By Amanda Sinclair
Pingtan is another little fishing island on the coast. I say a little island, it is the fifth largest Island in China, and is reached through Fuqing by a bridge. It is a quaint little place, with some beautiful beaches, and due to the location in the Taiwanese Strait, has a lot of Taiwanese businesses and food there to be sampled and enjoyed.
To get to Pingtan Island from Fuzhou, you can just take a bus directly there, which makes it a lot easier, as you dont need to make any transfers. The bus takes a couple of hours, but is air conditioned, and only coat 45RMB when I left last year in July. The bus takes you directly to the bus station in Pingtan, which is located within the town, from there you can go anywhere.
I decided to go to the beach and try to spend the day relaxing and getting a bit of a tan. So I decided to first try and get a taxi, and ask for the beach (shatan – first tone), but no one seemed to understand my accent or pronunciation, so I started walking. I realised that in the heat and not knowing which direction to walk in, it was futile, so I stoppe to buy some water, and found a girl who spoke a little bit of English. She helped us secure our first passenger ride on an electric bike! Exciting, and all for 10 RMB.
I can honestly say that that ride was the most thrilling ride I had had since being in China, and it didnt even go that fast, but was doing the typical Chinese style of driving by weaving in and out of the traffic, not stopping at lights, and what seemed to me, being completely reckless, but boy was it an adrenaline rush.
having survived the journey to the beach, and with my pulse now racing, we proceeded to walk along the beach, and soon realised that Pingtan tried to cater for the tourists that inevitable go to beaches during the Summer holidays. There were jet skis, quad bikes, horses, kite flying, speed boats, people selling jewelry, food and drinks, and everything you could possibly want to do on the beach. At points it felt a little crowded, and that we may possibly be run over by a quad bike or trampled on by an exhausted horse, that we moved back a little so we werent in the way.
Whilst the beach catered for tourists, it didnt seem to cater for many foreign tourists, as we were soon a main focus of many people, and sunbathing in a bikini suddenly made me feel like I was naked on a beach where everyone was covered up. It was slightly awakward, so we decided to move along again to try to avoid stares.
Sunbathing and the beach sports were not the only thing here that could be done. To our right there was a small hill with a temple on the top of it, so we decided to explore that, which led us to discovering an untouch bay, with rock pools,a dn little rock shelfs overhanging the sea. It was completely different from the beach we had left, and felt we were in a different place altogether.
Being an island, a lot of the food was seafood, but because it is also located opposite Taiwan, a lot of the food was Taiwanese as well. Every night for that week in July there was a food court offering food from asll over the world. There was Japanese food, Korean food, Chinese food, Taiwanese food, Western food, every type of food possible. So we decided to go eat there, and we gorged ourselves on some of the best food I have eaten since being in China.
It was all served from little vendor stalls, where people were trying totempt us with their delicacies, and we were able to select what we wanted from each of them, before taking them back to a patio table and charis, that had been placed in front of the vendors.
beverages were available, again from all of the countries, and language was not a problem. Even if we didnt speak a common tongue, we all understand the language of food, and were able to mime ay questions and answers. It was a brilliant place to eat and sample different cuisines, with relaxing music inthe background.
We had decided to stay the night, and whilst there are pletny of hotels and bed and breakfasts in the town, we decided to pitch a tent and camp. We took note of all tide lines, and what the tide was, and when it would be high tide, and pitched a tent above that point. We then proceeded to make a campfire to keep us warm, and to also cook some nibbles over. it was like being back at home, but in a part of china.
In the morning we were able to watch the sunrise over the sea, and witness the beautiful transition from night to day inan erray of colours, and bathe in the warm morning sea, that was slowly coming alive with fishing boats going out for the morning catch.
We took down the tent, and proceeded to walk along the main road and find the bus station to take us back to Fuzhou, where we had work later in the afternoon. It was easy to find a taxi to take us to the bus station, and after purchasing our tickets, boarded the bus, and contentedly napped until we reached Fuzhou and home.
I would recommend going to Pingtan and spending some time there. There are no major temples, or shopping malls, but it has some truly beautiful beaches, amazing food, and the locals are so friendly and helpful. It is a wonderful place to go, to escape the city, and so convenient and easy to do so.