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The Da Jing Ancient Village Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Another ancient walled village was my plan for the day. Not a bad plan when you think of it.

As Simon works until three each morning helping his parents serve drunken late nighters at their restaurant we didn’t meet until half past ten, so I happily got another sleep in. But if you add the fact that many of his drunken customers then head back to my cheap hotel in a steady stream until three leaving me blogging between the hours of one to three then I guess it really wasn’t a sleep in after all.

After a relaxing catch up and breakfast coffee at the chicken shop, Fin, Simon and I then headed to yet another of Xiapu’s small bus stations and for the next hour and a half we were being thrown around on what has to be one of China’s worst 'main carriage ways’ which I was told hasn’t had a single moments repair in the past twelve years whilst the inner city road the government buildings can be found on is repaired each year.

Believe me it felt like it hadn’t been repaired for over fifty years and as there is barely any actual road left to drive on it has become one of those ‘things’ between the locals and the local government and with the amount of traffic is sees each day I can understand why.

After arriving at the villages west gate we began to take photos and seconds after Simons super cute sister came racing over. She had caught an earlier bus to Da Jing to visit some friends and just like the rest of us was so surprised that we were not only in the same village an hour and a half away but at the same gate at the same time. As I watched her jumping around in excitement at seeing us and I gave her the English name Joey as she looked like an extremely happy small Kangaroo. As she had been to the village many times she said good bye to her friends and became our guide to the area for the rest of the day.

Da Jing Ancient Village is a small unknown village found well off the tourist trail on the north eastern coast of Fujian Province an hour and a half from Xiapu City.

Once a mighty castle surrounded by several meter high walls, it was built during the Ming Dynasty (AD1368-1644) as a military station to help fight Japanese pirates. Now it remains partially surrounded by its Ming Dynasty walls and sadly over time the castle was slowly dissembled and its stones used to restore and build new homes within the village. Joey slowly showed us around explaining the history of different homes and other parts of the village along with its fishing culture. It was a very peaceful place and the locals warmly welcomed us yet wondered why I found their village interesting.

There were no yellow peaked hats and not a single flag. A BONUS on a beautiful sunny day in an Ancient Village!

Most of the population seemed to be as old as the village itself and everyone we spoke to had never seen a foreigner before. Like in most villages, water wells were found throughout which for me is always a bonus as it allows me to see a part of how life once was yet remains even so in 2011. I’ve never been part of a society that draws its water from beneath so a simple well may not be that exciting to most people but for me it always conjures up thoughts of ancient times and far off places which when I think about it, I guess is my exact reality.

It is also much cleaner than many of the rivers and creeks I have witnessed villagers washing both clothes and food in over the past six years.

After an hour or so of slowly meandering around Joey then took us to what was once known as the Gate of Death (the east gate remains). Outside of the main gate a second gate was built with a chamber in between. During times of war the outer gate was left partially guarded and easy to break into and once the attackers entered the chamber the gate was closed and locked from the outside leaving those within trapped.

They were then easy prey for the local military. Many arrows and large stones later they were no longer a threat.

Throughout our visit Joey had promised to take us to a beautiful sandy beach but after arriving it was so much more. With breath taking views of Bi Jia Shan Island as a back drop it was one of the most picture perfect postcard moments I’ve had since visiting Sakarijima Island in southern Japan eleven years ago. Back then I was travelling with a Swedish girl named Anna and after getting off the train in Kagoshima city we were getting some information from a tourist booth and after turning around I was left speechless.

Across Kagoshima bay was a huge smoking volcano. Being my first volcano it was more than an unexpected surprise!

After visiting a small pebble beach and village we began our journey back to Da Jing Village and realised that the last bus back to Xiapu had actually left three hours prior and I was once again given a perfect reality to the term ‘time flies when you are having fun’. We then grabbed a three wheeler mototaxi and took a very chilly one hour ride back to Chang Chun Zhen town where we sat for yet another amazingly delicious fresh seafood dinner before grabbing a taxi the rest of the way back to Xiapu city.

Now as Simons drunken eaters slowly return to my cheap hotel I am once again not given any chance of sleep and am tiredly blogging my way through until three when the city will shut its doors and I can finally shut my eyes in preparation for what the following day light hours may bring. After looking outside and seeing rain I am thinking that my time here in Xiapu city is at its end and after looking at the following weeks weather I am also left with the realisation that ‘maybe’ the 2011 ‘Winter Beers N Noodles’ daylight activities maybe at an end.

Thankfully though Yan is now in Fuzhou city visiting some of the old Shaowu Crew that were living there during my 2007 to June 2008 teaching stint. As it is now half past two in the morning, ‘tonight’ several other of the current Shaowu Crew will arrive by train and a big catch up dinner and bar night has already been arranged.

So I guess back to Fuzhou city it will be! Beers N Noodles toya…..shane

PS: also a big apology to Richie Ramone who spent many hours preparing new music for me to travel and blog by. Prior to leaving Shaowu I threw them onto my new memory stick to then copy onto my tiny travel computer and when it came time to do so, I found the memory stick no longer worked. So I've had to blog by the same music I've been travelling with for many years prior, but hey Tomohawk and Mike Patton mate!

The new memory sticks in the bag and the bags in the river! ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by Tomohawk The album was ‘Self Titled’ ____________________________________________________________

Da Jiang Ancient Village

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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