We began the day by going to the University for lunch. The bus was pretty packed! Janny had given us a voucher so we could have a meal in one of the campus dining halls. The system seemed more confusing than it should have been for us – maybe we were just tired!
We got a plateful each and sat down in a quiet area of the dining hall. We were immediately surrounded by other diners, even though there was loads of room elsewhere. Maybe we should just take it as a compliment!
I enjoyed our last walk through the beautiful campus, and we popped into the souvenir shop to pick up something for Rob’s mam.
The picture below shows one of the gates to a student hall of residence, decorated for New Year.
We left the campus and headed back towards the beach, along with everyone else in China, or so it seemed. We went a couple of stops on the packed bus and then practically burst out of it with relief when we got close enough to our destination to walk.
We got off and walked along the coast road a few kilometres until we reached an area known as ‘Little Gulan’ as it’s sort of similar to the commercial district on Gulangyu. The main theme of this busy shopping area was, if course, food.
One of the first stalls we came across was a place doing duck pancakes with fresh cucumber. You can smell them for miles. I couldn’t resist getting some, and they were fantastic.
As you can see, the streets were jam packed, so we decided to stop off here and there along the way to have a rest and a drink.
This is a common sales technique which seems to work. The stall holders clearly know that the smell of your food will sell it! Lots of stalls have a fan blowing over their hot food to spread the smell, and cured meat stands often have a strip of meat attached to a spinner to do the same job.
If you’re feeling lucky you can try hacking open a shell to see if there are any pearls inside. I’ve never once seen anyone doing this apart from the shop owners!
After a while the impossible happened and we came across a tea shop / restaurant with no one inside. The buildings and courtyard were really beautiful, so we decided to stop and escape the crowd for a while.
It was a really peaceful spot away from the noise and crowd. Rob made friends with the dog and had a drink, and I had some lovely tea, a popular local one called tie guan yin.
After a little while a local couple came over to say hello, and we shared a few drinks and some tea and chatted for a while. As it started to get dark we headed off to find something tasty to take home for tea.
On our way back to the main road we happened to find a tiny place where there was live music. Once he finished playing, one of the performers explained it was a folk bar. We went in and listened to some songs, and Rob played a couple too, getting some surprise harmonica from the guy who had been playing guitar earlier.
We got a taxi back and we went to have some food and a drink on the roof of the building. It was a nice view with the stars and the lights from the taller buildings around.
We went to XMU campus first of all, to meet Janny and to have a look at the parts of the campus I hadn’t yet seen. As it was the first day of the new year, it seemed like everyone had had the same idea, as the campus and the area around it are popular tourist destinations. The place was really packed!
The campus is really beautiful, and was looking fantastic now the sun was out. Even the fountains were on near the main gate.
One of the popular places on campus is a long tunnel which connects two areas underneath a road. You can walk or cycle through. It’s very long, and is the only place I’ve seen graffiti. Murals have been done by various groups of students, and are changed every so often. There are lots of pop culture ones featuring popular characters from TV or films, and also plenty relating to various disciplines studied at the university.
After we’d walked the tunnel twice, we met up with Janny to say thank you for all of her help with organising us! It was lovely to see her and we exchanged gifts and had a chat.
The campus was decorated for Spring festival with lots of floral displays and lanterns hanging up.
When we left the campus we walked by Nanputuo Temple which was closed and deserted. It looked even more peaceful than usual without all the people inside.