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Muslim China

culture, colors, and stuff

Construction Part 2

It seems like I am a little too obsessed with construction in Sanya but I do not think as much as the city of Sanya is. Construction at some point got so out of control that we were literally all surrounded by closed roads under construction or demolished buildings. At some point,  we could not find an exit out of the village by car because all of the streets were closed. We finally found a street that led us out of the village. However, the roads are so narrow and a bit scary to crash into walls in those complicating turns. Also, if you have ever been to China you can imagine cars parked in the middle of the street and motorbikes left obstructing the already limited space left to drive. Of course if you are a pedestrian and own a motorbike everything is easily accessible. Cars on the other hand are a little bit cursed here! The streets are so narrow and with tight turns, it is a real cars labyrinth.

That was a few weeks ago, now a couple of more streets have been reopened. Sadly the main road next to our home still has a couple of more months to go. Apparently the government wants to widen the road to reduce traffic influx. For now I will just have to deal with noises from destruction and road inconveniences. The perks of living in a city that wants to be both the future Hawaii and the city of Las Vegas. Seems like an intangible idea but at the speed construction and demolition are occurring it would not surprise me if next time I wake up there is a casino right next to me.

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Village Under Construction

Halal ‘lo mein’ Restaurants

I love eating, I mean who doesn’t love eating ? but my problem is that I am very picky. This is probably not the best combination living in china. The Muslim village has a lot of interesting mixes in their various dishes. A lot of them are hidden varieties that are not out in the open as halal ‘lo mein’ restaurants are. The main road of the Muslim village in decorated by at least more than sixty or so of ‘lo mein’ restaurants. One block can have as many as eight restaurants, all of them selling the exact same food. The restaurants are equally decorated with signs. I cannot help but wonder how people come to decide which restaurant they prefer to dine in. I asked my boyfriend and he said that although they may sell the same food they all taste differently. But then again, how would people know which one taste better if they haven’t tried it. I guess is a chance one has to take in the extensive row of halal ‘lo mein’ restaurants. In my still incredulous admiration of the many similar restaurants I wonder if having countless look alike restaurants generates enough money. The competition must be fierce. The dozens of ‘lo mein’ restaurants are to what seems to me always empty with occasional customers. As you can see I wonder so much about everything around me.

The restaurants are typically not as tasty and the tasty ones are pretty overpriced (compared to the other restaurants in the area). I guess these pricey restaurants know their food is good and take advantage of starving people craving for delicious food. When I was in Guangzhou, halal ‘lo mein’ restaurants were usually pretty good and cheap. Got to admit I am a bit disappointed on the halal ‘lo mein’ here. My boyfriend complaints that his village does not know how to cook… which I think is a shame because they are missing out on my small but sufficient food budget. Of course this is saving me from becoming more broke and gaining weight (which people are apparently already worried about!!).

What’s your experience with halal ‘lo mein’ restaurants?

Chinese Hijab: A Beauty Touch

Lately I have seen videos of Muslim women explaining why they wear a hijab. I have seen as well instruction on how to style it in very cute ways. I will not write about the reasons behind wearing a hijab or how to style it because I am not an expert. Instead I will mention the hijab styles that can be noticed in this Muslim village and across the city. The hijabs I constantly see come in decorative styles. Hundreds of diamond crystal style encrusted into the hijab designing different shapes. The part of the hijab that covers their forehead seems to always have some type of flowers. I think it looks like a crown or tiara on their hijabs. The edges of it are embroider patterns ranging from flowers to other shapes.

I have worn a couple of times a hijab and all I can say is that I wish it would be more flattering on me just as it does for other women who wear it. I know a hijab should not be treated as a fashion statement, but as a girl, we all wish we could look nice with everything we wear. These women look beautiful with their hijab, it almost falls flawlessly. I see young girls wearing them for a night out, dressed up, and they look like models. I guess I just need practice to find the right form to adjusted on me. But then I realize that perhaps is the way they carry themselves and embracing who they are that makes them beautiful.

By the way adding all the decorative diamond crystal used for a hijab it’s easier than it seems. I will write more about it later!

Mountains of Buildings

A wave of buildings seem to invade the scarce visibility of trees. The vastness of buildings compile the Muslim village in Sanya just near the airport. But thinking about it, which Chinese city does not exhibit the mountainous array of buildings? However, in  Sanya it seems to be a little bit different. When I first arrived to the Muslim village, I was greatly impressed not at the compilation of apartments but to what seemed to be empty apartments. It was not only one or two empty buildings but a whole row down the street. As I navigated around the village, more and more empty ghostly looking apartments emerged.

These apartments are actually the home to many Muslim families, but several extra floors were built for tourist or visitors. At first I thought that the empty rooms were for when families enlarged and they could all live together in one building. However, I was told that many of these buildings have been partially empty for years hoping for tourists to arrive. The empty spaces have yet to see the light. Ghostly looking apartments are not the only ones sitting there empty, there are also plenty of hotels. Many empty hotels everywhere. At night a desolating light is turned on from the ground floors, followed by upper dark windows. A few tour buses drive in the village seeking accommodation but its scarcity make me wondering why do locals keep building them.

Despite the lack of business, more and more high buildings are being built. As the construction takes place the more narrow streets are designed and the less trees are left alive. The house where I now reside has one of the largest land in the Muslim village. Originally the only construction on the land was a two floor house surrounded by palm trees, fast-forward to today and two other houses with multiple floors have been built and no signs of trees. The foreseeable future… more construction!

Stay tuned for pictures!

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