A Walk in a Chinese Port Town

Xiamen, 1985

You’re standing on the shore near the docks, watching an artist paint the passenger boat which used to go down to Hong Kong but which now serves as hotel and nightclub.

In the nineteenth-century, Westerners called this harbor Amoy. It’s now called Xiamen [pronounced approximately shamen], meaning the “lower gate” to China. The two islands of Xiamen lie in Fujian Province across the strait from Taiwan. It was from here in 1661 that the seventeenth-century pirate-turned-patriot, the Ming loyalist Zheng Chenggong, trained his 990 ships and 25,000 marines and then drove the Dutch out of Taiwan. Later … Read More