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Dongshan Island--Fujian's Hawaii
东山岛,福建的夏威夷(Fujian Sites
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Tēnfú Tea Museum (World’s Largest) 天福茶庄, 世界上最大的茶博物馆

Dongshan Chow -- Chopsticks Wars; Chinese Hot Dogs
Incensed "Seaweed 'R Us!" Stone Temple
Mischievous Prime Minister Fortune Cookies Stone Monkey Smoke?
Sunken Palaces and Ghosts Widow’s Museum 寡妇村博物馆
What a Gas Free Dongshan Hotel Rooms !!

Click Here for Page 1: Intro to Fujian, and Quanzhou
Click Here for Page 2: Zhangzhou Journey
Click Here for Page 4: Changtai Adventure
Info adapted from Magic Fujian, Fujian Adventure, Mystic Quanzhou, Amoy Magic, Discover Gulangyu, etc.
Note: Zhangzhou was also spelled Changchow

How I ended up on Dongshan Island One of my students was a native of Fujian’s second largest island, so I loaded a sixpack of students into Toy Ota and we set out to explore Dongshan...

Political Tongue Twisters!
On the road south we passed Yuanxiao Town, where for 500 years the locals have criticized the government with tongue twisters and poems in the local Minnan dialect. When retired Red Army soldiers wanted more money, they surrounded the government office, wrote big character posters, and recited tongue twisters and poems. One story tells of everyone covering their ears and fleeing when a man ignites a gigantic firecracker. But it just fizzles out, not with a bang but a whimper. The moral: some officials talk a lot but do nothing.
Sounded just like American politics to me!
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The Tenfu Tea Depot boasts the largest tea museum in the world, as well as the largest stone teapot. I took great pains to get a photo that looked like I was drinking from the pot—and then lost my entire disk of photos—including some irreplaceable photos of boat builders on Dongshan Island. As soon as I have time I’m heading back to Dongshan again.
But the real attraction at the Tenfu tea depot is the scenery! Across the highway are ranges of the peculiarly Chinese mountains that jut like giant crystals in every direction, as if designed by committee. Alas, those photos went to pot as well. Next time!

“One should eat to live, not live to eat.” Moliere (1622-1673)
“Moliere never had Chinese food.” Bill Brown (1956—?)

Chinese wok their dogs for China hot dog Dongshan Chow Chinese are not only the best cooks but the best diners, so of course our first stop on Dongshan was a village restaurant. During dinner my students argued the merits of various seafood. One guy said he preferred six-legged octopi to eight legged ones. A girl said that during the winter, male crabs are far superior to female crabs. They asked my opinion on seafood and I said I prefer fish filet sandwiches, easy on the mayonnaise.

One student saw a cute puppy outside and sighed. “Oh, for some dog meat. The very thought makes my stomach move.”

“It makes my stomach move too,” I said. Suppertime, Lassie!

Chopstick Wars!
A student dropped his chopsticks and a Sanming girl exclaimed, “That means you’ll have a guest.”
“No!,” a Fuzhou student said, “it means you’ll be beaten!”
My Quanzhou student laughed. “No, it means you pay the bill!” But what else would one expect from a son of ancient Zayton?

Law Books and Bamboo Classroom discipline was a hot topic at lunch. One girl said that students used to beat students who did not do homework. Or make them stand in the corner. And she added, a mite smugly, “Laws prevent that now. If you teachers buy a bamboo to beat us, we will buy a law book!”
“Please do!” I said. “I’ll assign it for homework and test you on it!”
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Sichuan Tourist Tires!
We set out to explore after checking into the Dongshan Hotel, but the Sichuan student said, “I’ll just take a nap.”
“You’ve come all this way to nap?” I asked.

The other students laughed. One said, “Sichuanese’ idea of tourism is to check into a hotel, eat, play mahjong, sleep, and go home.”

“What’s wrong with that?” my Sichuanese said, yawning deeply. So we wished him sweet dreams and set out.

Sunken Palaces and Ghosts Dongshan’s shores are haunted, according to imaginative locals. They say that robbers were executed on the beach, and now when typhoons approach, you can see the robbers’ ghosts running up and down the shore, sabers drawn.

The endless white beaches fall off so gradually that at low tide one can walk hundreds of meters—almost to the magical site of the last Ming Emperor’s sunken palace. Locals say that the very day the Mongols killed the last Ming Emperor on Hainan Island, his Dong Shan palace sank into the sea and a black stone rose in its stead.

Supposedly you can see the stone if the tide is low enough. My Dongshan student had never seen it, but he found a small black rock and exclaimed, “Maybe it’s part of the Emperor’s stone!”

A live horseshoe crab excited one student. “These were on the earth before dinosaurs,” he said. “They’re a protected species in China.”
“But I’ve seen them in restaurants,” I said.
“Yes,” he said. “They’re excellent.”
In the longer scheme of things, Chinese will no doubt outlive horseshoe crabs, and everything else.

