There wasn’t much to say about the scenery along the way, because this was more of a return journey to our final destination, Rain Village. The calmness of the return journey enabled me to gradually empty my mind and think about nothing.
The shapes of the clouds in Hainan were always changing. Fatty made an appointment with one of his friends to entertain us in Hainan. This man was a Fujian cook who worked in the kitchen of a hotel and lived in a fishing village by the sea. When he heard that we were coming, he said that a batch of swimming crabs and several mud crabs had just arrived, so he would cook us a meal of mud crabs and steamed rice.
There were some houses by the sea that were split into living quarters for the locals and living quarters for guests. Every evening, fishing boats of various sizes would come back, carrying a wide variety of seafood on board.
When we crossed the Hainan Strait by boat, the truck stayed below deck while we walked around on the deck above. As we watched the seabirds flying around the boat, I practiced our crosstalk script with Fatty.
We managed to work out the second act on the boat, which made me think that victory was in sight.
After getting off the boat, we continued our drive to the village outside of Wenchang.(1) After about four hours, we arrived at the coconut grove outside the village. I heard that the small road leading into the village was crowded with tourists because rockets were being launched nearby. We ended up stuck in traffic for three hours before we were finally able to enter the village, and just in time to catch the last moments before the sun set. The sun’s dying rays reflected on the seawater were very colorful. We parked the truck and unloaded the poultry. While Fatty went in to prepare dinner with his friend, Poker-Face and I went to sit on the embankment by the sea.
Nowadays, you could travel to Yongxing Island by plane, and it wasn’t very expensive either. I saw a lot of advertisements along the way, so I figured that you could also take a plane from Yongxing Island if you wanted to.
Time flies and the world changes so fast.
The sea breeze dampened our hair. I didn’t want to think about anything, so I just sat there in a daze until the sun completely set.
After the sea became dark, the night lights on the fishing boats gradually lit up. There were boats going out to fish at night and boats coming back late, so it was very lively.
The fragrance of the mud crab rice dish cooked by Fatty and his friend was so strong that I could smell it even by the sea. Many tourists were interested in it and wanted to buy some, but we turned them all away.
The rice was glutinous rice, which we had eaten once in Rain Village, but this time, in addition to the usual ingredients (glutinous rice mixed with green peas, fresh shredded pork, small shrimp, and yellow rice wine), we also had crab roe from the swimming crabs and red crab paste from Quanzhou.
While the crab sauce was way more delicious than shrimp sauce, it was supposedly hard to make.
The mud crab was pressed down into the rice after it was steamed so that the crab juice would soak directly into the rice. If we wanted to increase the flavor while eating the crabs and rice, there were also some large peanuts we had carefully selected, which tasted even better when eaten together. But the most amazing thing was the small dish of fermented bean curd with crab sauce next to it, which we used to dip the crab legs in.
This was truly a feast of flavors.
But to be honest, this kind of meal was more along the lines of those special meals you’d eat three or four times a year. People like me, who were from Jiangsu and Zhejiang,(2) couldn’t stand such colorful and savory dishes.
After I finished eating, I stared straight ahead. Not only was this dish a huge calorie bomb, but I had also drunk beer while eating. As soon as I stood up, I knew I had to exercise tonight.
So, the three of us took a walk along the sea embankment. When we reached the end, we continued walking along the beach. We turned on our cell phone lights and kept walking for a long time, until we eventually reached the naval base.(3) The road ahead was blocked, so we turned around and went back.
The path back was actually a small road that ran through the middle of a huge salt field. The salt fields on both sides looked like they went on for thousands of miles, and the street lamps were very dim. At this time, I felt as if I had finally burned off almost all of those calories from dinner. Fatty and I started running while Poker-Face entered the salt fields alone.
There were embankments between the salt fields, which were quite similar to the farmland we were used to seeing, but we also saw many things that looked like abandoned buildings in the middle of these salt fields. Poker-Face seemed very interested in them and wanted to go and take a look.
Fatty and I didn’t worry about what he was doing because after he entered the salt fields and looked at whatever he was interested in, he kept appearing on the road ahead of us, waiting for us to catch up. He always managed to catch up with us much faster than we could catch up with him.
