China Part One - Meizhou

The rest of our China Trip:
1. China Part Two - Guangzhou (Destinations)
2. China Part Three – Guangzhou (Eats)
3. Macau – Destinations
4. Taiwan Day One
5. Taiwan Day Two
6. Din Tai Fung – Taipei 101, Taipei
7. Taiwan Day Three
8. Taiwan Day Four and Five Part 1
9. Taiwan Day Four and Five Part 2


From 20th until the 31st of March my family and I travelled to China and its neighbouring countries, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The main purpose of this trip was to visit my Grandad's (from my Dad's side) birth place in Meizhou, China and to meet his siblings whom I've never known existed!

Altogether, 14 of my immediate and extended family went on this trip which. Plans began middle of 2014 and I have to say my mum and aunt did a great job putting everything together! As you can imagine organising and trying to please 14 fussy adults is no small feat, but they took it in stride and did an amazing job!

So, this first post is of our travels in Meizhou. I have very limited knowledge about this place, just that it is a city in the Guangdong province. This city is mainly populated with Hakka Chinese, a cultural ethnicity in China and, my Dad and his family is of Hakka background.

In Meizhou we stayed at the Royal Classic Hotel. Apparently it is a 5 star hotel. The rooms were spacious and clean and the service was also good, but there weren't any bell-boys. Also, we purchased breakfast with the rooms. I must say the breakfast there was disappointing. There was a wide range of food but all were very oily and just so-so in terms of flavour.


Royal Classic Hotel, Meizhou


DAY ONE:

The first day in Meizhou we visited my Grandad's old house and even had the chance to eat there. My Grandad's cousin had organised a catering company to come to the house and serve lunch there. That was a surreal experience. We sat in the dining room filled with pictures of my Grandad's immediate family. I was really moved, just imagining that I was sitting where my Grandad and his family would've spent time together.


This was only half of the dishes we had during lunch

After a really lovely lunch we all went to a temple nearby. Mum and I didn't go to the actual temple, but sat in the surrounding area which was lovely and cool. There were so many families with young children and young couples just enjoying the fresh air. I really wished I knew how to speak Mandarin so I could interact with the locals!


Park in Meizhou

While waiting for everyone to return from the temple I even got the enjoy this lovely blueberry soft-serve ice cream for only $0.80!




DAY TWO:

On our second day in Meizhou there were more reunions, this time with two of Grandad's sisters! We visited both their homes and had long chats. By long chats I mean, they spoke to me in Mandarin and I smiled and nodded. Gosh, I should really learn Mandarin! But, it was lovely, meeting the people who were closest to my Grandad and seeing the resemblances! I met my Dad's cousins and their children as well, one who creepily looked like me! I wish I had met everyone sooner.

After the reunions, endless hugs and tea drinking (they serve a LOT of tea when they have visitors), we visited a neighbourhood which was Venice themed. They have made this place into a tourist destination with man-made waterfall and strategically placed horse carriages for people to take photos of or with. The surrounding area is also filled with high-rise apartment buildings and a shopping centre is under construction as I type this.


Entrance to Hakka Venice
Water feature at Hakka Venice
The Earl of Castle Bar in Hakka Venice
Unique Hotel Building

Hakka Venice did have a very European feel to it. There are cafes and shops there to occupy our time, but the scenery itself was enough. This is a very popular spot for young couples and pre-wedding photos. During our two-hour visit we came across 10 couples taking their pre-wed photos! The best thing about this place, it's dog friendly!

Now, on to the funnest part of day two, the tour ride of Meizhou city. My Dad's cousin organised for us a car that could take us all around the city and experience the local night-life.


Tour Car(t)

Much to everyone's surprise, the car was not a car at all, it was a supersized electric golf cart! I was absolutely delighted by this! The weather was perfect for it and this would allow us to soak in as much of Meizhou City's scenes as much as possible.


Busy park in Meizhou City

First we were taken to this hustling and bustling park in Meizhou City. The photo doesn't do this place justice so I will just try to describe it. Apart from the colourful enormous fountain, which changes colour by the way, there were bike hire, bumper cars and small stalls selling souvenirs and toys there. There were many families with young children highly enjoying themselves and there was also a group of elderly people line dancing! I must say they really know how to have fun!

After driving around for one and a half hours, we were taken to eat yamian (dry noodles with soup served separately). The yamian could be enjoyed by itself or with soup filled with your choice of beef and offal (sliced liver, intestines, pig's ears and more!). Offal is actually a delicacy in China so I don't think it deserves such a offal name ;-). 


Yamian with soup (CN¥ 10)

Everything in the photo only cost CN¥10 which is about AUD$2! We were feeling hungry by this stage so the warm and tasty soup was very welcomed! The noodles were also great, soft yet chewy and tasted amazing! Such a great way to end the night.


DAY THREE:

The third day was a short day in Meizhou as we had to make our way to Guangzhou. We squeezed in a visit to Hakka Museum! It was filled with exhibitions of the history of Hakka people.




It was not a very informative trip for me as we were rushed for time and I didn't get the chance to read all the descriptions of each exhibit. The best part of the museum visit was...




This corn shaped and flavoured ice cream! I was expecting a vanilla flavoured ice cream inside a corn shaped cone, but to my surprise the ice cream was also corn flavoured and it was delicious! They captured the perfect sweet corn flavour.

So now it was time to say goodbye to Meizhou, but before then, we couldn't leave without eating another serving of yamian!



Yamian with soup or wonton (CN¥13)

This time my Dad's cousin took us to his favourite yamian place and hard to believe, but, it was even tastier than last night's! I was really pleased with the addition of wontons as it was delicious and perfect with the noodles.

That concluded our trip to Meizhou. I definitely want to come back and spend more time with my long lost cousins, aunts and uncles!

I do apologise for the lack of knowledge and information of locations of restaurants and tourist destinations in Meizhou. Throughout the trip I was constantly sending my location via Whatsapp to Mr. T, thinking I was being really clever and could refer to them as I'm writing this, but when I tried to reopen them, they just did not work =(. Well lesson learnt and I will be more prepared on my future trips!
Information:

Royal Classic Hotel
No. 35 Dongmen Road
Meijiang District
Meizhou
Ph: +86 753 867 7777

First Yamian restaurant
Corner of Xianzi Mid. Ave. and Liaxin Road
Meizhou

Second Yamian restaurant
25-1 Jiangbian Road
Meizhou

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