I woke up in the Super 8 hotel room and finished packing my bags. I was to go to Xiamen today in hopes of getting to the Kinmen islands. I needed to go there because my visa is only valid for 30 days at a time in China and this island chain belongs to Taiwan. I didn't have a train ticket or a boat ticket and this is the busy travel time, as its the mid-autumn festival and people have work off. When I checked out of the hotel, the skies were grey and the rain was around me but light. I hailed a taxi and translated somehow that I needed to go to the high speed train station. The train to Xiamen costs roughly the same as the bus but takes half as long and is more comfortable, a no brainer really. Seated in the passengers seat I could see and hear the rain getting heavier. Within a few minutes we were hydroplaning all over the place and visibility was near non-existent. I wasn't worried about the train not running but the boat worried me. A thought of rocking all over the place or worse, cancelled. Of course I would still need tickets for both train and boat and there was no guarantee. Usually when I try to buy a ticket the day of, I can't and I get stuck for a day at the place. But once I got out of that cab at the rail station, everything started to look up. The ticket window queue was massive, but the electronic one was near empty. The next train was available. When I got to Xiamen I got a cab quickly and he took me to the international ferry. The next ferry was leaving in 30 min and had room available. I grabbed a cup of coffee there and it was delicious. Also, I could exchange Chinese yuan for Taiwan dollars at the ticket counter for barely any exchange fee. The sky wasn't very sunny but it wasn't raining either. The sour day had now become semisweet.
At the ferry terminal I ended up chatting it up with the only other white guy there, a fellow from Belgium. He too needed to do a quick visa run only he just went over and came straight back, no over night.
I had a few hours in town before meeting up with Hao Fu, my host for the night. So I did what I do in any town when I get to it, I ate some local food.
When I met up with Hao Fu, she wanted to get dinner. Having only eaten an hour and a half ago I wasn't too hungry, but who was I to say no. So we got some different type of noodle dishes. I went with a wonton style and a side of porks blood soup.
After dinner we went to her parents place to spend the rest of the evening. Her mom, a huge baseball fan, was watching the local Taiwan team play on TV. Her dad was just coming in from the day of work. We sat around and sort of talked. I say sort of as Hao Fu was the only one who spoke both languages :) But we all seemed to enjoy ourselves and pretty early we headed to bed, something I was for sure ok with after my numerous hour in numerous ways travel days.
Hao Fu's dad offering me some Kaoliang, Taiwans local alcohol. Made from sorghum, it is a major product of the Kinmen Islands. You can see fields and fields of sorghum when you drive around Kinmen. Not really my cup of tea, but I'm glad I got to try it.
In the morning I woke up with the roosters. Hao Fu's parents have a small sort of farm. It seemed like most of the neighbors did.
After feeding the animals Hao Fu drove me to the bus stop and she headed off to work. I had some time to kill before the bus so I wandered the city center a bit and then got on the bus to the ferry and then back to Xiamen, China.