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Gŭlāng Yŭ - Recommended by Lonely Planet

sunny 25 °C

Travelling to far off places where we have limited language skill can be somewhat daunting without a guide, so we rely on The Lonely Planet to steer us in the right direction. However, a travel guide takes several years to compile and can be well out of date by the time it hits the street. Things are changing so rapidly in China that our latest edition of Lonely Planet could have been written in the last century. For instance, it advises us to take the high speed trains because the Chinese can’t afford to travel on them. Unfortunately for us no one told the Chinese this and, judging by the number of Rolex and Gucci stores, there is little the Chinese can’t afford today, including seaside holidays, as we discovered when we took the Lonely Planet’s advice to visit (Quote) “the sedate retreat” of Gŭlāng Yŭ island" off the coast near XiaMen. According to the book it is, (Quote) “well worth spending a few days soaking up its charm.” Ferries run every ten minutes, although there is no guarantee of getting aboard without some serious shoving...
There has never been a line up like this for the ferry to our Canadian island and this should have been a warning, especially when we read that we would discover a tiny island with (Quote) “buckets more charm than, gasp, Xia Men.” Maybe some people find mayhem and McDonald’s charming – but not us…
“There really isn’t anything quite like it anywhere else in China,” the Lonely Planet guide gushes with the breathless enthusiasm of a real estate agent, and maybe they’re right – but not down this street…

We didn’t hear “The sounds of classical piano wafting along the meandering lanes and shaded warrens of backstreets," as the guide book said we would, before telling us that the island is nicknamed “Piano Island” by the Chinese." We only heard this guy pumping out Chinese pop on his trio of keyboards...

"The best way to enjoy the island is to wander along the streets to catch a glimpse of colonial mansions before popping into one of the many cute cafes...," the Lonely Planet advises, but whoever wrote that has obviously not tried wandering through this mob...
or eating at this restaurant...

And then we discovered that Gŭlāng Yŭ is the backdrop for almost every wedding photographer in China. Dozens of brides each trailing an entourage of groom, cameraman, dresser, hairdresser, make-up artist and best boy, artfully blocked the view of every scenic spot on the island...

We finally escaped it to the beach, knowing that it is not mentioned in our guide book, and hoped to find a peaceful haven like this...
We were wrong - the crowds had found the beach before us without the help of Lonely Planet...

Posted by Hawkson 23:43 Archived in China

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Better come home if you want peace and quiet. It is still here on Gabe despite craft fairs galore and not many customers. We have had lots of rain and wind but no power outages. Doing lots of reading too. Book club has good choices. love jean

by Jean

Cor blimey just like South End on a sunny Sunday but without the amusement arcades and funfair.
Christine and Co

by Christine Lloyd

I predict the Lonely Planet series will soon be replaced with a new series of up to date travel books called Hawkson Planet. And travelers will get their info off the internet rather than paper ;)

by Janet

All the more reason for you guys to write your own travel guidebook for us 'want a bes' to follow one day, and hopefully soon, before your treasures are also discovered!! I am going to stop reading Lonely Planet. On another exciting note, we are going to Tra Vinh to be hosted by TVU for a few days!! Enjoy the rest of your travels and keep pushing your way through! XX

by Maxine Stewart

Looks pretty awful. What a contrast to the near empty NewZealand country side I am traveling through. Reportedly large amounts of Chinese Money moving into NZ real estate. Those Chinese with money will want out of those crowds for some thing more revitalizing - as we all do.

by Tom

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