This is my first time to visit China, which is the land where our ancestors had came from.
I just had about an hour of sleep because I couldn’t seem to fall asleep. We left a little past 330am then headed out to pick up our companions. I wasn’t able to take a quick nap on the airplane too. We arrived at Xiamen International Airport and rode the coaster prepared by our Uncle and the travel agency. We went to Quanzhou that time which was about 45-1 hr travel time from Xiamen Airport. Quanzhou is the largest province in Fujian, China. At the expressway exit, we met four people waving at us at the waiting shed. Two of them hopped into our coaster while the other two walked to the car where they are parked. It was sizzling hot then but it didn’t seem to bother them. They treated us a welcoming lunch. My grandmother was surprised when they suddenly raised her wheelchair while she was seated on it to carry her to the second floor. Apparently, there was no elevator in the place. We had seafood for lunch which according to them was a specialty for the province of Quanzhou. They served fresh and tasty seafood. Our driver dined with us and we found out that he couldn’t eat any seafood so he ended up eating just about two dishes without seafood. After lunch, we checked-in to Wanda Hotel. The hotel is very nice and spacious. It is said to be owned and managed by one of the largest group in China, the Wanda group.
After a short time that we settled in, everyone was relieved to find the chance to connect to the internet. My uncle was encouraging me then to use Wechat which is a messenger app akin to facebook. Good thing I followed suit because they said that Wechat is very convenient in China and that we’ll have trouble with other apps. Our cousins were puzzled that they couldn’t get in to Viber or Instagram. Using Wechat was way faster in sending pictures and messages so I took the opportunity to message our cousin back home and our cousins abroad. Our relatives there brought us to see their houses. They are considered to be nephews of our grandfather. The houses are located in the compound of the ancestral home; I was told that they divided up the place later on among each other. Our host prepared some tea for us while his wife prepared boiled native eggs for everyone. It is accustomed to treat your guests with these eggs which is cooked in sweet clear soup. They said that it symbolizes welcoming. You slice the egg in half with your chopsticks and eat it. Each of us were given two pieces of native egg and were told that if you haven’t reached the age of a Senior Citizen, we should finish the eggs. We were full after that and then we bade them goodbye. I took a photo of the group outside grandfather’s nephew’s house which has rooftop designs that of a temple. For dinner, my uncle’s friend treated us with local Fujian cuisine. The dishes are familiar because our grandmother cooks them for us. I saw now the root of our dishes at home back in the Philippines. We ate a lot but the dishes were too much for us to finish as we were stuffed with the eggs.
Spareribs with raddish soup, kikiam, oyster cake, duck misua… these are some of the dishes that our grandmother cooks at home. One of her specialty is the oyster cake which many love to eat.
Grandmother was quite sad that our grandfather wasn’t able to see the improvements of the place. He had supported them financially over the years. According to our mom, the roads have developed over the years since their last visit. It was harder to go to the ancestral home then. It was because of our grandmother that we-the grandchildren-had the opportunity to visit our roots.