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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Exploring Xiamen

Readers who live in Brisbane (I trust there are a few) will understand when I say that Xiamen is an island, like Bribie, joined to the mainland by a bridge. Unlike Bribie, Xiamen appears to be totally developed, much with high-rise.

The city of 1 million + is perhaps small by Chinese standards. It is not unpleasant. I stayed for two nights but got to spend most of three days exploring the place. Much of the city is being redeveloped.

In the shadow of the unfinished buildings in this picture are narrow laneways which contain homes of the ordinary people who live in the city centre.

I spent a few hours wandering along alleys like this not knowing where they were leading. Eventually I came out into a street and was able to get my bearings again.

I found a friendlier vibe in Xiamen than I did in Hangzhou. I also noticed that it was common for people to stand up on the bus for older people—I didn't qualify : )—and for a woman with a baby. In the middle of summer apparently it is also cooler than Hangzhou being by the sea.

When I woke on my second morning in the city I sat as I usually do to meditate. Not long after seven AM, I was disturbed by this:

The machine you see here was demolishing the buildings next door. The noise was unbearable. I suspect that in China there are no restrictions on noise levels as we have in Australia. You'll also notice the guy in the picture working on the site is not wearing earmuffs.

I packed up as quickly as I could and headed off to explore the town. On the way out I let them know at reception that I was not very happy with the situation. They offered me another room. I asked if it would be any quieter and they said 'no' so I didn't bother. I didn't return until about 8 pm and the machine was still operating. I wonder what the operator's hearing is like. Fortunately he knocked off soon after I returned to my room. The noise started again early the next morning but didn't seem to be quite so bad.

Did I use my earplugs you ask? Yes, I did. The seemed to make no difference.

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To see the photos I took while exploring Xiamen, please click the links on the sidebar.
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