Xiamen: Arrival

February 25th, 2012

Ni hao!

So, the journey begins… I am struggling to stay awake but I’m determined to go to bed at the proper time, forcing my circadian rhythm into another place after yesterday’s flight. So far today (on 23/24 Feb), I have eaten in one of the most incredible fish restaurants overlooking the bay, where every specimen was alive and fresh (before being cooked…). Alas, I forgot to take my camera/video camera, too. I’m tired, that’s my excuse. So, after the gargantuan (and rather delicious) meal, a visit to the local three-storey ‘Walmart’


for some basic provisions, stares at my rather overgrown hirsuteness and, after an encounter with some quite frankly Cavalier traffic/pedestrian manoeuvres, I arrive at my place of residence for the next 6 weeks or so, just opposite Zhongshan Park on Gongyuan Xi Lu:



‘Security’ reasons prohibit me from uploading videos so, as if I’d prepared for the worst, here’s an audio recording taken from the balcony outside my room yesterday evening:

Gongyuan Xi Lu, 24/02/12

Day two (Feb 25) began with much street noise, loud radios and a meal that looked like this:



In picture #1, one can clearly see the dish of sweet butter beans, the bowl of spicy chicken claws and a plate of stuff I can’t remember; picture #2 shows the main course of black fish (the vast quantity of cooked, chopped chillies were removed shortly before this picture was taken) with vegetables and other spices; picture #3 shows a large pan of watery soup containing more leafy vegetables, strange potato stick things, sweetcorn and mystery meat (pork, I’m told).

After this never-ending feast (enough to feed WAY more than two people), I had my hair cut. After the initial greeting from the shop’s staff in a manner that would put many European establishments of ANY kind to shame, a discussion of how to cut a beard was afoot, none of the staff having had to cut a beard EVER before. So, after a series of events (wash/cut/wandering how the hell to cut a beard/dry/wash #2/dry #2 – standard procedure, apparently) it was done. I look vaguely different.

Much of the activities accomplished so far would not have been negotiated with such consummate ease if it weren’t for the fantastic Lei Bi (picture #4), who will be helping me to translate and get my bearings generally over the course of the residency, God help her…!

Tonight’s activities involve going to this gig:

So, until the next post, Zai jain