This dog has a very scary face. Its small but very fierce. It happens to be the guard dog for the house of my late father in law in a Xi Xia village, Zi Ni Town, Longhai City, Fu Jian Province, China.
Its no wonder they have a dog guarding the house as this house has no door at all. They use bamboo blinds to provide privacy and thats about all. People in this community are very close nit. Everyone is somehow related to another. My husband's father was part of the Lee clan that established the village many centuries ago. In his early years he decided to venture out and try his luck finding fortune in other countries. Senior Lee came to Malaysia, married a local and had six children. One of them was my amazing husband.
When he grew older and could no longer work, he went back to his village in China where his first wife was living. He had two children with his first wife. My husband and I decided to pay our chinese relative a visit. It was a journey that was very memorable.
We took a flight to Xiamen from Hong Kong. At the airport a big group of hokkien speaking family members were waiting for us. The drive to the village from Xiamen Airport took about an hour. The
journey was uneventful except for my over hospitable step sister in law who kept giving us food to eat. From what seemed like a bottomless bag, she took out Mandarin oranges, cans of winter melon drink, peanuts and packets of tissues. We tried to refuse the oranges but she refuse to accept a no so politely we held on to the oranges and cans. Luckily the drive was smooth and not a drop of winter melon juice spilled inside the car.
We were given a room to stay in one of her grand daughter house. Everything was nice except for the hard mattress and I really mean hard rock! All houses here in Xi Xia village are built very close together. The narrow lane in between houses is frequently used as walking. In between the modern houses are the century old houses clustered together. Younger generation tear down the old houses preferring to modern concept houses.
There were still a few old houses in the village especially along the stream. This stream has served many generations providing water for cooking and washing. For now it is no longer clean enough for consumption. Many residences still use it for washing though. I could not comprehend how they can tolerate the filth that runs through the stream.
Old quaint houses dotted along the path by the stream. I could imagine what it was like many centuries ago as people in this community walked up and down the path to their respective chores. The beaten path is now concrete and barely wide enough for one car to go through.
Xi Xia community thrives on farming. Button mushroom houses are found on almost every corner.
Everyone is a farmer here. If not button mushroom houses, you will find a patch of vegetable growing in the backyard of the houses.
Beside vegetables, you will also find an occasional chicken, duck or two.
The food here is abundant especially with vegetables growing left, right and in every patch of land available. Our first breakfast in Xi Xia was a bowl of sweet starchy noodles.
Lunch was served at home. Not home cooked though but food catered from restaurant. The taste was bland for me but interesting to eat. Skipper fish anyone?
Surprisingly they eat a lot of seafood here. Apparently one of the family members does sea shell farming and so the answer for the abundant of sea shells. Seafood is served even for breakfast.
Just a short walk away is Xi Xia market.
Beside the market is a Chinese temple where our sister in law took us for a short prayer to the ancestors.
A few meters away are the community park. In this park according to my sister in law is the place where they will hold opera show every once a month.
Facing the park is a small ancestral temple belonging to the Lee family.
Adjourning to the same community park stood a tiny house. It was old and must have stood there for centuries. The occupants are an elderly couple who has no children. They still use firewood to cook their food and vegetables are grown in the backyard.
Just outside of the village is Zi Ni town. Motorbikes and bicycle crowd the streets and cars are very few. It took some effort to cross intersection because there are no road rules here. Only the brave can drive.
We decided to drop by a strawberry farm along the way and pick our own fruits. One kilogram cost only RMB12.
One of the two bridges connecting Zi Ni Town to Longhai City.
I am not sure the name for this river but it is very wide. There are many ship docks on the whole stretch of the river.
There are not many traffic in Longhai city during the day time.
Longhai city is more interesting at night than in the day time.
We had our first dinner in a respected Chinese restaurant in Longhai city.
The food taste does not run away far from the catered ones. I barely ate much during my stay here. Egg drop for breakfast. Again the soup based is more sweet than salty.
We got to try fried fresh button mushroom for lunch the next day. It was delicious.One of the relative owns a prawn farm. It is amazing how they can grow tropical climate prawns in a 22 degree Celsius climate which can drop lower in the evenings. They achieved this by covering the whole prawn pond with white plastic sheets. The plastic sheet regulates the temperature to a relatively warmer level.
These are the view from a third story house of the surrounding Xi Xia Village.
Tea is a big deal here. Every house has a tea set. Simple small ones with just pot and cups to high tech ones with water pump and suction hose at the end of it.
Our last day we took a bike ride around the village clutching to a bunch of asparagus which we picked from a nearby farm.
We said our goodbyes and head out to Xiamen City. Crossing one of the longest bridge in China. It was foggy day with low visibility so there was nothing much to see but our local guide said on a clear day the surrounding view is breathtaking.
With ample time before our flight back to Hong Kong, we decided to stop by at Xiamen Trade and Conference Center to check out the car exhibition being held that day.
Then more seafood at restaurant in Xiamen.
If only we had more time, I would have love to visit the island by the city.
UPDATED : I did a second trip to Longhai and this time we made effort to stay one night in Xiamen