In this video, we get to see a bit of Quanzhou’s streets and traffic, both which seem of much better quality than those just a few kilometres away in Qingyang. 😉

I mean, the streets here are cleaner and wider & the buildings more modern, motorcycle riders seem to cut each other off with much more refined manners than the ones down in Jinjiang, and pedestrians step into the lanes of oncoming traffic with such a genteel carriage that it’s no wonder foreigners in the 16th century loved this place so.

By the way, Quanzhou is sometimes called “The City of Coral Trees.” Says China.org.cn,

Quanzhou is situated on the northern bank of the Jinjiang River in Fujian Province, facing the sea. It is an ancient cultural city and was an important trade port during the Middle Ages. It is also the hometown of many overseas Chinese.

With its mountain slopes and magnificent bay, Quanzhou has long been regarded as the most attractive town on China’s southeast coast. During the Five Dynasties (907-960), the city was surrounded by Indian coral trees, from which it got the name “city of coral trees.” As Quanzhou is in the southern subtropical zone and has a maritime monsoon climate, it is humid and warm all the year round.

In this scene, we’re traveling north from central Quanzhou toward “Old Man Rock,” purported by some to be a figure of Lao Tzu himself, pictures of which are coming in a later blog post.

This time, a few pictures of my daughters during our play day in Quanzhou’s East Lake park.

The park has quite a few features–including one of those small Chinese Zoos filled with bored (at least) or miserable (at worst) animals; we’ll skip the pictures we took there–but otherwise it’s a pleasant place to spend a morning or afternoon.

It was only very sparsely populated during our visit–on a weekday–so we could take the sights in without having to go elbow to elbow with any sprawling weekend crowds.

On to the pics….

Elder Daughter near the park entrance:

A “grotto” we discovered:

The girls camped inside the grotto:

Elder Daughter enjoying a horse ride–the horse’s owners are from near Huang Shan, we discovered:

Younger Daughter enjoying the same–she decided, based on its color, that the horse’s name must be ‘Ginger’, being the astute and devoted “Black Beauty” fan that she is:

Related: Dehua Porcelain hails from near Quanzhou:
Blanc De Chine: The Great Porcelain of Dehua

While my Wife and her Younger Sister were off in Beijing, I took my daughters to nearby Quanzhou for a couple visits after they had recuperated a bit. One of our first stops was the city’s East Lake Park.

Quanzhou, though, is perhaps best known historically as the Asian end of the Marine Silk Route, or the Silk Route of the Sea, for its being the major point that the outside world–in particular the Arab world–traded with in the Song and Yuan Dynasties.

As I shared a bit earlier in this blog:

Back in Quanzhou’s heyday 400+ years ago, Arabic people were settled here in such great numbers that many became political and civic leaders–one even rose to the Number 2 position in the Fujian provincial government. But when that phase of China’s openness to the world ended, many of these people opted to stay, adopting Chinese-esque names. Round here, the surname “Ding” is actually the family line of one large group of Middle Eastern people who intermarried and decided to stay put.

We found Quanzhou an enjoyable place to visit. It’s the next administrative region up the ladder from Jinjiang (meaning that Jinjiang is one of the counties reporting to Quanzhou), but seems a bit more refined in the culture and arts department.

Anyway, the next several entries here will feature some Quanzhou highlights, but first we’re just starting out with some scenes from our visit to the aforementioned East Lake Park.

That last shot shows a unique-looking apartment complex, in a style I saw quite a few places exhibiting around Quanzhou. Never found out if the architectural style reflects some historical angle, but wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

We’re here for the next several posts; better bone up on your Quanzhou lore by reading Mystic Quanzhou (City of Light).

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