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Copyright 2001-7 by Sue Brown & Dr.
Recreation Links Google
Xiamen Tourist Sites
picture's worth 1,000 words!" So check out these beautiful
photos of Xiamen (and Fujian) by award-winning photographer Zhuqing,
postcards by Mr. Bai Hua, or classic B&W photos of Old
Amoy from the collection of historian Hong
Walking History Book"). Or visit the Amoy
Magic Photo Album.
Click Here for Favorite Fujian Destinations
to the beautiful campus
of Xiamen University--a campus by the sea. This is a wonderful place to
stroll around on a sunny morning or afternoon. First head for the lake
in the center of campus. If you walk the paths around the lake you will
discover arched bridges and an island with bronze life-size statues. From
the lake you can see the modern architecture of the new administration
and classroom buildings as well as the original ancient style dormitory
buildings on the opposite sides. Behind those buildings you can hike up
the mountains in the back. There are many trails that lead over the mountain
to the botantical gardens on the other side.
you walk to the East of the lake you will find paths leading to the ancient
style original campus classrooms that surround a football stadium which
has a view of the ocean. The ocean and the beautiful beach road are bordering
the campus. There are beautiful walkways along the beach and benches for
a relaxing time contemplating the waves.
the North side of campus are the bustling campus stores and many small
restaurants. Our favorite restaurant along here is the Lin Duck House.
More about that on the Restaurant page. If you want to take a hike over
the mountain, the easy path is found by heading straight up the road from
the Nan Pu Tuo University Entrance and past the round cafeteria and keep
to your left following the road. They have made a stone path the whole
way over the mountain and then down into the botanical gardens. You first
pass through the military park and veer to the right and down. It is the
back way into the Gardens and it used to be free going that way, but now
I've heard they charge 20rmb per person.
hope you enjoy an outing to the university; it is well worth your time!..C
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learn more about Xiamen University!
Rock Botanical Garden
Fujian Adventure by Dr. Bill Brown)
227 hectare 10,000 Rock Botanical Garden has more
rocks than university cafeteria rice. Millions of tourists and locals
delight in the maze of picturesque paths winding between hills and past
jumbled boulders like "Laughing Rock," many of which bear the
calligraphic inscriptions of the ancients. Tags along the trails give
in Chinese and Latin the names and origins of the plants.
twenty odd nurseries (some very odd ) have over 5,300 kinds of tropical
and sub-tropical plants.
On the peak overlooking Xiamen University is a Military Museum, as well
as the Buddhist nunnery that explains why centuries of Nanputuo monks
have worn so many trails over the Five Old Men Mountains in search of
often enter 10,000 Rocks from Xiamen University on the mountain trail,
just beyond the sign warning, "No Foreigners Beyond This Point."Back
Shan Park (Swan Mountain Park), on South Siming Road, is a nice little
park with a carousel, a small temple for small Buddhists, and a Ferris
wheel that gives the best panoramic view in town. During storms, hilltop
winds blowing both vertically and horizontally create what locals call
"knitted rain"-an umbrella-defying phenomenon can put a damper
on a picnic.
Vaughan) "...I do have one hidden treasure here and that is
Hongshan Park. It is so quiet there and it seems that few people
visit because it is all uphill. But there are plenty of places to sit
along the way, great vistas of Xiamen and the Straits, and a wonderful
tea house on top. Enter through the temple on Siming Nan Lu and it's a
Shan Park (Sun-yatsen Park) commemorates Dr. Sun Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan,
in Mandarin). A statue to the great man bears his granddaughter's inscription,
"The Great Democratic Revolutionary Pioneer Dr. Sun Yat-Sen."
Granted she's biased, but so are the other 1.3 billion Chinese. Every
two-ox town in China has a Zhongshan Park or Zhongshan Road. And recent
reports claim that China is seeking UNESCO World Heritage status for its
36 Sun-yatsen Parks.
to the national slogan, "Less Walls, See Green," solid walls
around all of Xiamen's parks and institutions have come down, replaced
by ornate wrought iron fences and shrubbery, and entry to Zhongshan Park
is now free.
Park has a small zoo, rental paddleboats, and displays and performances
from 0061ll over China. On Lantern Festival Eve, young and old alike parade
around parks and downtown toting traditional cloth or paper lanterns,
or electric plastic lamps shaped like fish, horses, and Mickey Mouse.
