We took the one week vacation time Michael has right after Christmas to Xiamen by the high speed train CRH. The distance is about 1000KM (621 miles) and it takes 7 and half hours. We got second class seats (at around USD 50 /p) for the outbound trip, and first class seats (USD 60 /p) for the inbound trip. We don’t really like flying especially now the weather is cold (around freezing point). All the high speed trains now depart from the new Hongqian Railway Station, from our apartment metro line 10 station is only 5 minute walk, and it takes us right to the station (or Hongqiao Airport), so my aunt went to the station with us, taking our coast back and picked us up at the station again. Boys were great on the train, for the most part. For feeding, I was able to comfortably feed one at a time, on the return trip, there’s a nice room I was able to use to feed them and a change station in the bathroom. I am glad that I had the nursing cover, which allowed me to feed them in public. Although now I have to hold Lin and Li’s hand because they are so strong they can easily uncover the cover 😉 On the way out, they were pretty fussy, so Michael and I walked them in the isles before they fell asleep and then sat them with them still in the carriers. On the way back, they were so wonderful, there were many other infants on the train as well so the whole way we were talking to people and sharing the parenting stories. The couple sitting behind us live in France, the husband is from Xiamen so we really enjoyed talking to them as well. The wife speaks Chinese very well and their son speaks Chinese and French so it was really fun to talk to them.
Thanks to our Ergo carriers, we had no trouble walking around Gulangyu, the island is not small but there’s no public transportation, nor bicycles, the only vehicles allowed is the electric shuttle for tourists, it was a little hard to walk the hills sometimes but we really enjoyed the trees, beach, and the gorgeous buildings built in the early 1900s. We weren’t too happy about the food here, apparently it’s so built up and most people in the business district are tourists, other than some local specialties, most food in Gulangyu is expensive and not so tasty. I tried some exotic fruit one day just before bed and I woke up from severe stomachache and threw up at 2:30am, thankfully after resting all morning in bed (which translates to Michael caring 2 babies the whole morning) I was able to get up and walk around again. We did enjoy our days there since it’s a very nice place to walk around, see the ocean (and vaguely the mountains that are between Taiwan and Xiamen), and get so much attention from people. One afternoon, we went to the park and the second we put Lin and Li on the blanket we threw on the grass, a circle of people showed up checking them out. At almost six months, Michael and I are really used to people approaching us and asking us if we have twins. Chinese people are funny in a way, that they are not shy about commenting the babies in front of you. They are not shy about trying to touch the babies, neither telling us they need to wear more clothes (it’s guaranteed someone will tell us that every single time we go out). I really don’t know what the point is to keep kids too warm. We are talking about in the train, air-conditioned to 22 degrees (around 72 degrees), some babies were wearing three sets of pants (the outside pant is a snow suit), and layers and layers of clothing, the baby’s face is like a Fuji apple, then you look at Lin and Li in their onesies!!! I guess they have been doing really well, they traveled with us from -2 to 20 degrees (28 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) and didn’t get sick at all. Although we were told that once they get past 6 months, they will have fever – we shall see.
Gulangyu is a place with a lot of European influence, the hotel we stayed in is a mansion under renovation, the rooms are well-appointed, ceiling was extremely high and we upgraded ourselves to a much bigger room the last night and they have a twin bath tub 🙂 It’s nice to know that we survived Dec 27~31 all on our own, traveling all the way to the south point of China!