After doing this a few times, Fatty and I were already sweating but Poker-Face still appeared under the streetlight in front of us. This time, however, he was looking at a side path, as if he were inviting us to go and check it out.
We followed him onto the path (it was actually a relatively wide embankment running through the field). There were very few lights in the salt field, but anyone who had seen Chaka Salt Lake’s “Mirror of the Sky” knew that salt fields were a natural reflector.(4) So, even though there were few lights here, the places where there were lights appeared very clearly both on the ground and in the sky. The whole scene looked very ethereal.
We followed Poker-Face for about a kilometer until we reached an open space in the salt field, where there was an old temple.
There was light coming from the temple, and a woman in her thirties dressed in a local Hainan outfit was waiting for us at the door.
The place was very deserted.
When we approached, the woman invited us in, and I realized that this was a Fei Kun Temple. I was surprised to find that such a small one was here, and it was still running too.
Or, maybe this was a comprehensive-type temple where multiple gods were worshipped, and Fei Kun was one of them.
There was no one else here, and I could see an old sign on the door which said: “Cultural Relics Protection Group”. The woman told us that she lived here alone and usually took care of the incense in the temple. Occasionally, tourists would pass by and donate some money.
There were only two rooms in the entire temple. The shrine was located at the entrance, but there were many candles and statues and the Fei Kun statue had been placed in the middle.
There was also a small room in the back where she slept.
Despite the limited space, there was a canopy outside the shrine with chairs and a tea table for drinking tea. We went in to take a look around the temple, but when Fatty and I got ready to burn incense, we suddenly felt a little puzzled.
The god was standing here in front of us, yet we were about to worship the statue.
So, we went back out front to drink some tea. Even though this place was close to the sea, the sea breeze wasn’t strong but it was very cool. The surroundings were very quiet, and since the whole area was full of salt, there weren’t many insects.
I asked the woman if she was a monk and if she was lonely here all by herself.
She said, “Although our family name is Zhang, the nature of each generation is different from the others. I heard that our ancestors were very special, but over the last two generations, many things haven’t been handed down.”
She didn’t know what her ancestors were like, but the family required that this temple remain in operation. She didn’t know why, but out of those in her generation, she had a strange temperament where she found it difficult to live in crowded places. So, she moved here. Her aunt also lived here before, so she stayed with her until the end. She was all alone now, but she still planned to stay here for the rest of her life.
Then she looked at Poker-Face and said, “As soon as I saw this guest, I felt as if fate was at work. This temple has always been standing here alone for several generations, so I started to wonder if it was waiting for someone to come here.”
Fatty pointed to the Fei Kun statue and asked, “What do you call this?”
“It’s called the Ganying Mutou God of the Western Paradise,” the woman said.(5)
<Chapter 42><Table of Contents><Chapter 44>
(1) Just for reference:
(2) More reference:
(3) Um…so…I googled around and there only appear to be a few naval bases in Hainan, most of which are like all in the south and would take 2 days of walking to get there from Wenchang (according to google maps). The main one is the Yulin naval base. If there’s one closer to Wenchang, I wasn’t finding it.
(4) Here’s the trip advisor page with people’s photos/reviews. It apparently looks cooler if it’s sunny but I think this one is the prettiest:
(5) Wasn’t 100% sure how to put it in English so left some of the pinyin. Characters are 西天感应木头天公. The ganying mutou bit can mean something like sensing wood, which I thought made the whole thing sound weird in English. Hence, the pinyin.
Cutting it close but here you go (sorry if it’s a bit rough; I’m in a rush). Here‘s this hilarious video clip for you guys and this is about to me in a few hours hahaha. Happy Thanksgiving!
2 thoughts on “Chapter 43 Traveling Notes”
Enjoy your meal and Happy Thanksgiving 😂
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They sat together and watching this view. It is so romantic. I want to see this scene.
Why, whatever he shows interests in is either a temple or a tomb. It worries me.
“The god was standing here in front of us, yet we were about to worship the statue.” Humm, He means he adores his darling to the point of worshiping.
Thank you for the pictures and the information it helps a lot.
And the video was funny. As author as our witness we thought Xiao Ge could play hide and seek but he ended up finding a temple! 😄
Wishing you good times. Happy thanks giving. 💖
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