Here for more detailed "Nanputuo Temple"
Click Here for "Monk's
Temple's halls and pavilions sprawl across the Five Old Men Mountains
like an oversized Chinese miniature landscape. When built in 686 A.D.,
it was called Sizhou Temple, but during the reign of Kangxi, the name
was changed to Nan Putuo because they worship Guanyin (a goddess who started
out as a god-but I'm sure that happens in California quite a lot).
Signs by the lotus-covered pond urge visitors to "Love Xiamen"
or "Beautify Egret Island." On a stone bench behind the bamboo
grove behind the "Cherish flowers and grass" sign, a youth was
cherishing his flower and embracing the maxim to "Love one another."
Pot-bellied god Milofu (Maitreya)
greets Nanputuo visitors. Amoy folk like him because he's the god of wealth,
but he appears to be in no hurry to pay up. Buddhist sutras claim that
after Buddha rules for 10,000 years, international morality will be so
high that Buddhism will die out, and Milofu will show up 8 million years
compound interest alone will bankrupt him-unless he pays off in Hell Money.
Hell to Pay. Burning a paper replica,
in theory, sends the essence of the real thing to extinguished ancestors
down below. Yellow paper becomes gold; white paper becomes silver. Nowadays,
people burn paper houses, microwaves, television, furniture, cars, Lear
jets-even exquisitely engraved Hell Visa Cards, Hell Passports (with U.S.
visas), and Hell checking account books (not even the Bank of China offers
personal checking yet). Given that Buddhism has 84,136 hells, and needs
may vary, the simplest sacrifice is stacks of Hell Money.
For mere pennies, pilgrims can burn stacks of million dollar bills, the
idea being that folks down below can't tell real money from counterfeit.
Even the poorest denizen of hell might rake in more money in one day than
Bill Gates can make in a year, even with his infernal upgrades.
It must make for some hellish inflation down there.
Hell?! Click These Thumbnails
for photos of fine paper paraphernalia I've seen for sale: Hell cars,
Hell clothes, Hell phones and rice cookers....even paper Hell air conditioners!
Leave it to the Chinese to try to air condition Hell! By the way... I
asked why anyone would send their extinguished ancestors a paper horse
when they could send them a paper Mercedes just as cheaply. I was told,
"Because they don't know how to drive."
Click These Thumbnails for Larger Hellish Images!
inside Nanputuo's gates (past the beggars yelling, "Laoban! Laoban!"
"Boss! Boss!") are the temple tourist shops. The shaven headed
proprietors were too busy watching a Kung Fu movie to notice me as I inventoried
the paraphernalia that pious Buddhists travel from afar to buy: brass
frogs, plastic and brass Buddhas, chant cassette tapes, Chinese dolls,
newly minted ancient coins, porcelain, fake jade and ivory, carved walking
sticks, embroidered purses, and Buddhist rosaries ranging from 20 Yuan
to 600 Yuan. They also had a broad selection of snacks (for self-consumption
or sacrifices), including Pringles potato chips, soft drinks, mineral
water and Red Bull.
But they wouldn't accept Hell Money.
South Fujian Buddhist Institute,
established in 1924, has over 100 monks burning the Buddhist candle at
both ends while studying the Scripture Hall's thousands of rare documents.
When they do sleep they probably dream of the Buddhist nunnery on the
other side of the mountain-or of fresh fish.
finned friends destined for wicked woks gains merit for good Buddhists.
But one wonders why days, months and years of freeing baskets of carp
haven't filled the pond to overflowing. Maybe monks license fishermen
to capture and resell the fish-to pious pilgrims, of course, lest they
endanger some sole's soul. This could explain how the saffron saints afford
their cell phones.
meritorious deeds include feeding freed fish or saving serpents from restaurants.
Pious pilgrims release the snakes in the hills, where I suspect they make
a slithering beeline for our door. A cobra missed me by inches on my back
porch, and three times I've surprised bamboo vipers in the bushes. So
no wonder I nearly jumped out of my skin when I came across a long slim
body stretched across a trail. "It's just a piece of moldy rope,
Dad," Shannon said, and he laughed heartily until he realized he
was nearing the end of his own rope.
Be It! Vegetarian
monks are endlessly creative with mock meat dishes. I've had mock sweet
'n sour ribs (with soy bones, no less!), soy chicken with cashews, and
soy duck with peanuts. The rubbery soy snails even have soy poop on their
pointy little ends. The molded, texturized soy fish have head, tail, gills-even
scales. It's a wonder that some pious pilgrim hasn't rescued a few soyfish
and tossed them into the Pond for Freeing Captive Fish.
(Note: try Amoy Magic's awesome Tofu
Recipes--like tofu cheesecake, or double-tofu lasagna!).
