Written by Johnson Wen October 11.2011
Last weekend was Double Ten Day; therefore we had 3 days off. I planned a trip. My close classmates and their families the total number of people on the trip was 32 went sightseeing to Xiamen Island. We took the direct links between Kinmen and Xiamen there. First, we all checked in at Kaohsiung Airport at 6AM on October 8th. The departure time of the flight was 6:45. We arrived in Kinmen at 07:45. Then we made a short stop at Juguang Tower(莒光樓). It is the landmark of Kinmen. We purchased some famous local delicacies, such as thin noodles, peanut candy and Kaoliang liquor. After shopping, we took the ferry from the Kinmen Port to Xiamen Island by the west sea lanes. We arrived at Dountu(東渡) Pier in the west of Xiamen Island. The security check was strict for international passengers. They used security dogs to smell your belongings to see if you had any drugs or fruit with you even after the port screening check.
The sea connection between Kinmen and Xiamen Island was very convenient for us. We could save much time doing this rather than indirect route using the Hong Kong Airport.
Xiamen, with an area of 1,573 square kilometers, is a scenic city. There are 7 administrative districts in the Xiamen City. Xiamen Island is a small part of Xiamen City. People often call it Egret Island, because a flock of egrets dwell there. Xiamen is a special economic zone for Mainland China; it is in the southeast of Chinese Coast. The population of Xiamen City is 3,600,000.
On the opposite side of Xiamen Island is Kinmen. It has an area of 150 square kilometers; the area of Xiamen Island is almost equal to the Kinmen Island. The population of Kinmen Island is only 60,000. Xiamen is a big city with a lot of modern high rises and five star restaurants. Compared with Kinmen, obviously, Xiamen City is very crowded.
During our stay on the Xiamen Island, we went to Gulangyu(鼓浪嶼) by ferry. It is a very small offshore island on the west side of Xiamen Island. It is very popular for its old fashioned western buildings. There are many very old foreign consulates there that are no longer operated. In order to preserve these monuments that are over 150 years old, the Xiamen City Government prohibits anyone from changing these valuable sites. Only restorations of these sites are permitted. On the islands, the scenery with water, piano museum, temples, beach, yacht, western buildings and mountains is as beautiful as a painting or poem. It attracts many brides and bridegrooms wanting wedding pictures taken there. The small island, Gulangyu(鼓浪嶼), is full of tourists. In developing China, no matter where you go, tourists always fill the landscape. Mainland China is stronger and richer than the past 30 years, especially in the coastal areas/regions. This is a fact. We can’t deny it. Sightseeing in Mainland China is another experience. The street in Gulangyu(鼓浪嶼) was very crowded with a lot of tourists, but there were no cars, or no motorcycles. There were only bicycles. Except for the shuttle bus for tourists, all traffic is equal, they just walk anywhere on this small island. The air was very fresh. There was no pollution. We all felt comfortable. People living in Gulangyu(鼓浪嶼) are proud of their beautiful island and affluence. They think that they are the real citizens of Xiamen City.
We also went to many main beautiful spots, such as Xiamen University, Yundang Lake(篔簹湖), Bailuzhou Park (Egret Park) (白鷺洲公園), Nanputue Temple(南普陀寺), Cing Jiao Ci-ji Temple (青礁慈濟宮), Hu li-shan Fort(胡里山砲台).We went shopping downtown on the main street(Zhongshan Street). There were a lot of ancient cannons in the Hu li-shan Fort. The biggest caliber gun was 11 inch. There was a very good show in the Hu li-shan Fort twice per day. The actors playing the role of soldiers and officers wore uniforms from the Chin Dynasty. They demonstrated military training, operations, fire control and attack procedures. In the last program, they used a dummy cartridge to fire the cannon. We all were surprised by the unexpected sound of the explosion.
During our trip, all of these sightseeing activities connected the culture and history to show the military training, operating cannon procedures, religion, good food, customs and practices. It was attractive for many tourists. I was fascinated by the wonderful scenery of Xiamen Island.
When we ended our daily itinerary, we all felt very tired. At this moment, massage was our choice. We all selected a massage to relax our muscles and rest. A foot bath with massage is very popular. My wife and I like it very much. The price was $500 NT per 90 minutes. Compared with Taiwan, the price is relatively expensive. The monthly wage of the blue-collar class is only $10,000NT in Xiamen. In Taiwan, the price of a foot bath with massage is only $600 NT per 90 minutes. But we could happily enjoy it and recover our physical strength quickly; it was an additional custom value and worth paying for. Sometimes, something can’t be measured by money. After a foot bath with massage, we all slept well at night and had energy to enjoy the next activity on the itinerary.
On October 10th, we took the east sea lane to return Kinmen on schedule. It is a shorter route. Compared with the west sea lane, we could save 20 minutes. We took the ferry at the Wutong Dock(五通碼頭) in the east of Xiamen Island to leave for Kinmen at 11AM. At noon, we transferred to the airplane and flew back to Kaohsiung at 1 PM. We all had a blast on the Double Ten Day vacation.