|Oct 20 - Yawn, long day on the train. 7 hours on the milk run from Shanghai to Xiamen. Maybe the plane would have been better, did not even think about it at the time. It's amazing how you can spend 7 hours on a train going 200KM/H and every time you look out the window you see buildings of some sort. How do you know when one city ends and another starts. What is in all those factories? Is it something I have used before? Maybe? I will never know.
Oct 21 - Went by ferry today to the small tourist island of Gulang-yu. It is a national park of sorts, and motorized vehicles are banned there. I don't think I even saw a bike. It was nice not to worry about getting hit crossing the street. By the way in China traffic laws, he who honks the longest and loudest has the right of way. Alicia would kill me if I honked or attempted to honk her horn the way it is done in Asia. I always lean over to honk her horn, and then get a backhand to the chest.
Back to Gulang-yu, there is little shops and resteraunts all over. Lots of monuments and statues to look at, and a peak great for picture taking. I can tell I am off the beaten western tourist path today, did not see another white person among the crowds, and by the stares I got, I am sure not many westerners make it out here. The shops did not bother me, it was nice. Total price to take a bus from the Hostel, get on a ferry, and return back to hostel on bus, 10Yuan ($1.60). Price of bottle of Coke 5Yuan ($0.80). Price of 30min shoulder massage 25Yuan ($4.00). Not being at Ekati today - priceless.
Oct 22 - The great thing about travelling without a set schedule is you never know where life will take you. Today I woke up in Xiamen, knowing very little about this place, hust last week I did not know it existed. I looked at wikitravel for ideas of what to do and off to Hulishan Fortress I went. Lots of places I have visited I had no idea about until I get there. Hulishan was build in the late 1800's to ward off Japanese invasions, and reading around the site, it worked, as the Japanese could not land here. They had some relics of cannons inside a walled fortress. Being the weekend, I was bombarded by the Chinese flag waving, hat wearing tour groups again. They are every where.
A short walk from there was the Nanputuo Temple complex. It is built all up the mountain side, with lots of small worshipping enclaves and such. You get the usual buildings enshrining a golden buddah that you can not take pictures of and the locals pray too and offer incense and money. I enjoy the smell at these shrines, the incense is in the air, but no to thick to choke you.
After a short nap at the hostel, I decided to check out the night life in Bailuzhou Park. An area surrunded by a lake, with walking paths and such. It is fun, I was walking around the paths, and again you never know what you will see next, as I entered an auditorium area, there must of been 400 people dancing in the dark to the call of numbers. Across the road was Bay Park area, and this is were the night life happens by the sound of it. I found a little place that had live music and food and stopped in for a while. Nice little evening out.
Oct 23 - Nothing importanat planned for today. Just walk and get lost in the alleys and see how China runs away from tourists. Days like this is a lot of thinking and day dreaming. Planning the next parts of your trip and so on. Getting a bit home sick at times. Miss the pace and comfort of home. The over crowding is so much here with narrow roads and tall buildings. You feel very inclosed some times.