My Photographs: Top 5 Chongwu Town, China.

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Chongwu Town, February 2018. The ancient walled city of Chongwu is fascinatingly situated in southeastern China’s Fujian province, right on a peninsula jutting out into The Taiwan Strait. In reality though Chongwu isn’t a city, but a run-down fishing town with a tourist industry that revolves around the truly impressive Stone Arts Expo Park.

Chongwu Town, February 2018. The town itself holds little interest and can be covered on foot in about half an hour or so. The highlight is undoubtedly this dry, mud hole of a harbor with its army of haunted ghost boats. It’s the perfect setting for anyone wanting to shoot an apocalyptic maritime-themed horror movie.

Chongwu Town, February 2018. I’m not sure what role, if any, the local council or government bodies play in the upkeep of the town harbor, but it’s clear nobody gives a crap. Gazing out over the rotting wreckage, Wonderboy and I couldn’t help but speculate just how long this particular vessel had been slumped here for it to reach this level of decay.  

Chongwu Town, February 2018. Although small, the town does offer a decent range of shops, supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries and cafes.

Chongwu Town, February 2018. Having spent virtually the whole afternoon strolling around The Stone Arts Expo Park, we decided to settle in one of the town’s coffee shops before heading off back to Quanzhou. So we chose Café Medo, a 1960s themed joint with a jazz vibe and framed photographs of Marilyn and Elvis. But having leafed through their menu and ordered our coffees, the waitress suddenly announced that there was “no water”. This photo was taken shortly before the bad news broke. Poor old Wonderboy, he looks so happy at the prospect of an imminent coffee. A short while later, it was the same story at another café and it became clear that the great drought of Chongwu had spread from the harbour into its streets and commercial establishments. Epic, epic fail.

For more on the region, check out more of my Top 5 articles from around Fujian province.

Like these? Then why not leaf through my many other Top 5s from around China.

I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.

Xunpu Oyster Village – Quanzhou, China.

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Xunpu Oyster Village, February 2018. I find it reassuring that even after all these years Lonely Planet still comes up with some great recommendations. Their most recent one was to check out this tiny fishing village ten kilometers southeast of Quanzhou city centre. Having been dropped off in one of the most innocuous Chinese streets I’ve ever seen, Wonderboy and I initially doubted we were even in the right place. But then a helpful local stepped in and through the genius of Baidu Translate expertly guided us to where we needed to be. “Follow the road straight!” she said, “until you get to the rock at the entrance of the vegetable market”.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Taihe Mall – Quanzhou, China.

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Taihe Mall, February 2018. They really know how to make a giant mall in China! Wonderboy and I were our way back from Quanzhou’s Xunpu Fishing Village when we spotted a hulking collection of shiny towers at the side of the motorway. So we dipped in, treated ourselves to a Burger King and did some exploring.

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The End of Everything – a short story from The Netherlands.

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In June 2010 I arrived in The Netherlands with the notion of finally ‘settling down’. Young, in love and still just a little wet behind the ears, my girl and I had all the typical rat race dreams: Get the jobs so we could save money. Save money so we could get the house. Get the house so we could have kids. Have kids so we could be a happy family, a regular functioning cog in this big old machine we call society. What could possibly go wrong?

S moved out of our apartment sometime in early July 2013, leaving me with our cats CJ & Charlie and a home full of memories. Each evening, when I returned home from work, I existed only in a fuzzy stupor as I tried to come to terms with what was happening. I spent a great deal of time working my way through the towering pile of movies stacked up in the living room. I also re-watched The Wire, just for the hell of it. I took long baths, overate, under-exercised, over-analyzed and underslept.

Nights were particularly difficult. Unable to sleep, I’d sit playing with the cats for hours or simply stare at the ceiling as my mind trudged uselessly through the events of our relationship, from our early days in Belgium right through to our travels around China and our eventual arrival in Amsterdam. I listened to a fuck load of new music. I’d always wanted to collect Marvin Gaye, so I bought a whole bunch of his stuff and binged on it.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Qingjing Mosque – Quanzhou, China.

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Qingjing Mosque, February 2018. The arresting ruins of this city centre mosque can be found on Tumen Street, just a five-minute walk down from Guandi Temple. Built in 1009, this is China’s second oldest mosque and a major pilgrimage point for the country’s Muslim community.

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My Photographs: Top 5 Qingyuan Mountain – Quanzhou, China.

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Qingyuan Mountain, February 2018. The beautiful Qingyuan Mountain is a protected national park region of China’s Fujian province, located just three kilometers outside the city of Quanzhou. Dating back to Imperial China’s Tang Dynasty, the mountain is famed for its giant statue of Laozi (also known as Yuxian Rock), the founder of Chinese Taoism.  

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My Photographs: Top 5 Guandi Temple – Quanzhou, China.

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Guandi Temple, February 2018. As with most Chinese cities, there are plenty of temples scattered around Quanzhou. I consider myself something of a temple veteran, so decided to limit myself to this magnificently carved city centre structure on Tumen Street.

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