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  Chinese Way>Life

Sidestepping the rush of modern life

2013-09-09 16:23:25

(China Daily)


Xiamei village has a rich past, but now it's fading into history, He Na and Hu Meidong report from Wuyi Mountain, Fujian province.

Wearing light blue clothes with small black flowers, her white and gray hair wrapped up in a bun, Zhu Ezai sits on a bamboo chair and stares at a small pile of Dahongpao tea on the table in front of her.

With quick, repeated movements, the 80-year-old busily picks out bad tea stalks, dust and yellow leaves. The room where Zhu works is in a two-story house built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Its gray walls are discolored by damp and are crumbling with age.

Zhu lives in Xiamei, a village at the foot of Wuyi Mountain Tourist Resort in Fujian province. Although it's only 8 kilometers from a well-known resort, the village has remained a secret and almost untouched by the modern world.

Several years ago, a daily shuttle bus operated between Wuyishan and Xiamei, but a dearth of regular passengers forced the closure of the service. Even taxi drivers are reluctant to take people out to the village because they have to return empty.

Liu Qishu, 63, and his wife have been living in Xiamei for 40 years.

The villagers are used to being ignored and they enjoy their quiet lives. Visitors see Xiamei as a rural refuge from the bustling cities of present-day China.

One's first impression of Xiamei is that it feels like an old water town, such as Zhouzhuang or Xitang in the Yangtze River Delta. A shallow river, the Meixi, flows through the village. Covered open-sided wooden walkways line the riverbanks and the town boasts pavilions, small stone bridges, archways and ancestral halls.

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