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For some local life, walk around in the area surrounding GP Hotel (in the evenings) or Kaiyuan Temple (in the daytime). I remember finding local wet markets and such around Kaiyuan Temple.
There're actually a large number of active places of worship (mainly temples) dotted all around the city. I think walking or cycling around would be an excellent way of exploring.
Written Sep 2, 2007
About 3 kilometers north of Quanzhou is Qingyuan Mountain. Here you'll see an ancient statue of my fellow philandering philosopher Laozi. The five meter high statue was carved during the Song dynasty, making it over 1000 years old.
Legend has it that if you rub his nose you'll live to be 120 years old! However after a thousand years of rubbing, authorities became afraid that the nose would get rubbed completely off, so now there is a fence keeping tourists at a distance and a minimum wage guard lurks nearby who gets paid for yelling at old ladies attempting to climb over it.
(I've also heard that it is good luck to rub the guard's palm with a few yuan in order to approach the venerable stone sculpture, but do wait until the tour groups are led away.)
Updated Jun 13, 2005
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