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Expats in Fujian: Xiamen Strikes a Chord with Expats

Source: | 2022-11-21 17:08   Click:


A group of foreign journalists from 28 countries visit Xiamen, Fujian province, from Nov 16 to 18. [Photo provided to]


A total of 32 foreign journalists from 28 countries, including Kenya, Argentina, Uganda, Colombia, Nigeria, Mexico, and Cuba, embarked on a journey to Xiamen, a popular international city in East China's Fujian province, from Nov 16 to 17 to learn about the city's efforts and progress in developing port tourism, preserving ecology and promoting local music.


Burgeoning cruise tourism


A giant liner immediately caught the foreign press corps' attention as they arrived at the Xiamen Port, the first stop of their trip in Xiamen, on Nov 16.



Foreign press corps take photos of a giant liner berthed in Xiamen Port. [Photo provided to]


Xiamen Port, as one of the first ports to serve as a national logistics hub and one of the country's four international shipping centers and four pilot and demonstration ports for cruise transport, has seen a substantial increase in its overall strength and competitiveness in recent years, especially in the cruise tourism industry.


It has continuously improved its cruise port facilities and services. Also, it has built a shopping mall near the port, which is expected to become a new growth point for the city to promote consumption and expand domestic demand, and also a key step to drive the high-quality integrated development of Xiamen Port and cruise tourism.



A foreign journalist shoots a video to introduce the liner.  [Photo provided to]


"This is my first time to be in Xiamen. On the way from the airport to the port, I feel that Xiamen is a very good city with a good port and with a good environment for people to live in," said Michael Olugbode, a journalist from THISDAYLIVE, a mainstream media outlet in Nigeria, “I would like to know more about the city as we move on with the trip.”


A lesson from Yundang Lake


The clear lake water and egrets cleaving the air and gliding on the water surface form an ecological picture in Yundang Lake, attracting foreign press corps to stop and enjoy.



Foreign press corps pose for a picture by the lakeside of Yundang Lake in Xiamen. [Photo provided to]


However, when they found out that the lake was once polluted by surrounding factories in the 1970s and 1980s, they were deeply amazed by the changes and efforts Xiamen has put into it.


To treat Yundang Lake in an all-around and thorough way, Xiamen has mobilized all of society and taken a series of measures since 1988, including controlling pollution, cleaning up mud, building banks, planting trees by the lake, and connecting lake water with sea water to achieve water circulation.



Foreign press corps learn about the story of Yundang Lake at Yundang Academy. [Photo provided to]


"I've heard the story of Yundang Lake, and I'm really impressed by the city's efforts to protect the water environment and preserve ecology. I really enjoy the beautiful scenery here," said Tiemoko Konate , a journalist from Mali.


Apart from admiring the city's ecological progress, some foreign journalists were thinking deeply and trying to learn lessons from Yundang lake.



Foreign press corps visit Yundang Academy. [Photo provided to]


"It reminds me that in the region I come from, we have something similar like that. But we have not been able to develop it," said Malik Sullemana, a reporter from the Ghanaian Times, "I keep asking myself how many technologies and resources were committed into developing that area. It is only beyond my imagination."


Istvan Bello, a journalist from Cuba, said his country has the same problem as Xiamen. The experience of Yundang Lake was encouraging for him and he believes his country can do the same one day.


An island of art and music


On the morning of Nov 17, foreign press corps took a cruise ship and arrived at Gulangyu Island in Siming district of Xiamen.


Gulangyu Island is renowned as "the island of piano" and "the hometown of music" for it is home to China's first Piano Museum and China's only and the world's largest organ museum.



Some foreign journalists record music with their phones. [Photo provided to]


They visited the Gulangyu Organ Arts Center, the first international cultural exchanges platform on the Chinese mainland that combines the research of antique pipe organs, performances, education and restoration of historic organs, and listened attentively to a grand symphony produced by a century-old Casavant Opus 700 pipe organ, the largest one of its kind in Asia.



The symphony finishes with a flourish. [Photo provided to]


Music is an integral part of the island residents' life.


Lei Yongping is one of the many music lovers on the island and people often call him "Uncle Lei". Twelve years ago, Uncle Lei and his wife, Aunt Ye, formed the "Hawaii Electric Guitar Band", which is composed of retired residents whose average age is more than 60. Though they are not professional musicians, they often gather together to play and rehearse out of their love for music.



Foreign press corps enjoy the family concert held by "Hawaii Electric Guitar Band" on Gulangyu Island. [Photo provided to]


"I see them playing music and I want to play too. I really love Xiamen  because it is beautiful and people are very good," said Abdoulaye Diedhiou from Senegal, who later joined the band and played drums. "And this music for me, is the best expression to say 'thank you, wonderful people of Xiamen'."



Abdoulaye Diedhiou (R1) from Senegal joins the band to play music. [Photo provided to chinadaily]


On the same day, the group was also invited to watch a glove puppet show, a provincial intangible cultural heritage item and a representative art form unique to Minnan (southern Fujian) area, and roundly applauded the performance, especially when performers unveiled their finger skills under the gloves after the show.



Foreign press corps watch the glove puppet show in Gulangyu Island, Xiamen. [Photo provided to]


"I haven't seen a puppet show before and they were really well done. I really like when the performance ended, they showed us how to do this with their finger skills," said Velia Govaere from Costa Rica.



A puppet show performer shows the audience how he manipulates the puppet with his skillful fingers. [Photo provided to]


On the morning of Nov 18, the foreign press corps left Xiamen for Nanping, another city in Fujian province, to continue their trip.