Alvinology goes to Shantou – Day 3 of 5 - Alvinology

Alvinology goes to Shantou – Day 3 of 5

On the our third day in Shantou, we went to Puning City (普宁市) in Jieyang (揭阳) in the morning. Rachel and I got to ride in one of the VIP’s BMW, thanks to my boss, Chim Kang.

Rachel and I inside the BMW
Rachel and I inside the BMW

The first activity for the day was to head to one of the local government’s banquet hall for another opulent feast. Nicholas, Rachel and I decided to skip this banquet as we were still full from our heavy breakfast at the hotel. We also wanted to take a breather from the straight-laced official itinerary.

The three of us explored the local market nearby and were captivated by the vibrant sights and sounds. We bought some local tidbits to bring home and then had a simple lunch at one of the street stalls. It was just porridge with some vegetable and meat dishes, but it felt good to eat normally for once.

On the street of Puning
On the street of Puning
We were on a street with lots of mobile shops
We were on a street with lots of mobile shops
Loud music and catchy displays were ubiqutious to all the mobile shops
Loud music and catchy displays were ubiqutious to all the mobile shops
Somehow, this Ronald MacDonald sees to have more oriental features
Somehow, this Ronald MacDonald sees to have more oriental features
Commericial trishaw
Commericial trishaw
Overdressed for marketing
Overdressed for marketing
Chicken and rabbits waiting to be slaughtered
Chicken and rabbits waiting to be slaughtered
Mutton with assorted body parts
Mutton with assorted body parts
Fishmonger
Fishmonger
Fish slaughtering
Fish slaughtering
Vegetable stall
Vegetable stall
More vegetable vendors
More vegetable vendors
Meat vendor
Meat vendor
Fancy some tortoises for lunch?
Fancy some tortoises for lunch?
Home-farmed eggs
Home-farmed eggs
We bought lots of quirky flavour potato chips
We bought lots of quirky flavour potato chips
Potato chips we bought because of the funny brand name
Potato chips we bought because of the funny brand name
We had our lunch here
We had our lunch here
Meal for three pax
Meal for three pax
Close-up of our meat and vegetable dishes
Close-up of our meat and vegetable dishes

After lunch, we went to the Puning Overseas Chinese Secondary School (普宁市华侨中学) for a tour. The Singapore Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan (新加坡潮州八邑会馆) has contributed funding to this school and some of the members in our group were happy to witness how their money has been used for a good cause.

Inside the school compound
Inside the school compound
The Chinese really like slogans - even on buildings
The Chinese really like slogans – even on buildings
The lux cars from our entourage, parked at the school basketball court
The lux cars from our entourage, parked at the school basketball court
Students flocking to classes
Students flocking to classes
Random school girls
Random school girls
Lots of parked bicycles
Lots of parked bicycles
School kids playing badminton
School kids playing badminton
Rachel and I enjoying lollies we bought from the tuckshop
Rachel and I enjoying lollies we bought from the tuckshop
On the important of speaking Mandarin
On the importance of speaking Mandarin
School noticeboard
School noticeboard
Another signboard encouraging students to speak Mandarin
Another signboard encouraging students to speak Mandarin
Time for poetry recital by the river
Time for poetry recital by the river
The dormitary
The dormitary
Freshly constructed extension wing
Freshly constructed extension wing
The new building
The new building
A dedicated hall in the new building to showcase the school's achievements
A dedicated hall in the new building to showcase the school’s achievements

Next, we headed to the Puning Chinese Medical and Herbs Market (普宁中药材市场) to check out the wide array of traditional Chinese medicine and herbs found in Chinese medical halls around the world. Other than the ubiquitous herbs like Lingzhi and Cordyceps, there were also rare items that are not commonly found elsewhere. Rachel and I were fairly disturbed to find a shop which specialises in deer products – all the way from the antelope to the deer’s penis.

Entrance to the Puning medical hub
Entrance to the Puning medical hub
Minature representation of the entire compound
Minature representation of the entire compound
There were rows and rows of medical shops like this
There were rows and rows of medical shops like this
Another shop
Another shop
Variety of herbs
Variety of herbs
Nicholas and Rachel outside one of the herbs shop
Nicholas and Rachel outside one of the herbs shop
Cordyceps (I think)
Cordyceps (I think)
Sacks and sacks of these
Sacks and sacks of these
A large piece of Lingzhi
A large piece of Lingzhi
Mountain of herbs
Mountain of herbs
Packed into bags
Packed into bags
Stuffed little Bambis
Stuffed little Bambis
Rachel feeling sad for the deers
Rachel feeling sad for the deers
Inside the deer specialty shop
Inside the deer specialty shop
Whole antelopes for sale
Whole antelopes for sale
Smaller bits of antelopes
Smaller bits of antelopes
Really thin slices of antelopes
Really thin slices of antelopes
Deer tendons, with the hoof still intact
Deer tendons, with the hoof still intact

We then took a long ride to a gigantic house owned by a rich Singaporean Teochew oil tycoon. We did not get to meet this tycoon, but there were caretakers and gardeners present who are responsible for the house’s upkeep though no one seems to be be staying in it.