Incensed The beach was dotted with smoldering incense planted in small mounds of rice and greens. These were offerings to local gods for the fishermen’s protection and prosperity. Some find prosperity by marrying their daughters to soldiers holding war maneuvers on the island. My student said, “Soldiers get all the prettiest girls.”

Seaweed ‘R Us! Three men were welding an iron frame for one of the local wood and styrofoam boats. A few feet away, a Zhangpu man crouched beside a bamboo frame, seeding it with seaweed, which takes ten days to harvest.
Colorfully costumed Zhangpu girls stacked the heavy frames and carried them to a small boat waiting just offshore.

Shoestring Seaweed The seaweed enterprise was a shoestring operation5 if I’ve ever seen one. It was just two very small adobe huts, and the girls were using an ancient washing machine to spin dry the seaweed! But it worked, I suppose, and the laobans (bosses) were successful enough that they sit back at their ease, drinking tea and smoking, and barking orders.

There must be a school somewhere that teaches bosses how to be bossy.
I asked the two laobans if they were also from Zhangpu. “Of course not!” one snorted. “I’m a Dongshan Islander!”
At least now I knew the local pecking order!
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The Stone Temple (石庙), at the top of stone steps on a hill in town, was named after the large stone in the courtyard. One student claimed it resembled a lotus. “No, no!” said another. “It looks like a bed. What do you think, Professor Pan?”
“Big rock, perhaps?” I said. And having settled the dispute, we set off for Dongshan’s #1 site, the ancient Tongshan (Copper Mountain) Castle (铜山古城) and the magnificent gardens of Guandian Temple.

Mischief Pays Off!
The large statue in Tongshan is of a man who as a child was so mischievous that his father forced him to live and study in a cave on a small island nearby. Maybe I should try that with my own two sons, because the son grew up to be the last prime minister of the Ming Dynasty. Then again—maybe the mischievous prime minister was why the Ming ended! I’ll have to think on this.

Math or Medicine As Toy Ota crawled up the narrow alley that was once Tongshan’s main street, we came upon a funeral. It seems everywhere we go we run into funerals, and I said to one student, “China has the most dead and dying people in the world.”

“That’s not true!” he argued. “We have great medical care!”

“It’s mathematics, not medicine,” I said, and his feathers slowly unruffled.

Stone steps from the top of the ancient wall led to the jagged shore below, and students drank sweet spring water from a cave where a tiger once dwelt. It’s called “Jade Drip in Tiger’s Mouth Cave.” After my students had their fill of green saliva (what else drips in tigers’ mouths?), we ascended the temple walls and entered the grounds, with their delightful with their delightful flowers, shrubs, and odd umbrella shaped trees, and … the father of fortune cookies?

Chinese Fortune Cookies The sweet, bow-shaped sugar cookies that finish off meals in Western Chinese restaurants originated not in China but in California! (Either San Francisco or Los Angeles, around 1918). So we could call them California Fortune Cookies—but the idea behind them is certainly not alien to Asia!

Several students had their fortunes told in the temple by drawing from a jar a stick that was then matched to one of the 100 stories on small strips of paper. One student’s tale was about the furious king of heaven locking a fairy in a mountain because she married a mortal. Her sons grew up in hardship, eventually stole the deity’s axe, and used it to break open the mountain and free their mom. The moral: “Persevere and you’ll succeed.”

Another student drew a convoluted story about someone shooting down an army messenger pigeon. The moral, he was told, was: “Persevere and you’ll succeed.” He said, “Same fortune four years in a row, so it must be true!” Fortune cookies.

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The saliva sipper, Inway, declined having his fortune told. He said, “Some people always ask for things or ask too much. I prefer to just pay my respects… though in our home temple I’ll make a few requests…”

The Wind Rocking Stone wouldn’t budge, even when we lay flat on our backs and pressed it with both feet. What we needed, I suuposed, was half a dozen hefty German sailors like the ones that sent Xiamen’s Wind Rocking Stone tumbling down the mountain in 1908.

Stone Monkey Smoke? A brass plaque before a massive cracked boulder proclaims that on May 31st, 1992, at 3:32 P.M, the rock cracked, smoke poured forth like a stone monkey, and an 80-pound python emerged.

I can handle the python part. They’re a dime a dozen in Fujian, but a stone monkey of smoke? Sounds to me more like someone was stoned on smoke.

Museum to Fragmented Families This sobering memorial commemorates the hundreds of women whose husbands were kidnapped by Chiang Kaishek’s army when it fled to Taiwan. Nearly the entire male population of some villages vanished. Most of the women never remarried, though the husbands in Taiwan invariably found new wives.

Decades later some returned to Dongshan Island to visit their former families, many with their new wives and children in tow.

I was horrified that the West stood by while so many families were destroyed. Hopefully, the world is small enough today that such barbarities do not go unnoticed—or conveniently ignored.

