Destinations Magazine

Serving It Up: Qilou Old Street: Haikou, China!

By Josephharrison1990 @JTAH_1990

Landing after dark, I made my way from Haikou's Meilian International Airport to my guesthouse hotel. My final destination for that segment of my Hainan Island trip would be Haikou's 'Qilou Old Street', I really wanted to catch those fusion buildings. I was not ready for that different kind of heat, how Hunan's humidity felt like a distant memory. Hey, Haikou City! 

Serving It Up: Qilou Old Street: Haikou, China!

Around midnight those European and Asian buildings along Qilou Old Street still served something darling even with only a few lights on. I had wanted to see this part of Haikou for the longest because it looked different, having a break between itineraries allowed me to take a short stopover in that coastal island city. Bright and early the next morning, I ventured out of my hotel to fronted with a less sleepy looking street, the light of day ensured that I could see those intricate features on the buildings. I wasn't ready for those coconuts, they were being sold on almost every single street corner and you already know that coconuts are my favorite tropical choice.  I didn't need to put a date on such wonderful sights, those aged buildings that lay away from the main coconut stands allowed me to see a less polished side to that tourist appropriate setting. I really needed to see something different, I almost felt that I wasn't in China anymore because a certain Viet nature could be felt even though I haven't yet been to that Asian country! 

I was mighty hungry, I knew that Haikou would have grand plans for me and that one day needed to be done the right way! I headed for something 'Dim Sum' because my go-to food APP had recommended one place in-particular. On my way to breakfast I was loving that chaotic scene, those mopeds were weaving in and out of each others way and those pedestrians knew their way also! Those aged Qilou looking buildings had me psyched for my day in Haikou, with an empty stomach I really needed to find that breakfast place! Fearing not, I walked through a series of narrow alley ways, there I found my chosen hangout. I ordered two plates with a pot of tea, eating in was the only way because I wanted to enjoy every bite and sip! I was able to add some sugar to my black tea, you already know that I loved that brew because it tasted like a cup of English Breakfast tea! Loving my breakfast, it was time for me to hit the pavements once again, I wanted to find a certain hidden temple! Island settings had been tuned in, I was ready! 

Serving It Up: Qilou Old Street: Haikou, China!

My morning in Haikou was filled with 'try again' moments because the temple that was located within Qilou didn't impress me all that much. I wanted to see as many things as I could in that protected area before I'd migrate to the beach. I wasn't playing, that first temple served me something that left me wanting more. Now, I can't seem to get a precise translation for the second 'shrine' location but it fitted the brief and then some! I was impressed with that 'shrine out of nowhere' because it served much more character than the first place of worship. The plaque outside of the shrine was all in Chinese and even after taking a photo to scan from Chinese to English, I am none the wiser. Nevertheless, that pint-sized shrine gave me a sense of peace for a few moments because I had no issues taking a photo, I even asked in Chinese. I loved those Haikou morning moments, those historic streets looked great and breakfast had been tasty! The shrine made things right but I needed to sip on one of those green coconuts! Go, Hai! 

Veering away from Qilou Old Street I did, that historic street was behind me but the period buildings remained firmly in my sights. I was walking down a street that was flanked with tailors and simple fashion houses, women were sat out front with old fashioned 'Singer' sewing machines. I loved that 'sewing challenge' vibe because it served 'Design Challenge Realness' just like on RuPaul's Drag Race. The sun really started to beat-down but no humidity had me gasping for a cold drink and air conditioning. As I walked closer to the beach, I was able to feel the sea breeze penetrate the air, no more oven-like weather conditions! On the runway Haikou kept on serving 'Qilou Old Street Realness!' Leaving 'Seamstress Avenue' behind me, I checked my map with intent because I wasn't about to pay for a taxi to the beachfront. That morning had been correct, I had chosen right to stay in that part of Haikou. I would see Haikou's Qilou Old Street later on that day but I had things to do, sure I wanted to be 'Beside The Sea!' H, this island life!  

Serving It Up: Qilou Old Street: Haikou, China!

Wenchang Chicken or Hainanese Chicken? I really didn't care because I would find a portion of that island cooked chicken dish, regardless! Heading back from the beach had to be done, I was hungry and wanted to spend the evening back within Haikou's Qilou Old Street. You already know that I wanted to catch a different vibe, I wanted to do everything and more! The rain added some kind of mystery to those darken streets, I walked for a little bit and what I saw impressed me. I was being served life in real time motion, shopfronts were busy with people living their lives! I had no luck with my go-to APP because I was not spending the earth on a Wenchang Chicken dish, those tourist traps never please me! No, they do not! Set along one of the main old streets, I found an ordinary looking Hainan style restaurant. They served me up a very reasonably portion of Wenchang Chicken with all those trimmings! They even helped me mix a sauce up! I really enjoyed my food, I really felt like I was getting into the Haikou of things! My day had been long, that Haikou chicken shop satisfied my cravings and enriched my taste-buds! 

Full disclosure, the presentation wasn't perfect but the taste made up for the 'school dinner tray'. Before I even touched down into Haikou's Melian International Airport I didn't even know that coconuts would be everywhere! I wanted another coconut after my coffee infused one, I went for a coconut ice cream kind of treat. I was almost yawning so that sweet treat didn't need stalling, tasting icy yet sweet I loved that creamy roadside snack. I was done with the day, I did spend some time sat along one of Qilou's own path to take in my surroundings, tourists were enjoying their Haikou evening whilst the street vendors made that tourist coin! I already knew that it wouldn't be long before my next coconut treat would happen, I was excited! My day within that area had been spliced into four experiences, each one kept it low but served it to me big! Getting back on the blog, I headed back to my hotel to catch up with a Beijing blog because I was slacking! Haikou won't see me again but that city allowed me to see quickly! To the beach! Yes!

Winner Winner, Wenchang Chicken Dinner! 

Desperately Seeking Adventure

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