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Huli Hill Fort
Hill Fort, on the beach outside Xiamen University, is
built of sand, clay, camphor tree juice, lime, and glutinous rice. It's
not only impregnable but during a long siege probably edible as well.
The fort boasts the World of Exotic Stones and an exhibition of ancient
weapons, including a 60 ton German Krupp. Built by some big shot in 1896,
this is the last of China's over 100 coastal cannons, and the longest
in the world-longer even than the cannon Napoleon abandoned in Moscow
and now on display in the Kremlin. The Kremlin cannon holds Guinness Records'
#1 spot for now-but we're working on correcting that!
Island Ring Road,
just past Huli Hill, has lanes for hikers, bikers, and roller skaters.
The gardens, lawns and picnic areas are perfect for kite flying. With
good binoculars you can see soldiers patrolling Taiwan-controlled Jinmen,
a mere 3 miles offshore.
Catch the action on Lantern Festival Eve, and Mid Autumn Festival, when
both Jinmen and Xiamen set off spectacular fireworks.
close but so far. It's ironic that the entire world can trade freely with
Taiwan and the mainland, yet the mainland and Taiwan must undergo logistical
contortions to trade with each other. I'm looking to both sides implementing
the San Tong so that my wife and I can travel directly to Taiwan and revisit
the place we were married, and perhaps retrace our honeymoon! Back
No Street Called Straight--Until the 1920s, many of Amoy's half
a million residents lived
within the city walls, which were 30 feet high and 12 feet broad at the
top. The maze of narrow winding streets amazed foreigners. In 1912, Rev.
"The streets are narrow and crooked
ever winding and twisting,
descending and ascending, and finally ending in the great nowhere. The
wayfaring man, tho wise, is bound to err therein. There is no street either
straight, or one even called "Straight" in Amoy.
"The in addition to the crookedness, they must add another aggravation
by making some of them very narrow. There are streets in Amoy so narrow
that you cannot carry an open umbrella
Some streets were crooked because Chinese once believed devils (perhaps
foreign devils included) could only travel in straight lines. Alas, Amoy's
walls are gone, but some of the back alleys of Gulangyu, and downtown
Xiamen (between Zhongshan and Datong Roads) appear little changed.
The alleys are small and dim, but busy. A sidewalk seamstress uses a black
and gold enameled Butterfly sewing machine that could have been bought
from an 1880 Sears catalog. (Peasants in the mountains even use handmade
iron sewing machines!). A goldsmith huddled over a wooden table repairs
jewelry. A granny perches on a hardware store's steps listening to a blind
banjo player. And without exception they'll all serve you tea that probably
set them back a day's wages, and be happy to do it.
As an electrician performed the elegantly simple Minnan Tea Ceremony,
I asked where he'd learned his excellent English.
"From books," he said. "And listening to the radio. The
same way I learned to repair electric appliances."
"What can you repair?" I asked.
"Anything that's in the books!" he said.
With its intricate web of six lane highways, ring roads, clover leafs
and tunnels, it's hard to imagine that only a decade ago most Xiamen roads
were narrow, dingy and dark. Much has changed. The new Xiamen is much
cleaner and easier to get around in-but it's an education and a step back
in time to stroll umbrella roads and watch vintage gentlemen in long Chinese
coats, beards to their bellies, arms locked behind them, deep in thought.
Tour guides don't tout umbrella roads, but I like them. They lead to treasures
like the first Protestant Church in China.
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First Protestant Church!
A pictorial on China's Western Religious Architecture says Xinjie Church
brazenly boasts being China's "#1 Church. The authors misread the
plaque. It means Xinjie was China's first protestant church, not the most
important. Hence Xiamen's nickname, "Birthplace of Chinese Protestantism."
Xinjie was built in 1848 on the narrow path behind Zhon`gshan Road (behind
the pharmacy). Today, over 1,000 worshippers pack it out on Sunday mornings
and afternoons. The basement bookstore is especially interesting. China
now prints so many kinds of Bibles and Christian books, so cheaply, that
I've known Chinese Christians from other Asian countries come here to
Xinjie is especially festive at Christmas. Many churches (and stores and
restaurants) leave their Christmas trees and plastic Santas up year round,
and Christians and non-Christians alike enjoy the churches' Christmas
Eve concerts. I like the canned Christmas music, which includes classic
hymns like Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Frosty the Snowman
and Jingle Bells.
