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Today’s trip was a little further up the Fujian coast to Quanzhou. Quanzhou used to be an important stop on the maritime silk route and was visited by Marco Polo, who called in Zaiton and raved about it.
The minibus only took about two hours to get there and the trip was incident free, which came as a relief after the last two days. Our first port of call was Kaiyuan Temple. The temple was built in the 7th century AD and originally called Lotus Temple after a Buddhist monk made all the trees bloom with lotus flowers. The temple grounds were beautiful but unfortunately we didn’t have much time there.
We then visited the Maritime Museum which housed some really interesting exhibits including old Chinese ship designs and maritime technology. It was also amusing to read the captions which usually went something like “… invented in China many hundred years before it was first used in the west…”
We then had a good lunch in the Xiamen Airlines hotel before moving on to see the Guandi Temple. The temple is dedicated to Guan Yu the Three Kingdoms hero and God of War. It was full of local
worshippers going through an elaborate ritual to have their fortunes told. Wulf, one of the other ex-pat teachers, went through it and was told he would meet the love of his life next February.
We then went next-door to the Qingjing Mosque, which dates back to the Tang Dynasty. Though part of it lay in ruins it was an interesting visit, particularly all the Korans and other artefacts donated by Muslims from around the world.
All in all it was a really interesting trip but it would have been nice to spend a little more time there. I may go back at some point over the next year and explore it under my own steam.