Hey Hey and a Big G'Day to ya Luckily I brought along one of the latest Stephen King novels as it helped pass the time each morning whilst waiting for Daniel and Alexa to get ready. Hurry up you Snails! Just jokin mate, in fact I was happy they were late each morning as I got to get stuck into 'Cell'. Another great idea by the big man and put into words rather well. Of course as with all of Mr King's endings I thought it was crap and as usual he just decided to blow the crap out of everything. He's the greatest author ever but the man can not write an ending! The boat cruise 'To Taiwan' really was a beautiful time. The sky was blue, the sun was warm, the noodles were great but Taiwan we didn't see. I was pretty let down and actually thought all the cruise actually was was a trip to three tiny rock islands, one with Chinese writing stating that you are now entering Taiwan waters or that your noodles are ready. Probably the latter as I can't read Chinese. Anyhow, many nights later whilst I was frolicking on the beach with a beautiful Chinese girl she told me that the lights across the water we could see was actually Taiwan. Amongst the lights I could see three dark patches which were obviously the three little islands. So until then I was going to write 'don't waste your money' but on a clear day maybe you really can see Taiwan. I have no idea as most days here in Xiamen are pretty hazy on and around the water. The boat trip will coast you 80 Yuan a head, even for the Chinese. After the big let down and thinking that the Chinese were trying to tell us that Taiwan was actually three little rocks in the bay we decided on a huge feast of KFC down Zhong Shan Road. This is the main 'Shopping Road' in Xiamen so guys, get a big black marker and block it from your map and don't let the girls set foot on it. It's full of big shops, expensive shops, shops that will leave you penniless. Besides that it is a great street to walk down if your single as it is full of beautiful Chinese girls. ..Chinese girls...wallet...Chinese girls...wallet... I'm going Chinese girls. Selfishly I can say that being a single guy! HAR HAR! We then took to the streets and made our way to The Nanputo Temple or South Puto Si. On the way we met two American guys coming our way chuggin on bottles of beer as they walked down the street. Hey Man, we're looking for some action, you guys going to be around later. Yep, we are going to be around, dunno where...bye! The temple maaaaaan, it's just a temple maaaaan. I wonder if they actually went the temple or if they did, did they climb the mountain at its rear? We continued on our own merry way and came to the Uni District. Here you will find a large book shop on one corner that sells a small amount of English Novels, on the other corner is the Nanputo Si Gate and on the other corner (well type of corner anyhow) is a little uni market beside Mc Donald's and KFC. Beside the market are a heap of clothes shops and tasty little eateries. It's a great area to walk around and there is also an International Youth Hostel back up the road a little. I never spotted the sign until a few nights later. The temple was a great time. I left English (Daniel and Alexa) at the market place and headed across to the temple. Once through the gate I spent half an hour walking around the gardens out front taking photos and chatting to people who wanted to chat. To get into the Temple itself it will cost you only 3 Yuan. It doesn't say this anywhere at the ticket booth, in fact it has the number 1.2 there BUT everyone was paying three Yuan and the old Chinese man behind me even told me it was three Yuan so don't think they are trying to rip you off because your a foreigner. It doesn't cost 1.2 Yuan and I still have no idea what the 1.2 means. Anyhow, the temple was built 1000 years ago during the Tang Dynasty. It was ruined by the Mings and rebuilt by the Qings, so it's pretty bloody old and worth a visit. At the moment the temple is going through some restoration work. So once you're in the Heavenly King Hall you really can't see much at all. Once past the 'works' all is normal and there are people facing in all directions on their knees with incense sticks smoking at forehead height as they quickly move back and forth. Once you've taken all your photos take a walk behind the temple itself and take a walk up the hill. It's not a difficult climb, not as easy as Sunlight Rock but anyone can do it, if you can find your way that is. I was following a family and each time they stopped I would go on ahead and take a wrong track to then retrace my steps to find the father of the family waiting for me with is finger pointing in the right direction. This actually happened about four times so I felt like an idiot but we had a lot of fun as we criss crossed our paths. Don't get me wrong, it is not difficult to find your way and it is impossible to get lost I just become a little kid and take any track that is before me. On the way up you come to several platforms where you are offered what could be totally awesome views on a clear day but both times I went the sky was hazy. The views were still beautiful but I could imagine what they would have been like on a clear day. As you approach the top you'll find more of the 'War Bunkers' and once you reach the top head left and you'll come to a little refreshments store. Here you can actually pay the 40 Yuan entrance fee and enter the BOTANICAL GARDENS. Don't worry the normal gate fee for the gardens is 40 Yuan so they are not trying to rip you off cause your on a hill top and want to get down any way except the way you came. I wasn't sure so I headed back the way I came. Once I reached the Temple at the bottom I met up with English and we spent some more time in the little Uni Shops and then decided to walk back into the city. If you take Minzu Road which turns into Tong Wen road and walk instead of taking a bus you'll end up with some great views of Gulong Yu and prior to that a nice walk through some normal Chinese Streets. Gulang Yu really does look beautiful at night time light up with a large assortment of colours. For dinner we decided on a visit to the Italian Restaurant. As I've said previously and as we found out, it really is owned by a real Italian Guy. The food is beyond the word 'delicious' especially when one hasn't had spaghetti for two years. The pizza slice I had was just as good, the bread was the best bread I've had in two years. It was an expensive meal especially for a 'I'm not paying that when I can pay 3 Yuan for a rice dish down the road' type of guy but I happily paid my 45 Yuan or what ever it was for my huge bowl of spaghetti. What didn't impress me was the 20 Yuan you had to pay for a 3 Yuan bottle of local 'Snow' beer. I refused the beer until Daniel opened his and then after my huge day of walking I gave in. It almost tasted like a 20 Yuan bottle of beer too. What an awesome day! Beers N Noodles to ya...shane The soundtrack to this entry is Archie Roach's album 'Looking For Butterboy' A beautifully written Black Aussie outlook of growing up in society.