Island of Xianlou

Nicholas Quirke was in high spirits on 26 July 2020 which was an appropriate mood to have as they traveled by cable car to the theme park island of Xianlou. The day had started well with breakfast on the terrace of the hotel overlooking the bay, watching the fishermen on the rocks. They checked out early and headed to the south of Qinhuangdao to experience the delights of Whelk Island. It was a popular destination and it took a while to get parked and to then navigate the complex ticketing process to get on to the island. They hadn’t accounted for the hour long wait in a queue to take the cable car across the sea to the island. It was a great opportunity to observe at extremely close proximity the notes of holiday makers in the republic and he was pleased to see that there was very little difference to those in his homeland. It was extremely noticeable that he was a laowai and for the duration of the visit he was a stated at, waved at, smiled at and glared at. It was very hot and stuffy in the queue and he was glad that he had bought his fan with him which, he didn’t hesitate to use. He realised that he had never actually been on an open cable car before and was not familiar with the protocol, and after the refreshing and long ride across the water, as they reached the island was puzzled by the gestures the staff were making and at the last moment realised he needed to get his feet off the bar so they could jump out. The island seemed surprisingly shabby with the view dominated by a Heltet Skelter, a relic from the 50s, commandeered for use as a bungee jump which he took pleasure in watching but none in the thought of doing it himself. He observed a group of fishermen indulging in their sport next to the No Fishing sign as an ineffectual security policeman stood by, more interested in the presence of a laowai than curtailing the breach of the law. They climbed to the temple and then took a ride around the island on a boat before joining the queue heading back to shore on the cable car. As they surveyed the sea below them Peng spotted a shoal of Jellyfish. On dry land they began the 3.5 journey home. It was good to be home and once they had eaten a takeaway of noodles, unpacked, laundered, settled down to watch a less than average film, ‘Strange but True’, the tedium of which prepared him for bed.

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