We recently spent a week in Xiamen, the major city to the south of here, and I’m still trying to get a handle on what we saw and experienced there. Therefore, this post should be taken as a hastily scribbled postcard.

I’ll venture this, though: If you haven’t seen Xiamen in, say, a decade or more, you haven’t seen Xiamen. I’ve visited several times, first in 1993, and then in 1996, 1997 and 2000, but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw there this time.

Xiamen has been consistently listed as one of China’s top 4 or 5 “most livable cities” for quite some time, but this time we found it so livable that we began talking about the theorhetical possibility of moving there–or at least having a second home there if we end up “doing business with China” in any significant capacity.

When I first visited Xiamen, the waterfront area where the ferries for Gulang Island are, down south a bit to Xiamen University, this seemed to me where most things were “happening,” and the city’s “Seaside Building” in that waterfront area was pretty much the city’s largest building.

Now, that’s all “old town,” and when you look at Xiamen from the nearby Gulang Island, the Seaside Building seems a quaint “little” tall building, now dwarfed by the much taller bank building beside it and two or three pockets of major skyscrapers and high-rise towers in the background. The city, which is actually an island as well, is circled by a multi-lane “ring” road, some of which is built out over the water, rather than on land, and the rest of the development and infrastructure of the city, well, continue to amaze me.

Like I said, I’m still having trouble processing everything I saw, but if the Xiamen I saw several days ago is some indication of where the rest of China can be expected to develop toward in the coming years, then of China I’d have to say “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”