The Ancient Granite Walled City of Chongwu

Trip Start Jan 01, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Hey Hey and a Big GīDay to ya
An ancient walled city made entirely of granite was my plan for the day.
Not a bad plan when you think of it.
In fact a bloody good one I reckon!
So up early and to the bus station to begin my adventure to the ancient city of Chongwu. 
My old LP says you need to take a 45 minute bus ride to Hui'an City.  Thatīs what I thought I was doing when we passed Hui'an Number 5 High School.  Instead we continued the journey all the way to Chongwu.  So I guess you no longer have to do the Hui'an Bus Station part of it.  The bus journey there cost me 9 Yuan and it took around an hour and fifteen minutes. 
The trip was pretty cool.  After Hui'an the housing changed from the usual white tiles to granite and it was so welcoming.  Soon huge granite factories come into view and as we drove along the granite statue lined main road into Chongwu, huge granite statue yards were passed by. 
When you actually arrive at the new city of Chongwu you are dropped off in the main street.  There is no need to catch a motor bike or taxi to the 'old city'.  When you look up the main street you will see a white tiled' church and a blue and white domed apartment complex.  Walk towards and past these and you will find the wall.  If you do catch a motorbike taxi it should only cost you two Yuan, don't pay anymore as I'd say it's only a two minute ride. 
You will be dropped off at the ticket booth to what you will think is to pay for the 'walled city'.  It isn't, the city is free mate.  The ticket is actually for the 'Ancient City Stone Park' and is now 25 Yuan.  As the city is free I paid the 25 Yuan and found the stone park rather beautiful.  Itīs a pleasant walk, the statues are great, the grass is green and the beach is beautiful. 
What more do you want!
Chongwu Ancient City is a small city built entirely of granite.  Itīs totally enclosed by seven meter high granite walls.
 The city was built in 1387 as a military station to help fight the Japanese pirates. 
The city is still pretty much perfect!
The city stands on the northern shore of Quanzhou Bay and across the straight is Taiwan.  The city walk was fantastic.  It was peaceful and there wasn't one other tourist that I could see.  There were no yellow peaked hats and not a single flag. 
A BONUS on a beautiful sunny day in an Ancient City!
Most of the population was as old as the granite itself it seemed.  Most of the women had colourful head scarves on to protect their wrinkles from the sun and the children acted as though they had never or barely ever seen a foreigner.  Maybe this city is still passed by most tourists.  Or maybe I was lucky to pick a day when there were no bus loads. 
Everyone was full of smiles which grew even larger as I crossed their path several times thinking I was on a new pathway.  The city is small enough for things to become familiar quickly if you pass them by at least twice.
I was surprised by the amount of water wells in the ancient city.  Almost every corner has a well.  Through out the city you see people of all ages drawing water to wash vegetables, to cook or to wash clothes.  It really is amazing to watch how life once was yet continues.  Even though this city still draws its water from beneath them, it is so much cleaner than many of the rivers and creeks I watched people wash all the above in. 
I headed back into the new city to find something to eat.  After lunch I still had a few hours before the last bus back to Quanzhou (5:50pm) so I decided to head back to the Ancient Stone Park.  This time I spent more time walking along the two beautiful beaches the ticket gives you access to. 
I then slowly made my way to the far corner where the second ticket booth is and left the park. 
By the way, if you are looking to skimp on the 25 Yuan to visit the Ancient Stone Park, enter the Ancient City and make your way to the right had side wall (the one that runs along the beach).  Both times I went past the ticket lady was fast asleep.
Being a walking freak I wanted to walk around the outside of the wall as well.  Why?  Because I'm an idiot!  So for those who want to visit Chongwu and think walking around the outside of the walls maybe exciting, its not. The only walls to walk on the outside of are the beach walls or within the Stone Park.
Being a walled city you would think that maybe you could walk around the city onto of the wall, especially a city so small.  Well you can't.  Of course the main wall along the Stone Park you can as it gives great views of the beach, you can also walk along the back wall but thatīs as far as you really can walk unless you put your boots in 4WD and take some week killer.  From memory there are a few houses in the way also.  The views are not worth it either.  I took a few paths to find the wall and there really isn't anything to climb the wall to see, hence the weeds!
Around 5:30pm I headed back down the main street until I found a few buses gathered together.  I really didn't have a clue where they were going or if this was the same place I was dropped off.  I soon found out when an elderly lady simply said Quanzhouo and pushed me on the bus.  I'm serious, you'll find this happening where ever local buses are gathered.  When I was living in Tianyang I used to catch the local roadside buses to Baise mainly on weekends.  But during the week at lunch time I would be crossing the highway to go back to the school from the marketplace and a bus would stop, the bus lady would jump off yelling Baise Baise Baise and try to push me on the bus. 
I even had bags of fruit and was yelling No No No, Teaching!  No No No she would yell, Baise Baise Baise. 

So beware of the local bus lady, she can be very dangerous and especially pushy!
If you want to stay in the new city you can.  Pretty much a normal small Chinese city with plenty of small local hotels. If I had of known there was a new city next to the ancient walled city I would have brought along my pack and stayed a few nights.  But it was time to wash some clothes and smell better tomorrow! 
Beers N Noodles to you...shane
The soundtrack to this entry was an awesome album by a band called Gerling
The album is called `When young terrorists race for the sunī
From memory thatīs what it is called.  My iPod just says `When young terrorists...ī and then has an arrow next to it.
Anyhow, a fantastic, dancy yet movinī and groovinī time!

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