Wet Noodles I always wondered how Chinese Christians 'break
bread ' together without bread. Maybe hundreds of chopsticks in a giant
rice bowl? Xinjie, it turned out, serves neither rice nor bread, but cold,
wet noodles, cut in little squares, like floppy Scrabble tiles. Its tough
breaking wet noodles but I liked the chewy texture. And one dose of Chinese
wine made it clear why communion cups are so tiny. Alas, Xinjie has modernized.
They now use imported circular flat communion wafers that look and taste
like Styrofoam. Granted, the little crosses stamped on them add a nice
touch. It would be hard to stamp crosses on squares of wet noodle. But
I miss the noodles. Maybe they still use them in Trinity Church on Gulangyu
Islet, our planet's only Piano Island.
Click Here for "Discover
see: Gulangyu Postcards
& Gulangyu Architecture
Largest Piano Museum is on Gulangyu
Islet, which has delighted Laowai and Laonei for centuries. Xiamen invested
nearly 1 billion Yuan relocating 16 factories off-islet to preserve this
botanical and cultural oasis, which is only a ten-minute ferry ride from
downtown Xiamen.Gulangyu Islet Prohibits Cars and Bikes. Visitors hear
nothing but pounding surf, crying seabirds, shouting vendors selling maps
and handicrafts, pleading beggars (Laoban!-Boss!) -all against the background
of countless children practicing piano.
19th century missionaries arrived in Amoy with bibles in one hand and
pianos in the other. Very big hands, I suspect.
has more pianos per capita than any place in China-one in every five homes!
Graduates of the Amoy Musical Academy and other schools have achieved
international recognition, and not a week passes that you can't enjoy
a recital or orchestral performance somewhere in town. Xiamen emphasizes
Chinese as well as Western classical music. The unique Xiamen Nanyin (Southern
Music) Musical Troup preserves and performs the 1000 year old music that
Chinese call "living music fossil" and "divine oriental
Armed with an English Gulangyu map that you'll buy from the hordes of
vendors, and the list of 69 Gulangyu sites in my book "Amoy Magic"
(page 69), you can visit Sunlight Rock, the Overseas Chinese Subtropical
Garden (with over 1,000 species), Underwater World, and take in the broad
variety of Asian and Westerng colonial architecture. Visitors can take
an electric tour car, or should they fancy being a Mandarin for a day,
they can be borne on litters by costumed young men. But the most leisurely
way to see Gulangyu is a stroll around the perimeter-past beaches, tropical
gardens, and exquisite colonial villas once occupied by European merchants,
rich overseas Chinese, and the staff of 13 countries' consulates.
has spent over 76 million Yuan on the Gulangyu Historical Heritage Preservation
Plan to preserve buildings like the three-storied Former Spanish Consulate.
Built in 1850, the oldest embassy building still in existence is now a
hotel. Also interesting are the former U.S. Consulate (1865), and the
Japanese, Dutch and French embassies.
Trinity Church (1930s) has a "neo-classical"
design, and the 1917 Catholic church, beside the former Spanish embassy
is neo-Gothic. (This is the only church in Xiamen with English services.)
The two-storied Danish Telegraph Office is surrounded on all sides by
an arched colonnade. The three-storied Agricultural Bank, erected as a
court in 1905, combines many European styles. Huang Rongyuan's three-storied
mansion, on Fujian road, is said to resemble a 17th century Italian palazzo
Koxinga statue and Sunlight Rock
(accessible by cable car or 93 millions steps) are Gulangyu's trademarks.
From Sunlight Rock, the great patriot directed his troops' training. From
Sunlight Rock's peak you can steal a great glimpse of Gulangyu and Xiamen
Island. And after you've forked out 40 Yuan to climb the rock you'll really
wish you'd just stolen that great glimpse.
Famous Foreigners. Laowai have been
visiting Amoy for over 700 years, and many famous foreigners, as well
as Chinese like the esteemed writer Lin Yutang, have done time in Amoy.
of Tropical Medicine"
The adventurous Scotsman Patrick Manson, made his epic medical discoveries
here in Xiamen. At first, locals were suspicious of Dr. Manson's claim,
"I've come to serve you!" "Serve us for dinner is more
likely!" they probably thought. For centuries, the Chinese had heard
rumors about red-haired barbarians stewing Chinese babies, or using their
eyeballs to make mirrors.
practical Scotsman opened his clinic to the street so everyone could see
what he was really up to. But Chinese were not reassured when he sliced
open patients with a scalpel-which for all they knew came in sets, with
a fork and spoon.
mosquito-malaria connection was first suspected by Dr. Manson right here
on Xiamen! He researched ailments by dissecting everything from cats and
dogs to birds and insects. Chinese abhorred the very idea of taking a
cleaver to a cadaver, so the good doctor cut open a corpse in the graveyard,
in the dead of night. Brave man. But he never messed with magpies! Chinese
Chinese revered magpies because an ancient Emperor had supposedly entered
one after death.
