Friday, May 23, 2008

Arriving in Xiamen

Friday was a travel day for us as we said our goodbyes to our friends in Guangzhou and made our way to the airport. The flight to Xiamen was thankfully short (less than one hour) and uneventful. However, unlike US carriers, they managed a full meal service within that time.

Xiamen is on an island in the Fujian province, which is one coast of China across from Taiwan.While the weather here is still quite warm, it is a little less humid and the sun was shining, something that we did not get much of during our stay in Guangzhou. Xiamen University is located on the seacoast and at the base of a fairly steeply rising mountain. Also next to the university is one of the 5 most important Buddhist temples in China, the South Putao temple. We will be visiting the temple tomorrow and climbing the mountain behind it. On the other side of the mountain is a large botanical gardens. On Sunday, we plan on making our way to a smaller island called Gulangyu.

We were welcomed to Xiamen University by Professor Chen of the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department. I gave a seminar in the afternoon to some of their graduate students, some of which were from Africa. Professor Chen and his department have graciously made arrangements for a classroom and took Dr. Liu and I out to dinner on the day of our arrival.We were also welcomed by Ann and Michael Forest, friends of mine from Buffalo. Michael is a Professor of Philosophy at Canesius College in Buffalo on a one-year Fullbright Fellowship with Xiamen University. It turns out that we are staying in the same building that they have been living in for almost the past year. They are here with their three children ages 12, 6, and 3: Their six-year-old daughter was adopted from China from the same city as my oldest daughter. In fact, we traveled together for the adoption process in 2002. They have been very helpful and willing to serve as tour guides during our stay in Xiamen.

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