Autumn turns out to be a good time to be in Northeastern China. The
weather is cool, and the colour of leaves in shades of red, orange and
yellow are breathtaking.
Harbin was especially mind blowing. They are obsessed about cleanliness! There is an army of cleaners tending the streets endlessly. Owing to Russian influence, the architecture is quite a bit more interesting than the generally drab ones built all over China during the 70s through 2000s.
Shenyang, in Liaoning province, is where people queue up to board transportation vehicles (and I have witnessed the same in Dalian a decade ago), something not emulated in other provinces. Their driving habits are horrendous though.
The only clue I had when searching for my grandfather’s hometown was my surname. As the Chinese proverb goes, that sounds like searching for a needle in the ocean bed, right? Fortunately, in the olden days, Chinese families, those with the same surname, stick closely together. An entire village would consist of families of the same descent. And so, just by searching using my surname, I managed to find two villages in Fuqing where people with the same surname as mine lived.
While my dad is from Fuqing, my mum is Hakka. Specifically, from Dabu 大埔. I didn’t plan for it initially, but after checking the map, i discovered that Dabu is not too far from the Tulou area. Well, afterall, the Tulou are built by the Hakkas. So, i decided to add on an itinerary to check out Dabu, even though my mum wasn’t so keen.
Dabu is located in Guangdong province, just bordering Fujian. Just so that we could do some sightseeing (because there isn’t much to see in and around Dabu, other than ancient dwellings which does not interest my mum again), i chose to visit the terraced paddy fields of Pingshan (坪山梯田).
For a long time, I had in mind to bring my father to his father’s birthplace. It finally came to pass. My grandfather came from Fuqing, Fujian. Since then, none among my relatives have gone back to visit, so nobody has an idea what the place is like. Not sure about you, but I find it intriguing to get a glimpse of how my ancestors lived.
When I chanced upon a cheap flight (S$280) to Xiamen, without second thoughts, I went ahead to book. If one keeps procrastinating, it will never happen.
Firstly, I wanted to showcase photos of my kids taken with some of the transportation vehicles/vessels we rode during the trip, spanning land, sea and air. If you have a kid who’s fascinated with various modes of transportation, a trip to the Pearl River Delta can fulfill his/her dreams. You don’t need to go to Europe.