Maria Holland

Dad’s Bucket List: Check, Check!

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2010 at 12:21 am

Today my parents had their first Western meal in China.  It wasn’t that they couldn’t take Chinese food anymore after only four days – there were other factors.  I had invited two of my Saudi Arabian friends, who took me to my first Western restaurant in Xiamen, and they don’t really eat Chinese food.  Also, the Pizza Hut that we went to happens to be on the 24th floor of a building along the waterfront


and has a great view of Gulangyu


(or, from where we sat, a maze of typical Chinese streets)


I’m glad my parents were there for my first Chinese Pizza Hut experience because, while I thought it was delicious, it’s hard for me to tell if Western food is actually good or if I’m just so desperate that I’ll eat anything remotely resembling cheese.  Apparently Pizza Hut’s food is pretty legit, because we all thought it was great.


In the afternoon, we went to Baicheng (the beach side of XiaDa) and rented bikes.  One item on Dad’s bucket list was to ride a bike in China, so we paid a few dollars (for the kind of bike you would expect to get for a few dollars) and got to cross that off the list. 


The sun was out but the wind was too so the temperature was perfect.  There were a ton of like-minded people renting bikes, but luckily no shortage of bikes to rent.  There were single, double, and triple bikes and even bikes for four people arranged in two rows.  We only biked for an hour (from my beach to the next one up the coast) but it was just about the right amount of time.

After the ride, we had an appointment with a friend of mine to do something else from Dad’s bucket list – play ping pong with a Chinese man.  Mr. Hou is one of the men that I dance with and I recently found out that he plays ping pong every night before dancing.  He wasn’t there last night, but we luckily ran into him today and he had some free time.  Dad was really excited for the match until my friend pulled out his own ping pong paddle in a special ping pong paddle case.  Dad didn’t even have a paddle, much less a case! 


We think (slash are really sure) that Mr. Hou was being easy on him, because after winning the first two games Dad won the last three to be crowned the victor. 


We weren’t quite ready for dinner afterwards, so we decided to go up to the top of the Tall Building.  I had to convince the guard to let us go up, but it was totally worth it for the view.  I had been once before, but it was right when I got here and I didn’t know what I was looking at.  You can see basically my entire life from up there, though – XiaDa, Baicheng, Hulishan, West Gate, Nanputuo (pictured below), Gulangyu . . . my island! 


We just happened to be up there for the sunset, which was of course beautiful. 


For dinner, I took my parents to the School Friends Cafeteria, my favorite restaurant by West Gate.  We had 拔丝地瓜 (candied sweet potatoes), 咖哩鸡肉 (curry chicken), and 地三鲜 (my favorite dish, with eggplant, potato, and hot pepper). 

We ended the day a little bit early because we have to pack for the next leg of our trip.  Tomorrow we fly to Guangzhou (known in the West as Canton).  I can’t believe I’m leaving Xiamen (which besides being amazingly beautiful, is also my home right now) for three weeks!  Actually, I still haven’t exactly figured out what I’m doing once I say goodbye to my parents in Beijing, so it may even be 4 weeks! 

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