Golden Week!

Hello Friends!!

So, last Saturday (October 1st) was the 62nd anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, or National Day. Woo! Exciting!! There were parades and banners and all sorts of fun activities, but in the spirit of honesty, I missed it all. Yeah….I slept a lot that day. But! I did see some cool parades on my Chinese television, heard many fireworks being shot off from inside my room, and saw many celebratory banners around campus. Wow, typing it out really makes me feel pathetic about my lack in participation that day. I am sorry to disappoint!

Something I definitely did participate in, however, was Golden Week! “Golden Week” is the name given to two annual 7-day national holidays in the People’s Republic of China, one beginning in January or February for the Spring Festival, and another beginning on October 1st in celebration of National Day. Golden week includes 3 days of paid holiday for employees and students, and the surrounding weekends are moved around so that the celebration continues for 7 consecutive days. It was originally implemented in 2000, in order to increase domestic travel and improve morale. I had a wonderful celebration, and in light of Golden Week’s original intentions, I went traveling in Fujian Province!

First, we went to Wuyishan (武夷山), or Mt. Wuyi, to have some much needed time away from the city in the beautiful mountains of China. The city of Wuyishan itself was under construction – there were barely any solid roads or buildings, and dust and dirt hung in the air so heavily I could feel it in my lungs. Many of the restaurants served only the freshest foods. Outside the restaurant, they had tables displaying different vegetables, eggs and fruits you could personally choose and have them cooked for you. Oh, and also, fresh meats. As in…live animals. Yep, killed and cooked on the spot! I ate pretty vegetarian for those couple of days.

But the pride and joy of Mt. Wuyi is its extensive nature park, a large area of land meant for hiking and touring around the beautiful, fog-surrounded mountains, clear streams and miles of tea plantations. We spent two days here, hiking and enjoying some scenery very different from that of Shanghai.

Some views of the mountain. So beautiful!!

After Wuyishan, we took a really rough overnight train to Xiamen, a beach town on the coast of mainland China, very close to Taiwan. We stayed on an island in a few different hostels – the first one was in the middle of one of the biggest fresh seafood markets in the country (EW!) and the second one right on the beach. It was amazing! The weather was warm and sunny, and we spent one day exploring the city (we found an amusement park!) and the next two lounging on the beach and enjoying the sun.

This is the beach. Isn’t it amazing? My favorite part were the fishing boats floating close to the beach, and the mountains looming in the distance.

I loved sitting on this rock and looking out onto the amazing Xiamen horizon and seeing city lights, mountains, and water as far as the eye can see. It was everything I could have asked for!

The trip was phenomenal. It was the breath of fresh air I had been anticipating, and needing. Shanghai is great, but I am starting to think the big city isn’t necessarily for everyone. More on that later! Thanks for reading, and as usual, click on the image for a larger and more clear view. Until next time.

Namaste,

Hallie

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