Having arrived home from a great trip from Xiamen, Chengdu hasn’t exactly welcomed us back with lovely sunny weather…. smog and rain greeted us.
Having had our eye on Xiamen for a while, we wanted to take a visit to the city so we could experience the city and see whether we could move there in the future.
Leaving on Monday morning, we were constantly checking the weather forecast for the following few days… Monday looked ok, sunny with a few clouds… but from then on it didn’t look too good; Tuesday: Thunderstorms, Wednesday: Thunderstorms, Thursday: Thunderstorms…. and so on.
I of course was a little angered over this, I didn’t want to be cooped up in our hostel for the whole 6 days while we were there!
So, the weather didn’t look too promising.
When we arrived on Monday morning, we had the whole day to explore the city, knowing that this was the only good day we were going to have.
We decided to visit Gulangyu Island. A very touristy island that is a must see for anyone visiting. So we got the bus and headed to the ferry to take us. We got in the line and my boyfriend said “I hope we don’t need any ID”.
It didn’t even occur to me to bring any, but then as I looked around, all the Chinese people surrounding us had theirs. I had my passport picture in my phone, that should be ok I thought.
No, it wasn’t ok. The lady wouldn’t give us any tickets until we could present an actual tangible ID card. My boyfriend fortunately had his Mexican ID, but me…nothing.
Obviously I got very upset about this…. I don’t want to waste the only good day we had having to travel back and forth from our hostel and loosing half the day. But seeing that it was only 1pm, we decided to head back to our hostel and get our passports.
So… we end up back at the ferry and thankfully got our tickets, joined the other Chinese and boarded the ferry to the island. It used to cost 8元，however now it is 35元 or 50元! Apparently they increased the price so as to ‘deter people from coming to the island and ruining it’…. MMmm with the way the ferry was jam-packed with people, I don’t think that it’s working too well!
Gulyangyu Island is very pretty, old and I really like the old buildings that are there. There are a lot of cute wee shops in the small alleyways on the island.
By 4:30pm, I was just wrecked: having slept only 4 hours the night before and sight-seeing straight from being off the plane… plus the unbearable sun and heat… I was tired. Having to wait until 7:00pm to leave the island, we took it easy for the rest of the afternoon…. and by 9:30pm we were asleep in our hostel!
On Tuesday, we woke up by… GOOD WEATHER!! The sun was beaming down and the sky was blue… we might get 2 good days I thought!
We decided to venture to Nanputuo Temple first. Of course it was mad busy with people, but the area is beautiful. To me, after seeing countless Temples in China, they all look the same… but it was nice none the less. We found a trail which led up a small mountain behind the temple and found a lovely viewing point!
Everyone hiding in the shade
To the left of the below picture is the scenic Xiamen University, it is free to enter, but of course we needed to show our ID’s, which luckily this time we brought!
In the line to enter the Uni, umbrellas were needed!
Ever since I came to China, I’ve always complained about the girls using umbrellas during the summer. They don’t want their skin to get darker, so they always bring an umbrella when it’s sunny.
Unfortunately in Xiamen I became one of those girls. It was definitely not to keep my skin this pasty ghostly white colour; the sun was that strong I had to use it so I wouldn’t get baked. I feel in Xiamen the use of umbrellas is necessary for the sun, whereas in Chengdu.. it’s more of ‘Oh my God I see the sun, I don’t my skin to get .5% darker!!!’ So, it still pisses me off seeing umbrellas in Chengdu… It’s never even sunny!
The Uni itself is very beautiful, a lovely lake in the middle, palm trees, the buildings themselves. It’s like a park. The Uni is very close to the beach so you can wander around it and then head to the beach for a while. Also, in their shop, they had an open fridge with all sorts of fruit inside it; apples, oranges, watermelon, mango…. all cut into slices. Beside the fridge they had loads of round containers to put the fruit into… You pick what fruit you would like and then pay..then you can enjoy the cold, fresh fruit. It was the first time I saw this but then I realised you can do this all over Xiamen. Such a good idea!
Wednesday came… good weather once again! I thought ‘yeah that weather app was totally wrong’. At this stage though, the heat and sun were getting to me… and by 4pm I had to have a lie down because of the tiredness.
On Thursday we decided to visit a Mandarin school to find out more information about their classes. At least there is a good school for us to learn from if we do decide to move!
We also walked around some parks and around the main road at night. Called Zhongshan Road, it used to be a busy road for cars, but a few years ago they blocked it off and now it is only for pedestrians. During the day it is deserted, with it only becoming alive once the sun goes down. Because Xiamen is a very touristy place, the road was full of Chinese tourists.
中山路 Zhongshan Road.
Below is a place called Hulishan Fortress. An old fortress build in the 1890’s. A nice little stroll about!
The last day we decided to go have lunch in a place called Grandmas Home. We initially went here in Hangzhou, so we were pleasently surprised that there was a chain in Xiamen too! It is cheap and delicious, but you need to wait a while sometimes to be seated. Thankfully we only had to wait 5 minutes until they were showing us to our table. In Hangzhou we had to wait 1 hour!
If you ever see a Grandmas Home, it’s def worth it to have a try!
Xiamen is a gorgeous place, very very different to Chengdu. I loved the place, except the weather (too hot) and of course the seafood. I don’t like fish or seafood, and this is like their staple food… I really missed Sichuan food!
So we will have to have a long think and weigh up the pros and cons about moving….