Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

When in Dongshan, Don’t Miss This!

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Dongshan Dao (东山岛) is about a three-hour bus ride from Xiamen.  A few months back, a friend had mentioned he heard it was a decent place to visit on a day trip.  People said it was “like Xiamen 30 years ago.”  And, what can I say, I am a sucker for time travel.

Squid drying along the seashore.

Squid drying along the seashore.

Dongshan is primarily famed for its beaches and fresh seafood.  But there’s one quick thing I have to mention: the supposed can’t-miss attraction, Fengdongshi (风动石)– in my brutal translation, Stone Moving in the Wind.

This chunk of earth came with some hype!  People in town were telling me all sorts of tall tales.

Millions upon millions of years, that’s how long they say this rock has been wobbling atop its eroded seaside podium.

A local guy I met eating at a restaurant told me the stone balances on less than 10 square centimeters of surface contact.

Another shopkeeper told me a dozen American soldiers had come during WWII and tried to push it off (actually very believable), but failed.

What they like to call "The Most Miraculous Stone on the Earth."
What they like to call “The Most Miraculous Stone on the Earth.”

Look upon this stone, ye mighty, and quiver.

On my first trip to Dongshan, after trying for about an hour to sneak into the garden grounds through the labrynth of surrounding alleyways, I resigned myself to paying the 35 rmb to see this cultural behemoth.

Let.  Down.

10 centimeters???  More like a solid, solid 5 square meters.  That sucker was firmly in place.

And, yes, like every other sucker, of course I tried to push it off.  Come on, imagine the glory if I pulled off a sword-in-the-stone task like that!

I am not sure I buy the line about the most impressive rock in the world, but I was slightly fascinated.  I enjoyed sitting back and watching all the little children come up and try to push it off.  It reminded me of the task they have in front of them: pushing China into the future.

Pick a door, any door.
Pick a door, any door.
Where is that pesky Minotaur?
Where is that pesky Minotaur?

Rule of Thumb:  When in China, if locals tell you something or some place is phenomenal, prepare yourself for an 80% chance of let down.  If they tell you that very few people go someplace and that it may be dangerous, you’re looking at a 80% chance of satisfaction.


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