Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Hongkeng & Tianluokeng earth house clusters, Xiamen, Fujian

Excerpts from my 'offline blog'

8th April 2010


...we visited two other clusters today, the Hongkeng cluster (of which the agent Mr Lin’s earth house is a part) and the Tianluokeng cluster. The day really wasn’t that interesting, partly because of the rain, and partly because these clusters are already quite commercialised. The ground floor of many of the houses have already been converted into shops, and many of the units in the houses have become guesthouses. You feel a lot less voyeuristic (and guilty), but the life of the people that is part of the tulou culture is also lost. The fact that it kept on pouring didn’t help, and we were eager to finish visiting all the spots. It’s a pity, though, that the heavy fog prevented us from seeing the panoramic view of the Tianluokeng cluster, which is also nicknamed ‘Four Dishes and One Soup’ because the cluster resembles dishes on a table.

We left Yongding around noon and headed back to Xiamen. It took us three hours, and it’s another bumpy and tiring trip. @_@ We didn’t have lunch, as planned, as we were really quite fed up with the MSG food. We were really relieved when we arrived at the hotel, the historical four-star (so-called) hotel Lujiang. The hotel’s location is unbeatable, as it’s right next to the ferry pier overlooking Gulangyu islet. The hardware was pretty disappointing though. The staff was unfriendly, unhelpful, inflexible, unprofessional (they didn’t know a really famous resto that we wanted to book). Basically it proved once again that if you’re paying the same hefty price, you really should go for an international chain instead! At least this is the case in China!

Xiamen the city is also quite disappointing. I thought Zhongshan Road and the surrounding area would be quite happening as it’s supposedly the downtown in Xiamen. How untrue this is! The streets were eerily quiet, and there were lots of malls with no shoppers inside. As S said, it’s even worse than Guangzhou! @_@ We couldn’t even find a proper resto for a good meal, something we had been deprived of in the past two days. We ended up in a food court in the hope that we could find some Xiamen street food. Needless to say, the meal was rubbish. *sigh*

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