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Travel Report: Xunpu Oyster Village, China.

Plant market Xunpu Oyster Village Quanzhou

February 2018. I find it reassuring that even after all these years Lonely Planet still comes up with some great recommendations. Indeed it was my China LP that suggested I check out Xunpu Oyster Village, a small community perched on the edge of Quanzhou City.

However, our trip didn’t get off to the best start. When the taxi driver dropped Wonderboy and I off in a deserted street, we initially doubted he’d even brought us to the right place. But then a helpful local stepped in and, through the genius of Baidu Translate, expertly guided us in the right direction. “Follow the road straight!” she wrote, “until you get to the rock at the entrance of the vegetable market”.

Xunpu Oyster Village Quanzhou Fujian Province China.

Xunpu Oyster Village, Quanzhou.

February 2018. Observing the traditional ways of its maritime Silk Road heritage, the women of Xunpu still dress in red. Furthermore, the look usually includes either a red bandana or elaborate flowery head garments like this one.

Xunpu Oyster Village Quanzhou Fujian Province China

Xunpu Oyster Village, Quanzhou.

February 2018The senior citizens of Xunpu typically spend their day shelling oysters. All day, every single day. You can see this taking place throughout the village main street and down narrow side alleys.

Xunpu Oyster Village.

Old woman Xunpu Oyster Village Quanzhou China

Xunpu Oyster Village, Quanzhou.

February 2018. Nobody blinked at the presence of two foreigners wandering through. Nor did they seem to care as I went about the business of taking photographs. In fact, in most cases they didn’t even notice.

Yellow baskets Xunpu Oyster Village Quanzhou China

Xunpu Oyster Village, Quanzhou.

February 2018. The village also produces wicker baskets, which are painted a signature yellow for sale around the region. Sometimes the baskets will be filled with empty shells and sold as ornamental gifts and garden features. 

Seashell house Xunpu Oyster Village Quanzhou China.

One of the village’s seashell houses.

February 2018. Despite increasing urbanisation, Xunpu Village still features a number of traditional homes, parts of which were constructed using local seashells! The family who lived in this courtyard gave us welcoming smiles and watched in amusement as we stood admiring their abodes.

Women shelling oysters Xunpu Oyster Village Quanzhou Fujian Province China

Xunpu Oyster Village, Quanzhou.

February 2018. There’s a sort of shelling HQ at the end of the street, where a large gathering of ladies toil away with real focus. It’s certainly hard, repetitive work and in most cases these ladies do their thing silently, heads down. No matter how fast they shell there’s always going to be another basket. Sometimes you just have to take a moment and be thankful that you won the genetic lottery.

Xunpu Oyster Village Quanzhou Fujian Province China.

Xunpu Oyster Village, Quanzhou.

For more on this under-the-radar city, check out my other reports from around Quanzhou.

Or maybe search further afield with my zillion articles from across China.

I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.

I’ve been living, working and traveling all over the world since 2001, so why not check out my huge library of travel reports from over 30 countries.

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