There, the tycoon had made arrangement for a few truckloads of firecrackers for our group to play with. We were also all presented with a large box of preserved plums and Shantou oranges each.

This was the first time Rachel and I have come so close to firecrackers and so many of them at a go. The sound was really booming loud and you could feel a tingling pain in your ear drums after a few minutes. The sea of red left behind as residue is beautiful, but probably a pain to clear up later on.

One of the two door god that greeted us upon entering the house
One of the two door god that greeted us upon entering the house
The other door god
The other door god
The door the two gods are guarding
The door the two gods are guarding
Setting off firecrackers to herald our entourage's arrival
Setting off firecrackers to herald our entourage’s arrival
Lighted firecrackers
Lighted firecrackers
Close-up of the firecrackers
Close-up of the firecrackers
Me walking away as the noise started to get deafening
Me walking away as the noise started to get deafening

Here’s a video recording of the lighted firecrackers:

[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/v/0C9nWqjWHjY&hl=en_US&fs=1&”]
Gawking villagers
Gawking villagers
The trail of red residue is beautiful
The trail of red residue is beautiful
Rachel and I standing amidst the firecracker residues
Rachel and I standing amidst the firecracker residues
Another shot
Another shot
Beautiful firecracker residues
Beautiful firecracker residues
Another picture of the residues
Another picture of the residues
Slogans adorn all the entrances
Slogans adorn all the entrances
Many many doors
Many many doors
Gangsters from the 70s
Gangsters from the 70s
Another gangster shot
Another gangster shot
Picture of Nicholas from the second floor - the house is really big
Picture of Nicholas from the second floor – the house is really big
Me peeking out of a window on the second floor
Me peeking out of a window on the second floor
Rachel on the second floor
Rachel on the second floor
Empty alley
Empty alley
Couple from 80s China
Couple from 80s China
A walk into history
A walk into history

Next, we headed to China Jade Capital (中国玉都), which controls more than 20 percent of the jade market in China. It’s the biggest in China and has a large amount of Burmese jade. As we are not familiar with jade pricing, we did not buy anything although we were quite impressed with the beauty of some of the white and purple jade pieces.

At the Jade Capital
At the Jade Capital
Inside one of the main building in the Jade City
Inside one of the main building in the Jade Capital
Layout of the compound
Layout of the compound
Security cameras
Security cameras
Buying jade
Buying jade
Daily food items, carved out of jade
Daily food items, carved out of jade
Gigantic jade flower
Gigantic jade flower
Jade Guan Yin
Jade Guan Yin
Another large jade table piece
Another large jade table piece
This one looks realy fragile
This one looks realy fragile
Rachel the jade seller
Rachel the jade seller

We had dinner at Temeisi Hotel (揭阳特美思大酒店) which seems to be helm by a famous head chef. We were quite hungry this time as we had a light lunch. Hence we were able to eat quite a bit.

Temeisi hotel lobby
Temeisi hotel lobby
Very catchy giant Yun Bao at the lobby
Very catchy giant Yun Bao at the lobby
Lighted Yun Bao
Lighted Yun Bao
Inside the banquet hall
Inside the banquet hall
Fresh seafood
Fresh seafood
Famous chef
Famous chef
Chinese bacon
Chinese bacon
A large piece of fresh abalone
A large piece of fresh abalone
I ate two pieces as Nicholas do not eat abalone
I ate two pieces as Nicholas do not eat abalone
Steamed fish
Steamed fish
Crispy prawns
Crispy prawns
Fried Toufu
Fried Toufu
Pork ribs soup
Pork ribs soup
Delicious kampong chicken
Delicious kampong chicken
Salted fried mushroom
Salted fried mushroom
Veggie with pig stomach
Veggie with pig stomach
Jade green veggies
Jade green veggies
Teochew Ku Chye Kway
Teochew Ku Chye Kway
With Ms Chong Pit Lian, CEO of Jetstar Asia
With Ms Chong Phit Lian, CEO of Jetstar Asia

After dinner, we headed back to Meritus Shantou, ending our official itinerary for the day.

Nicholas’s cousin came to look for him that night. His cousin is a surgeon and a very friendly chap. He offered to take Nicholas, Rachel and I to a nearby massage centre which is frequented by the local medical community. I did not take any pictures of the massage centre, but the services and facilities were really excellent.

Rachel went a seperate room for ladies. The three of us guys went for a sauna first before getting a good massage. We then joined Rachel in the resting area where they actually served us porridge with some light ingredients.

After the meal, we took a quick bath and changed. Nicholas’ cousin then kindly drove us back to the hotel. It was nearing 2am. We felt really guilty as he still has to work the next day, but at the same time, touched by his hospitality.

The massage centre Nicholas' cousin brought us to
The massage centre Nicholas’ cousin brought us to

Stay tuned for my next update on day 4. 🙂

Previous Entries:

Home and away in Shantou (Rachel’s my paper article)

Plane Solemnisation

Day 1 – Arrival, Teochew Opera

Day 2 – Chaozhou, Chao’an and Raoping

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