Quanzhou, Fujian, China 2018 Trip Vlog


Quanzhou is a city in Fujian, Southern China. I went there on October 27, 2018 with family
to visit relatives. It used to be a booming port city back in
the days of the Maritime Silk Road. According to Wikipedia, it was China’s major
port for foreign traders during the 11th through the 14th centuries, visited by both the famed
Venetian explorer Marco Polo and the famed Muslim/ Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta. Back then it was known as Zayton. Even today, when I geotagged my photos, the
city shows up as “Zayton” on Facebook and Flickr’s maps. There’s an interesting footnote in Wikipedia
though, that there’s some controversy in the 19th century among scholars whether the
Zayton written about in these foreign explorers’ records was actually referring to Xiamen,
a different attractive port city also in the province of Fujian. But supposedly Chinese records were clear
that Zayton refers to Quanzhou, formerly home to an excellent harbor that slowly silted
up over the centuries. Before 2018, I was last in Quanzhou back in
the mid 1990s. It didn’t have its own airport then, you
had to fly to Xiamen Airport and drive two hours to Quanzhou. As what that aforementioned Wikipedia footnote
said, Xiamen is the current Fujian boomtown, the current holder of the “attractive”
harbor crown. Fast forward 20 years and there’s a nice
little airport serving Quanzhou already. Day 2. I went around some parks and tourist spots
in Quanzhou City. There’s a giant stone sculpture of the famous
Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in one of the parks. Another attraction in the park is this giant
rock with Chinese characters on them, and a viewing station overlooking the city. This park also has a Buddhist temple in it
with a statue of a Chinese goddess out front and a giant reclining Buddha carved into rock. For lunch, we went to one of the supposedly
top ginger duck restaurants in all of Quanzhou. They cook the duck traditionally in clay pots
with coal, tear drop emoji for climate change. It was pretty good though. A huge part of China has gone cashless, even
small corner stores and street food vendors. They use mobile wallets built into the WeChat
messaging app. Not “cashless” that’s tied to your credit
card like Apple Pay or Apple card. More like paying with your Venmo or PayPal
wallet to vendors. I like this sugarcane peeler contraption. The sugarcane vendors on the streets of the
Philippines usually just use huge knives to hack and peel them. After lunch, we checked out a few more tourist
spots like the Quanzhou Kaiyuan Monastery, first established in 686 A.D. It was known by a different name back then
and only got its modern name in the year 739. It used to be an orchard of mulberry trees. It now occupies 80,000 square meters (861,113
square feet) and is Fujian’s largest temple. It’s more of a temple complex with many
pagodas than a single temple structure. Juse pause the video anytime you need to read
the information placards. After that, we hit up West Street, which is
a bustling street of small shops and eateries. Yes, all cashless transactions using the WeChat
messaging app’s mobile wallet. The amount is drawn from your WeChat balance,
it’s not serving as a go between and just withdrawing from your bank account on the
fly at the moment of payment. Pretty cool. Day 3. Headed to Wu Yi Shan via train. It’s a town known for tea plantations and
a big park with mountains and rock formations. You can buy a day pass or multiple day passes
as it’s a huge park. The way the park is laid out is there’s
a bunch of attractions inside, and it’s up to you to go in them one by one. Like this spot called Yi Xian Tian. The notable part of it is that it’s really
dark inside with only a narrow sliver of a crack up top. There were some pretty exotic fruits at the
local market outside the park. At night, we watched this musical set in an
outdoor amphitheater. It’s outdoor seating on plastic chairs mounted
on concrete. The seats were pretty damp with dew and it
was cold. Cold for someone like me from a sunny tropical
climate like the Philippines. It was around 10 degrees celsius (50 Fahrenheit). So the entire musical is just about tea, tea
farming, a journey to make tea, and all that. Since it’s the main money making export
crop of the town of Wu Yi Shan. The name of the show is the Impressions Da
Hong Pao show. I think Da Hong Pao the brand of the tea they make, I saw that labeled on the tea bags at the hotel. The production is pretty grand, like the kind
of spectacles they put on at theme parks – hologram projections, laser light and special effects,
and a huge cast of people doing choreographed moves. This was directed by the famous director Zhang
Yimou. Day 4. After breakfast, went back to the park to
take the bamboo raft tour via water of the various mountains and rock formations of the
park. Went back to the hotel for lunch after, then
checked out two other attractions. At the Tian You Peak, you get to see the view
down below from up high. So I got to photograph the other tourists
on their bamboo raft tour, the same tour I took earlier in the day. There’s a
couple of other attractions I skipped, and the last one I went to is this flat valley
type spot with Chinese words carved on the rock face. This spot has more than ten caves. Day 5. Back to Quanzhou City via train. Around a two hour ride. Day 6. It’s November 1 and the hotel had some bizarre
Halloween pumpkin carvings. This is the Quanzhou City skyline as photographed
