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Xiamen, China (top page)

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Sub-pages:  Home Up Xiamen University Xiamen U Reunion Xiamen Area  

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There's no place like home!

Xiamen (pronounced something like "she-ah-men") had about a million people back in 1985 when Michael first lived here; the 2010 census reported a population of 3.5 million. While this is far smaller than any of the other Chinese cities we've lived in (click here for info), it is still huge by American standards (the whole state of South Carolina has only 4.5 mil and Ohio has about 11.5 mil).

Not every day in Xiamen is as beautiful as this particular day in July 2012 (taken from the Zhangzhou ferry pier), but compared to most of the large cities in modern China Xiamen's environment is one of the best. We love living here, except in the sweltering summer! Actually, you are looking at Xiamen's famous "piano island" Gulangyu. Boats have always been an important part of this important port. (You can download this photo in many sizes from our "wallpaper" page.)


(Below) This is the view of Xiamen's bay from Michael's classroom window

(also in July 2012; click here, and look for more photos of the Haiyun campus).


From 1985 to 1987, Michael studied Mandarin at Xiamen University (click to see photos). In 2011, he joined the faculty, teaching English to International Economics and Trade students.


As you can see from these three 1986 photos (taken from Sunlight Rock on Gulangyu), there were no tall buildings in Xiamen back then (no bridges or tunnels to the mainland, either; not to mention no McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Walmart, etc.). In fact, we even have photos of Shanghai as late as 2000 with almost no tall buildings, which just shows how rapidly China has developed. (Click here for a few more old photos of Xiamen.)


This is a photo of the 1000-year-old Nanputuo Temple, which shares one wall with Xiamen University.

(Above) Vivian, Andrew and Michael in 2004, with the tallest XMU building framed between us (taken from Gulangyu). (Below) Vivian on the beach at sunset, New Years Eve 2012.

Click on this photo to see a bigger image. This bird's eye view shows the old "downtown" at our feet, with high rise buildings stretching off into the distance. Xiamen has changed a lot since Michael first saw this city, but it still has a lot of charm! Some of the additions include high-rise buildings, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Wal-Mart, an Underwater World, and miles of public beaches!

This church in the heart of downtown Xiamen was built in 1848, and the plaque lists it as the oldest Protestant church in China.

Fog is common at certain times of the year. This April 2013 photo was taken from the Indigo Hotel, looking across to Gulangyu "Piano" Island.

      Way back when Michael studied here, this was a quiet two-lane road between the campus and the beach. Now itís a busy 4-lane road to a premier Exhibition Center. (2012 photo)

      Xiamen has been an important coastal city for over 150 years. Above, you see the university beach at low tide on a summer day. On holidays, sometimes you can't even see the sand because of all the people! (There are more photos of the beach and channel on the Xiamen University page.)


Click here to see my February 2005 XMU Reunion, or click here to see the Zhangzhou campus and other nearby places.

For more info about Xiamen & Fujian, these sites were created by our friends/colleagues, Bill & Sue Brown:

http://www.amoymagic.mts.cn (within China)                 http://www.amoymagic.com (outside China)

The last time I looked, there were also some great photos of Xiamen University at www.appletravel.cn

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