We have finally made it to the heat we have been craving. Xiaman seems like the real China, grubby back streets, open houses merging into restaurants, no English signs, heat, humidity and lung clogging air pollution.
But, our planning has failed us, although the reviews for our hostel all say great location, we are not sure why. It is about an hour’s walk from the main drag, the ferry to Taiwan, the ferry to Gulang Yu, temples, parks absolutely everything, it is all the other end of town. The place is having a subway added, all stations seem to be being excavated at the same time so everywhere you walk there are massive holes and disruption, as there is no subway there is only buses to use which are not useful for us.
We are getting used to the heat and humidity, a bonus of the heat is we can get washing done here, first job of a Saturday morning is to put 2 loads of washing on and hang it out. Guy is happy.
We get outside and are sweating and hungry, so what do you eat when you are sweaty and hungry? Chilli!
All the cooks in the restaurant came to watch the ‘waiguoren’ eat the spicy noodles, Dan Dan mian. I was wearing a white shirt…..it is now in the wash. They were lush, this is our favourite Chinese dish along with Zhajiangmian, which is very similiar. Like Chinese spag bog for you English heathens!
We then walked for miles, my fitbit can testify to that, through parks, subway building sites spraying mists of water everywhere, food streets, past interesting back streets and then the usual redeveloped roads and shop fronts made to look like colonial buildings. With the covered walkways and Asian feel it reminded us of Penang.
We made it to the water front, rested on a bench and peered through the smog to the next island. No sooner had we parked our arses and looked forward to a few moments peace and quiet when the locals started playing the Erhu and screeching along to it, through an amp. How the bloke next to us managed to carry on snoring I have no idea.
Eardrums blown we carried on walking, through the back end of the port, off the tourist trail, understandably!
We then looked skyward and saw an above ground transport system seemingly overgrown with bougainvillia and ivy. It seemed impossible to think this was a system to transport people about. We spied escalators so decided we had energy to investigate. It is a raised bus route, buses in the sky or BRT. Lonely planet said nothing about this phenomenon. Thanks! No signs were in English, the map was only vaguely familiar but we paid 6p each and boarded the bus in the sky.
It took us closer to home, a mere 40 min walk home now. We decided to waste time queuing to try and buy tickets for our overnight train when we return from Taiwan, only to find out you cannot buy tickets more than 5 days in advance.
Guy needed a burger, a Mos burger, so we stopped and had a dirty burger accompanied by chicken nuggets (instead of the usual French fries!!!???)