In the row of buttons above, click UP to see our "next" apartment (in
Xiamen), or previous apartment (in Kunming). You can also click "before
you visit" to find a map to our Xiamen home.
During the 2011-12 school year, we were living in a small town
(Zhangzhou Development Zone), connected by ferry to the huge
island-city of Xiamen.
Here are a few photos to show where we lived during our
first year of teaching at Xiamen University (Zhangzhou campus).
This photo was taken on our balcony, looking toward the orange roof of a
building on campus. As you can see, there was some nice green space around
us; our apartment was small but comfortable.
We were surrounded by hundreds of empty apartments (and
a few neighbors). There's no FDIC in China (yet; but they are talking
about it), and bank interest rates are very low, so those who have money
buy and hold empty apartments as investments. Well, they don't really
"buy" these condos--click here for
This map shows our location in SE China's coastal Fujian Province. "A" is
the old Xiamen University Campus, which is about 100 km (60 miles) from
"B," the Zhangzhou campus, by road. That would take about two hours, or more.
In 2012 we moved to a spot around the "n" in Canon (near "A"), when our
department retreated to the original campus. Other departments were
relocated to a new campus, which would be in the upper right corner of
this map it if were bigger (connected to the island by tunnel).
In 2011, we rented an apartment about five-minutes-walk from the
North Gate, so we just walked to class. Most teachers (however) used a
specially-arranged bus/ferry/bus link to
shuttle between campuses in about 50 minutes (the dotted green line is a
ferry). There were about 10,000
students on campus (it actually hosted two universities, and when XMU left
in 2012 the other one took over the whole property), but the area
around campus is undeveloped. We had a few convenience stores, small
fruit/vegetable stalls, and shops/restaurants that cater to students, but
any "real" shopping must be done in Xiamen. Therefore, we took the ferry
when we wanted to go shopping, go to church, or "visit civilization"!
The above photo shows our living room (which was also
Michael's office). The dining table normally sits by the white wall in the
front corner (in this photo we had moved it to give more room to dinner
guests). The front door is by the red rug. We bought and installed an
AC/heater in the living room, so it was the only room that was "livable" in
the middle of winter or summer (this AC moved with us to Xiamen, too). The washer
(which also moved with us, along with a refrigerator) was on the balcony (past the
from the living room, you see where the dining table is supposed to be.
Behind it, you see the master bedroom. Turn right past the table and you
can turn right to enter the kitchen, turn left to enter the spare bedroom
(basically a closet for us), or go straight into the bathroom.
On the left you'll see our little bathroom; the shower hose
on the wall gave us so little water pressure that we added another
showerhead, that basically lets it rain on you. We had to use a mop to dry the
floor after every shower (and this was one MAJOR thing we didn't want to
do after we moved to Xiamen!).
Then you see our
kitchen. It has no cabinets, but Vivian did a great job of organizing
its limited space. The view on the left shows the "curtain" Vivian added
under the sink, and also shows the range hood. After taking these photos
we got a toaster oven, which sits
under the hood.
This is the master bedroom. Vivian's office is in the corner, most of the
year! Right now (January), it is too cold to be anywhere but the living
room. But we do have an electric blanket to warm the bed up before we turn
in for the night.
These are some of our things that were crushed in the move from Kunming to
Xiamen. I'd used the white cups since 1985, when I bought them in Xiamen;
most of these keepsakes had only sentimental value.
previous damage when relocating, we sold all
of our furniture in Kunming (in fact, we sold as much as we could part with), and
we tried to pack other things carefully; but after watching the ZJS
"roll" our boxes and toss them on/off trucks, we are grateful that most of
our goods arrived in usable condition. These three photos show the van our
things left Kunming in, the open truck that arrived in Zhangzhou with
"everything we own", and the condition of the boxes upon arrival!
The first time we visited campus, there was a very loud "thunderclap" that
frightened us into thinking we were in for the storm of our lives. Later,
we found out that it was man-made: there are frequent explosions in the
nearby hills (from which they get the rocks in the truck shown below!).
Advertisements show that they are building two dolphin-shaped islands
nearby, on which they plan to build expensive houses with private docks
(for people with a "yacht club" income level).
From our bedroom balcony you can see the bus stop in front of the
"university hospital" (actually, it's a small branch of a large Zhangzhou
hospital, for those who live in this Development Zone). Heavy trucks
noisily hauled rocks past our bedroom day and night. Both Xiamen and Zhangzhou
are also huge container shipping ports, so those trucks often go by as
Our friend Randy took this last photo from the back
balcony. You can see the mountain that is being moved, and the vast field
of dirt that constantly blows our way. The low, distant mountain is on the
Island of Xiamen, about four miles away (I'd guess). At night you could
often clearly see Xiamen's waterfront lights; in the fog you could hear a
foghorn--which was kind of cool!
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