Stop #1: I got into a cab and pointed to the Maritime Museum address written in Chinese in my guidebook (told you I’m a nerd). The driver dropped me off at what appeared to be an all-in-one drab looking city museum with maritime history on one floor, Quanzhou’s history in the “foreign world” on another and a mild attempt at a student art museum in the basement.
Marco Polo once described Quanzhou as the most important port in Asia. (Okay, I’m becoming a serious Chinese history nerd).The city also has an eclectic culture for Eastern China; it’s super close to Taiwan and it once had a strong Muslim population. Unfortunately that was all wiped out with a pretty serious economic collapse during the Opium Wars and most of Quanzhou’s hard working trade port citizens had to flee to other Asian port cities to work. All this info made for very culturally enriching wandering potential, however.
Stop #4: The last point on the Lonely Planet list was at the other end of town so I gave up and wandered around the city center for the evening. I got some food, walked around a park, and found some clothing markets (those are always open and never under construction in China). Dodged more motorbikes, finally gave up and found a taxi to take me home. We were in traffic for 20 minutes because of all the bikes at the center of town.
Heading north from Xiamen only to head back south down Fujian province to Hong Kong was a bit of a backtrack but the seaside city wall in the breezy and not so jammed packed (!) Chonwu made it all worth it.
This was my Sunday afternoon of my Quanzhou/Chonwu weekend pre-Hong Kong trip.
A break from China you ask? In Hong Kong? But isn’t Hong Kong in China? Please refer to next post for further explanation.