Earthen Buildings; and, Here Be Vegan Dragons!

Last night we arrived at a rustic hotel in Pushan Village.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe hotel itself was a rambling set of wooden structures with small but clean rooms, windows that were sliding wooden panels, and doors that locked by sliding a small piece of wood to block unwanted entrants. Below is the view from the door of my room on the 2nd floor and then looking back up at the room where I stayed.



We began our day with a walk along the river that runs through the middle of this historic village, making our way to visit our first tulou.


Tulou (too-low) means an earthen building.  Tulous are a characteristic structure of the Fujian countryside and, with minor exception, are found nowhere else in China.  They are so special architecturally that they have been collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.  They come in different shapes and sizes, including square, rectangular, circular, oval, fan shaped, triangular, etc.  We visited several today, including the oldest (built in 1308) and the tallest rectangular one.


We drove back to Nanjing to deliver Rosalind, Amy, and MaryKay to the train station as they will be leaving us to head back to the States or Hong Kong while Veronica, Jian and I continue to visit libraries in Fujian.

The three of us, with our trusty driver and our guide from the Fujian Provincial Library, headed to Quanzhou to have dinner with Mr. Chen Wenge, Assistant Director, and Mr. Xu Zhao-kai, Director, of the Quanzhou Public Library.  I must note here that, as a vegan, I was somewhat concerned whether accommodations could be made for my diet at our many banquets.  I knew that many dishes in this coastal province depend on seafood of all sorts.  I need not have feared, though, as I have been well cared for – frankly, I’ve been stuffed – with all sorts of vegan delicacies.  Tonight’s dinner in Quanzhou was exceptionally good, with a more dishes that varied considerably from many I’ve had this past week.  Toward the end of dinner we were served a fruit plate which included dragonfruit, which with its white flesh, tiny black seeds, and reddish purple rind, is not only sweet and tasty, but also visually pleasing.  I noted that we had had dragon’s eyes (a fruit somewhat like lychees when peeled) in the past week and then Jian pointed out that at lunch today we had eaten a vegetable called dragon’s beard.  Mr. Chen pointed out that all of these were vegan foods, so we decided that dragons must be of vegetable origin.  I hope we don’t eat all the dragons up, they are so tasty!  — Richard

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