian Province’ I must give not only a huge warm welcome to Shaun and Ross but also to thank the stars above for sending then my way. To have two such open and warm creatures to spend my time with is more than a dream come true. Ross loves to get out there and sweat in the fields and has never once complained about some of the crazy bike rides I’ve taken him on and Shaun, though not a bike rider, like Ross is more than open to drinking three cases of beer at a BBQ on the river side after shopping with Ting Ting.

Life my friends couldn’t be better if I was triplets!

<u>Now For a Bit of Information on Fujian Province</u>

Fujian Province, with its capital Fuzhou is found on China's south eastern coast.

It faces the island province of Taiwan across Taiwan Strait to the east and its neighbouring provinces are Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Its permanent population is around thirty five million and many minority ethnic groups such as the Hakka, Hui, Miao and Manchu help make up its population. Fujian is also the birthplace and origin of around nine million overseas Chinese who also make up eighty percent of Taiwan's population.

To make things hard on its foreign guests Fujian also has dozens of its own dialects. As the terrain is mostly mountainous, at one time nearly every valley had its own language.

These dialects are usually described with the prefix &#8216;Min’ as Min is another name for Fujian just as is Hokkien. These dialects are not mutually intelligible but they do share certain common features. The &#8216;Min’ group of Chinese dialects is the most diverse of all the dialects in China and they share fewer similarities with Mandarin as English does with Dutch and Russian with Japanese.

Among the most important is Minnan Hua (Southern Min) which spoken in Xiamen, Quanzhou, Zhangzhou and surrounding areas. There are slight dialectal variations of Minnan between the three cities and many people in Taiwan speak the same language, though to the rest of the world it is known as Taiwanese and in Malaysia and Singapore the same language is called Hokkien which is the Minnan word for Fujian.

The Mindong (Eastern Min) or Fuzhou Hua has a large number of speakers in the northern coastal areas and in Malaysia and Singapore it is known as Hokchiu which is the Mindong word for Fuzhou. There are dialectal variations as the Mindong dialects in Fuzhou and Fu'an (which are only four hours apart by car) are not mutually intelligible.

The Hakka people who are found mainly in the west of Fujian and also in several other areas of Southern China came as refugees from one of Northern China's wars centuries ago (Hakka means &#8216;guest people’) have their own Hakka language which is somewhat related to some Northern dialects rather than to any other Fujian or southern language.

Add to that central Fujian, west Fujian and a million other local village dialects in between.

Think about that when travelling solo and trying to order dinner in rural Fujian Province where tens sound like fours and fours like tens and mountains like threes and threes like mountains and BBQ sounds like a sour cow and not like a show cow and Sh’s and S’s are just as confusing as why I am known as Teacher Egg here in the south and Teacher Watermelon in the north.

Most of the time I have absolutely no idea what is happening! That’s the way I love my life because each day continues to be a new adventure!

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane PS: No we don’t have a Mc Donald’s nor do we have huge colourful karst peaks. They were taken in Yangshuo prior to me returning to Fujian. ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Melbourne’s You Am I. The album was &#8216;Snake Tide’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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