November 29, 2010

Heavy Dew in Gulang Yu

Xiamen is much like any other prosperous large coastal city in China with decent beaches, a bustling pedestrian shopping area, and delicious seafood. What sets it apart is the delightful island of Gulang Yu. The 2 square kilometer isle is a short ferry ride from the mainland, and an even shorter private speed boat ride away from the harbour. Colonial buildings, pedestrian walkways along the shoreline, and a dearth of vehicles apart from the occasional golf cart transporting sedentary Chinese tourists, makes Gulang Yu a relaxing haven even when it is crawling with these aforementioned tourists. I visited during October holidays, when the whole nation of 1.6 billion goes on vacation en masse.

A torrential midday downpour quickly dispersed the crowds, groups of them huddling wherever they found shelter from the deluge. Water cascaded down the narrow stairways of the island, forming temporary waterfalls. When the rains subsided, they all congregated at the ferry terminal hoping to get back to the city of Xiamen as quickly as possible.

Like a scene from an apocalyptic movie , thousands of souls crowded against the gates, clamouring to escape the calamity of being drenched by rain water. I selflessly changed course and went for a coffee instead, waiting several hours for the rest of the crowd to be evacuated safely before leaving the island myself.


"Into each life some rain must fall." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow