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The Floating Fishing Village of Sandu'ao

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Floating villages hey. The only thing this one doesn’t have is home pizza delivery.

It took a bit to get to Cheng’ao/Sandu’ao as after talking to a handful of locals back in Ningde city it seemed that I’d actually never make. Everyone told me there were no buses and that the taxis would charge me hundreds of Yuan to take me. I figured that I’d come this far and that a couple of hundred Yuan is comparable to a few hours in a bar in a big city so why not give it a try.

Try I did but not a single driver wanted to take as I wouldn’t be returning the same day and due to the weather they probably wouldn’t have a return fare to make the journey worthwhile.

Thankfully while I was grabbing a few beers to blog by the young guy serving me knew a little English so we got to chatting about my adventure and even more thankfully he raced away and returned with another check out guy who’s English was top of the class. I can’t say it started well, as after asking if I could catch a bus to Cheng’ao town he replied with the usual, no you cannot and then went about making some calls to verify the fact.

I then went out on a limb and thought I’d ask the ground breaking question 'Can I catch several buses to Cheng’ao?’ They looked at each other and said ‘of course you can catch several buses to Cheng’ao.’

You really do have to love the Chinese and their total directness when it comes to answering questions. Admittedly I did say A BUS, which to me and billions of others means can I get there by bus but for the umpteenth time the Chinese never failed when grammatically interpreting a simple question and the Chinese answer therefore is true and correct because I could not catch A bus to my destination. So after a day and a night of questioning people on how to get there I was the stupid one for using a singular and not a plural in my question.

When I want to fly home to visit my family, I will simply ask, How many planes do I need to catch to fly to Australia?

After checking out of my hotel in Ningde city I hailed a local bus bound for Fei Luan town and was finally on my way to Sandu’ao. At Fei Luan I grabbed a bowl of some of the heartiest beef noodles in China and soon after a beautiful girl named Ivy sat opposite me and said hello. Her English was awesome and I soon found that she worked in Import/Export in Xiamen city and was in Fei Luan visiting her sister and her family and would soon head back to Ningde to visit her parents for a week.

After swapping phone and QQ Numbers and planning a night out in Ningde when I returned I grabbed the next local bus to Cheng’ao.

<u>Now For A Bit On Sandu’ao Water Village</u>

Located just thirty kilometers from Ningde city in Fujian province can be found what is known as Future Water Village or Sandu'ao which is one of the world’s largest floating fishing villages. Those who live here need never set foot on land as they have their own floating postal service, police station, restaurants and convenient stores along with their own emergency phone numbers.

Kilometer after kilometer of villages can be found floating upon sturdy pontoons constructed from bamboo and wood wired to barrels or blocks of PVC foam. Every household has some form of floating vessel to get around in be it a boat or yacht ranging from crude wooden crafts to fine fiberglass boats.

As the largest community on the sea in China, most of the residents here earn a living by fishing and ocean farming. After a decade's re-development after being devastated by Japanese aerial bombardment, it has once again become one of the largest aqua cultivation bases in China. While the huge bay looks like open sea, it is in fact almost entirely landlocked, so the floating villages usually lay calmly on waters that resemble an endless expanse of smooth land and sea formation.

<u>The Sandu’ao Seafood Paradise </u>

Sandu’ao is not only getting popular among the local tourists but also international tourists who want their seafood fresh and to dine at one of the floating restaurants. Sandu'ao has a marvelous variety of shellfish, shrimp and prawns the size of small lobsters and the succulent seaweed is cultivated on a seaweed farm that is over one hundred and sixty acres that is also located within the bay. The area produces over one hundred varieties of fish, many species of turtles and shellfish along with cuttlefish and sturgeon.

The setting is not as glamorous as the floating restaurant found in Hong Kong, but guests get to dine in an ambience of closeness to nature overlooking a mesmorising bay with towering hills as an added extra. Sandu’ao has a favorable geographical location with mountains to its north and sea to its south so along with fresh seafood many mountain delicacies such as mushroom, bamboo shoots and tremella can also be found here and all are prepared by local chefs using techniques handed down through the generations.

<u>History of Sandu’ao </u>

Sandu'ao began trade with foreign nations over one thousand years ago during the Tang Dynasty and by 1694 Sandu'ao administered nine of its own trading ports. It formally became an import and export commercial port in 1897 and was trading with twenty companies from thirteen different countries including America, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Holland, Sweden, Spain and Portugal who in turn set up their own companies, banks and lifestyle.

Sandu'aos glory ended overnight when Japanese bombers twice razed the island leaving only a few small buildings.

Even today the island can still show parts of its former glory by way of a Spanish Stone Catholic Church, British Cloister and an American Nunnery. The Catholic Church with its distinctive Spanish architecture is said to be the best preserved old church in Fujian Province and the American Nunnery known as &#8216;Heavenly Garden for the Elderly’ is still a working Nunnery and some of its Nuns have been there for over sixty years.

Sandu'ao has yet to fully recover from the devastation of the Japanese bombings as prior to the bombings its population was over thirty thousand and today it is slowly returning with a current population being around twenty thousand.

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane

PS: For those wanting to visit Sandu’ao Water Village you need to head to Ningde city and from there you need to catch a bus to Fei Luan town (I’ve included a photo with the Chinese characters). Grab some noodles there as the beef noodles at the little bus station were beyond delicious and then head out to the round-about and grab a local bus to little Cheng’ao town. ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the Phunk Junkeez The album was &#8216;Injected’ ____________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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