Our last stop on Dongshan was the mountain where Koxinga stood while training his navy. It offered as good a view of the harbor as Gulangyu Islet’s Sunlight Rock—but at least on Dongshan you don’t have to sell your firstborn to afford it. It’s free (or even half of that).

What a Gas! On the way home I stopped to refuel at a Petro China. Four girls in green mini skirts greeted me and one proffered a stainless steel tray with four oranges, a bottle of shoe polish, and a Chinese calendar. “For you,” she said.

“Wow!” I said. “Gas stations used to lure business with just a tissue box or a bottle of mineral water.”

She looked surprised, and hurried away. As I was driving off she came running back. “For you!” she said, and handed me a box of tissue and a bottle of mineral water. Next time I’ll set my sights higher.

In the meantime…let’s head to Changtai, “Xiamen’s Backyard,” and Kayaking capital of China!
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Read More About Zhangzhou!

Contents of "Changtai Adventure"
Chángtài ,长泰,厦门的后花园 Xiamen's "backyard"
Changtai's Mǎyángxī Kayak Center 马洋溪皮划艇训练中心
Líndūn Ancient Walled Village 林敦—古城墙
Opium Baron’s Manor鸦片大王的房子

Contents of "Zhangzhou Journey" (Page 2)
Zhangzhou's famous“100 Flower Village” 百花村
Lónghái Volcano Beach 龙海古火山口 (best beach near Xiamen!)
Tianbao Banana Plantation
Liudoushan Tropical Rain Forest
Zhangzhou's Little People -- Famous Hand Puppets
Zhangzhou's Famous Water Sprite
Zhào Family Palace 赵家堡 (Song Dynasty Castle)

Contents of "Dongshan Island" Fujian's Hawaii
(Page 3) 东山岛,福建的夏威夷
Tēnfú Tea Museum (World’s Largest) 天福茶庄, 世界上最大的茶博物馆
Dongshan Chow -- Chopsticks Wars; Chinese Hot Dogs
Incensed "Seaweed 'R Us!" Stone Temple
Mischievous Prime Minister Fortune Cookies Stone Monkey Smoke?
Sunken Palaces and Ghosts Widow’s Museum 寡妇村博物馆
What a Gas Free Dongshan Hotel Rooms !!

More Fujian Places to Visit
Fujian's Marvelous Wooden Bridges! Beautiful stone bridges, as well as exquisite covered wooden bridges, some of them 700 years old!
Zhangzhou Ancient City of Flowers; see
Hakka Roundhouses Unique earthen castles
Ningde Birthplaces of S. China Civilization?
Water World (Sandu'ao) Fishing Villages Upon the Sea!
Xiapu Rafting, Kukai's Temple (Japanese), Seafood, deng deng!
Zhouning (my favorite!) Zhouning Thumbnails Delightful place--China's largest waterfalls complex, Kungfu fighting highlanders, carp worshippers...
Wuyi Mountain Amazing historical, cultural and natural attractions

Fujian Foto Album!!!
An Intro to Fujian and How I Got Here

Other Miscellaneous Writings on Chinese Subjects
Note: An XMU Professor told me China had 5,000 years of history, but that was 1988, so now it's 5018 years of history (and two months).
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Free hotel rooms on Dongshan Island? Just thought I'd see if anyone would click that! There's no free lunch, and there's no free room--in Zhangzhou or anywhere else (unless it's a timeshare gimmick, in which case I can't afford that kind of free!). But Dongshan prices are reasonable--so check it out! Free hotel rooms and meals?
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TRAVEL LINKS Hakka Earthen architecture Favorite Fujian Sites Photographs of Fuhken places like Zhangzhou, Longyan, Ningde, Sanming, Wuyi MountainFujian Foto Album AmoyMagic-- Travel , Resident and Business Guide to Xiamen and FujianXiamen Gulangyu Kulangyu Kolongsoo Kolongsu KulongsuGulangyu Guide to Fukien Fuhken Fujian Guides Mystic Quanzhou -- the fabled port of Zayton ( or Zaytun Zaitun Zaiton ) from which Marco Polo sailed,  Sinbad the Arab visited.  ChinchewQuanzhou Zhangzhou  changchow Zhangzhou Longyan Yongding Liancheng Changting Amoy Tigers LianchengLongyan Wuyi Mountain Guide Zhuxi  tea Wuyi Mtn Ningde Taimu Mountain ZhouningNingde Putian Fujian Xianyou Mazu TemplePutian Sanming Scenic Wonderland Mingxi Gem bed rubies Sanming
Zhouning Carp VillageZhouning
Hakka Earthen architecture Taimu Mtn. Hakka Earthen architecture Roundhouses Fujian covered wooden bridgesBridges Hakka Earthen architecture Jiangxi Hakka Earthen architecture Guilin Help Build an online  community for foreigners.  Join the Xiamen Guide forumOrder Books
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