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FOOD OF THE GODS AT THE TEMPLE NANPUTO. Shanghai and Beijing are no more “China” than New York is America, or London is England, or Rome and Paris are Italy and France. In the past decade, China has become one of the most accessible countries to travel in, in the world. Trains that travel at…
FOOD OF THE GODS AT THE TEMPLE NANPUTO.
Shanghai and Beijing are no more “China” than New York is America, or London is England, or Rome and Paris are Italy and France. In the past decade, China has become one of the most accessible countries to travel in, in the world. Trains that travel at 450km/h, luxury coaches traversing China from one city to another, with sleeping berths, video movies, and very VERY companionable fellow travelers. What’s more, travel in China is cheap, hotels are equally cheap, and, while not yet universal, there are sufficient English speakers in China to make your stay a delight.
And that’s before you get to the shopping! Let’s go to Xiamen., a glorious subtropical seaside paradise on the southeast coast, just a stone’s throw from Taiwan.
Xiamen, is a city in the famous Fujian Province, where tea is a legendary experience.
Tea drinking in is a vital part of the daily life and it is no surprise that the Fujian tea Dà Hóng Páo, a premium variety of Wuyyi Oolong could set you back a cool $20,000 for just 25 grams. Of course, if you are in Xiamen during one of the many festivals and trade fairs you can sample some of the most exquisite teas on the planet without having to sell your house and mortgage your children.
Our second ‘adopted’ daughter got married last year and we were privileged to be seated at the VIP table in the huge dining room at the TEMPLE NANPUTO in Xiamen, and experience a Buddhist wedding.
Tea, of course plays a major part in the festivities. The new bride must make tea for the groom’s immediate family in return for a hong bao or red packet, a gift that contains money. Tea and tea leaves are vital parts of prayer,being offered up to Buddha and to deceased relatives.
Xiamen is actually an island, the name translating to ‘gateway to China’. It is subtropical, close to Taiwan, with many of the inhabitants of Taiwanese origin. If you are visiting Shanghai or Hong Kong, a mere RMB 400 ($65 USD) will get you a one and a half hour flight to Xiamen, a visit you will never forget.
Ann and Abs decided on a traditional Buddhist wedding, and of course the obvious place was the magnificent Temple of Nanputo. The original temple is over 1000 years old, but has largely been rebuilt. It is nevertheless quite beautiful and attracts millions of visitors each year. One thing to remember though that it is not just a tourist attraction but an active place of worship.
Xiamen is easy to get to from Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong. Over the past decade, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent to make travel within China easy, and extraordinarily cheap. .While flying is the quickest way, and very cheap, if you have the time you can travel by luxury coach, fast train, or take if you prefer, a slow boat, you can travel by sea and enjoy the special treatment you would expect from a three star hotel, at a fraction of the cost.
The city itself is easily accessible by taxi and public transport too, and it it well worth taking a trip around the island and taking in the view.
There are plenty of star rated hotels too, but remember one thing. If you travel anywhere in China during their public holidays, especially their National Days and Spring Festival you may find it more difficult to find a place to stay. The Chinese have taken to travel in a big way, and with ultra fast transport, cheap and reliable, you would be well advised to avoid those particular holidays.
If you visit Xiamen, be sure to buy plenty of tea. You won’t find better tea anywhere in the world, and compared to the price you would pay in the west, if you are a tea drinker you will be in for a very special treat.
Many overseas Chinese call Xiamen home, and many have returned to live there having spent many years abroad, so English is widely spoken.
With over 200 guests, the night was a stunning success, and we made many more friends. With the exception of one Filipino lady we were the only ’round eyes’, and we were greeted with many hugs and handshakes. Who would have thought that fifteen years ago, in a small, poor village we would meet the little girl who would become our ‘adopted’ daughter and give us so much pleasure.
For anyone thinking of marrying in the near future, the Buddhist temple at Nanputo would make a remarkable venue.
Just a note on the dress, the ceremony and the shoes. Ann made her own wedding dress, and the red shoes cost just RMB 80 ($12 US.) The dress, just RMB 200 ($32 USD) and the entire wedding party RMB 4000 including the dress and shoes.. In total $650 USD.
In a later blog I will tell the story of our two ‘adopted’ daughters, Michelle, and Ann. And may YOUR God go with you.
Food was amazing and vegetarian.