Manson defeated diseases that had baffled other Western doctors. And he
won the trust of locals, who lined up by the hundreds outside his clinic.
After he left Amoy for Hong Kong, Dr. Manson founded a medical society
and the Hong Kong College of Medicine. One early pupil was none other
than Sun Yat-sen!
Tan Kak Kee, Sun-Yat-Sen, Manson, Brattain, and many others have helped
Xiamen make quite an impact on this little planet. Xiamen even helped
America gain independence by catering the Boston Tea Party (the Anxi tea
went out through Amoy harbor).
suffered a century of foreign occupation, and even when our family arrived
in '88, what is now the beautiful ring road was just a dirt road winding
through military camps. But Xiamen has turned her swords into ploughshares
and roads (and pillboxes into beach houses!). Now Shannon and Matthew
can stand down.
Good job, men!
former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said. He was speaking of the exquisite
in-side painting technique used traditionally on snuff bottles and globes-one
of the many crafts that foreign shoppers snap up on Gulangyu Islet. Glass
Christmas balls, also painted from the inside, are as up to snuff as the
snuff bottles. And they will hand paint your name on the inside of any
of these items!
Exotic paper parasols conjure up images of Japanese geishas, but they
originated centuries ago right here in Fujian. Japanese are so taken by
oiled paper parasols that they even use giant versions as beach umbrellas.
Blend Chinese calligraphy with Chinese Painting and you'll have the art
practiced by several artists who will transform your name, whether it
be Bob or Bartholomew, or anything else you care to say in a unique way,
into a lovely work of Chinese art!
The Pearl of Great Price must have been on Gulangyu because one
of our American visitors spent $2,500 on pearls at Pearl
World! I can't tell a real pearl from paste costume jewelry,
but Laowai in the know claim Pearl World has the best prices and selection,
and are reliable. Whether this is true or not, the Pearl World owners
were certainly happy about the big sale, and gave me a free pair of earrings!
But I've never worn them; I wasn't in California that long.
Aquarium! See sea creatures when you've seen enough of
everything else! Gulangyu's aquarium,
one of China's best, has a greater variety of sealife than you'll find
anywhere outside a Cantonese restaurant.
#1! For all the sightseeing and shopping, Gulangyu's greatest attraction
remains her people. These friendly folk are never to busy to stop in their
tracks, even when so busy they're in danger of derailing, and inviting
you to "Have some tea!" Which brings us to the subject of pots.
you're going to pot, you might want to check out Gulangyu shops' endless
selection of teapots! Every size and shape imaginable. Every price too.
Some cost thousands of Yuan, but they are said to not only to improve
the tea but also to cure all that ails you.
Just off Island--
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the causeway from Xiamen is Tan Kah Kee's home and tomb ("The Turtle
Garden"). Mr. Tan's memorial has an incredible display of stone relief
carvings with intricate details, carved by stonemasons from Hui'an (next
chapter). One reminds me of a Socialists 'Last Supper.'
Ancient Tong An is half an hour north of Jimei. Centuries ago, Xiamen
was part of Tong An, whose claim to fame lies in being the residence of
Su Song, who 1,000 years ago invented the first astronomical clock, and
compiled the influential Materia Medica. The Confucian temple has an interesting
museum, and a large display of ancient carvings, including one that reminds
me of Garfield cat. But everything else was invented in China so why not
Garfield as well?
Tong An also boasts several unique temples, a waterfall, and a newly discovered
Haicang Safari Park
the Xiamen suspension bridge, in Haicang, the Safari Park is the closest
I've gotten to Australia yet! Kangaroos, emus-and some snakes big enough
to get revenge on connoisseurs of serpent soup.
in Haicang, was built in memory of
the legendary Song Dynasty physician Wu Tao. He even cured Emperor Rengzong's
Commoners were not allowed to touch royalty, so he had her hold one end
of a silk thread, and he felt her pulses through the other end. Her life
was literally hanging by a thread, but he saved her.
his death, he was proclaimed a "medical saint," and grateful
villagers pooled their funds to build a hall and statue in his memory.
In 1161, the Emperor gave the Hall the title of Ciji Temple, and in 1241
it was renamed Ciji Palace.
Fujian Sites Fujian
Foto Album Xiamen
Last Updated: May 2007
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