Lee House, August 2017. Many of Gulangyu Island’s grand old colonial buildings are now home to shops, restaurants and luxury boutiques. Whilst I have very little interest in shopping, it was still cool to duck into some of these amazing buildings and check out the courtyards and architecture. One of the coolest structures is the huge four-storey Lee House, a listed Xiamen Municipal Government Building dating back o the 1920s. Today it’s home to the Chinese retail company ‘Sincere Co’.
Lee House, August 2017. Just head right up the entrance steps and through the ground floor archways to experience mass Chinese tourism in all its madness. You’ll be met by table upon table of tour groups sampling high-end tea, cake and dried fruit. Each table has its own assigned saleswoman, equipped with a clipboard, walkie-talkie and microphone. It’s an unnecessarily noisy affair and the mantra is clear: Sell! Sell! Sell!
Lee House, August 2017. The local pastry, amusingly translated as Kung Fu Pie, is actually pretty tasty! They’re basically sweet, flaky balls with a selection of fillings including mango, red date and lemon. I was looking through all the different boxes when I suddenly thought of someone special and spontaneously decided to grab a pack as a gift. After much deliberation, I opted for the pineapple variety.
Lee House, August 2017. The real reason to seek out Lee House is for its little advertised top floor viewing deck where, completely free of salivating shopaholics, you can bask in 360-degree views of the island. Take the wide wooden staircase to the fourth floor until you come out onto the rooftop. In this photo you can see Sunlight Rock, Gulangyu’s highest point at 92.7 meters.
Lee House, August 2017. I think I spent at least half an hour up on that rooftop enjoying Gulangyu’s different angles. Not one other person came to join me in that time, though the serenity was occasionally invaded by the uncompromising shriek of a saleswoman back down on the ground floor. She was quoting tea prices. She sounded desperate.
You can also have a look at my various Top 5s on the city of Xiamen.