outside my hotel window. That night, went to an interesting cafe that
specializes in pour over coffee, there’s single origin beans on the menu. There’s an old school barber’s chair and
boombox as a decor. It’s called Local Fish after this apparently
famous fish native to Quanzhou that people fry up and eat as snacks. Day 7. I went to this historical replica town called
Wu Dian Shi. Many of the Chinese migrants to the Philippines
from the early to mid 1900s wave of immigration came from Fujian, that’s why most of the
third or fourth generation Chinese (I’m making this video in 2019) are Hokkien speakers
(or if they’re not, their parents or grandparents are) rather than Cantonese or Hakka speakers
unlike other parts of Southeast Asia. They came from all over Fujian, like Xiamen
or wherever. My ancestors came from Quanzhou City, that’s
why I was there to visit my relatives in 2018. Now Quanzhou City has a lot of boroughs or
districts like Li Cheng, Jinjiang, etc. I know the first borough because that’s
where my relatives live and i know the second because that’s where the airport is. I don’t know the rest. This historical replica town is in the Jinjiang
district of Quanzhou City. Interestingly, a lot of the very wealthy Chinese
Filipinos came from this Jinjiang district. When they became rich, they sent money back
to China to build this historical replica town depicting old school houses from back
in the day. If you look at the information placards, you’ll
see which houses were built by overseas Chinese – Filipinos. These are classic Southern Chinese family
homes, with a courtyard and various sections and bedrooms. Like there’s a bedroom for the firstborn
son, the second son, the third son, etc. I also had lunch in that historical replica
town. Obviously since it’s a replica town, it’s
more like a theme park than actual preserved old houses. That’s why there are restaurants and gift
shops and cafes in the complex. The lunch was classic Fujianese fare, the
same kind of food we eat as typical Chinese food staples in the Philippines actually – like
lomi (various mixed ingredients with noodles in soup), lumpia (kind of like a spring roll
but not the kind Westerners think of), barbecued pork with a lot of fat, etc. Had more Chinese food for dinner, it’s regular
Chinese food, a lot of seafood, nothing specifically Fujianese. Day 8. Checked out the Confucius Temple that was
built in the 8th century and moved to its current location and got its present layout
in the 10th century. Went to another park with a lake after, then
walked around the streets for a bit. There was a weekend flea market going on. The usual Taiwanese milk tea franchise chains
are also present in Quanzhou, but I popped into a traditional tea shop instead. This place is very cool, and on some afternoons,
they host oral retellings of the history of Quanzhou. Afterwards, dropped by the Quanzhou Qing Jing
Mosque or the Masjid al-Ashab. It was built in 1009 and restored in 1310
by a Persian pilgrim. At the start of this video, I mentioned that
Quanzhou used to be known as Zayton, spelled Z-A-Y-T-O-N back in the Maritime Silk Road
days when it was the premiere harbor/ port city of Fujian, before the rise of Xiamen’s
prominence as a global port. Quanzhou’s old Chinese nickname is Ci Tong
City, a city named after a tree that was extensively planted there in the 10th century. According to Wikipedia, Zayton is an Arabic
word that’s a calque (loan translation) of that former nickname, Ci Tong City. I guess the ties between the ancient Muslim
traders from the Near East and Quanzhou were strong during the Maritime Silk Road days
when even its former Western name is not an Anglo like, say the old name of Beijing – Peking,
or Taiwan – Formosa, but an Arabic word. There’s even women making dumplings in the
complex, but this is the kind without pork as Muslims don’t eat pork. Here’s another sugarcane peeler contraption,
it looks different from the machine I showed in Day 2.. The sugarcane street vendors back home in
the Philippines are usually men as it takes a lot of upper body strength to hack sugarcane
with the big knives they wield here. But with these machines, you can just feed
the sugarcane into it and it’s peeled. The three sugarcane vendors I saw in China
were all coincidentally women. Dropped by a little private novelty museum
called the Mind Museum for a bit, it houses the private art collection of some wealthy
guy. Afterwards I went to Yuanhe 1916, which houses
cafes, offices catering to creatives and designers, event spaces. It used to be an industrial lot. There’s a hypebeast cat in faux Supreme
in one of the cafes there. This is Quanzhou City Hall. Stopped by the outside before going to a nearby
seafood restaurant for dinner. Day 9. Flew back home to Manila. Hope you enjoyed this video. Please thumb up this video if you did. What spot did you like best or find most interesting? Please comment below. For myself, I found the sugarcane peeling
contraptions most interesting. Please subscribe so you’ll be updated when
I upload again. See you next video!

4 thoughts on “Quanzhou, Fujian, China 2018 Trip Vlog

  1. Do you happen to know the purpose of the carved mountains? Were they graffiti, navigational marker or religious monument?
    Great video; I enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks, that was a really good vid! Quanzhou interests me partly because it was so diverse, and my ancestors come from the area. Love the grass eating kitty wearing clothes hehe.

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