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Published: October 30th 2009
A shaddow pattern created by the palm trees next to the beach.
October 3, 2009 - The New Moon Festival fell on our second full day in China. Our hostel held a large barbeque that night with lots of fresh seafood, and vegetables that we skewered ourselves and cooked over a trough full of hot coals. That style of barbeque is really popular in China. A lot of the people staying in the hostel came down to the patio a little before dark. We drank beer together and had our formal introductions while the girls who worked in the hostel prepared the food and set up for dinner. I met a group of four tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed Swedish guys, A guy named Richard, and his friend Shona from England - they are taking classes in Kunming, their Swedish friend Veronica, Jason and Rick from the U.S. are working in Shanghai, there were a group of people from Germany...including a guy named Farri - whose family is originally from Turkey, there was also a group of older men who play in a band that tour around China playing American jazz and rock hits. We all drank and shared stories of our experiences in China until they opened the grill. I devoured plate after plate
The Man in the Bamboo
This man spent the entire day sitting and medetating in this cluster of Buddha Bamboo just off the beach. He had a small box of food and a couple bottles of beer.
of scallops and oysters in the half-shell. I spred them with fresh garlic, green onion and a soy-based sauce. They were absolutely delicious. I also had squid on a stick... which was slightly reminiscent of the octopus on a stick I have taken a liking to here in Guilin. We grilled mushrooms, eggplant, onion, muscles, chicken, shrimp...all kind of things. They even had Chinese "drugs." At the end of dinner the girls passed around beetle nut amongst the guests. Apparently it can be addictive, but as I chewed on a piece, I couldn help thinking that it tasted like dried toothpaste. All it did was make me feel a little light headed for a few minutes. As we finished up with dinner, Steven, Tyler and Jordan came back from the beach where there was apparently a huge beach party going on. After a little bit, I convinced most of the party to accompany me to the beach to check out the party, and Steve and the boys agreed to come back. We all made our way to the beach, but what we saw was completely unexpected. All along the sand groups of Chinese had sat in circles with candles and
Back in the USSR
A sign for one of the bars on the beach in Sanya...right...um.. . . . . .
sparklers, and all kinds of foods and moon cakes between them. We walked up to a friendly-looking group and sat down with them. There was an inpenetrable language barrier, but after a few minutes, a couple of the Chinese guys in the circle started to sing. They sang a couple short songs...including what I can only assume is the Chinese National Anthem. When they were finished, we went around the circle and each person/group of people from each of the different countries took turns singing their respective national anthems. It started with the group of people from Germany, then I sang the American National Anthem, then the Swedish sang part of their national anthem until they forgot the words. The English were the last to perform, but none of them knew their national anthem, so instead they sang "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. We all laughed and the Chinese gave us more beer. After about 20 minutes, we all decided to go for a swim. Again, all the guys stripped down to their breifs/boxers, I dove in willingly with all the guys while all the girls stood aprehensively on the shore looking scared to get in the water. Slowly, but surely,
My Sanya Sunburn
I got this on October 3rd, my second day on the beach...and it didn't go down until we left on the 7th.
one-by-one all the girls waded out (fully-clothed) into the water. We swam around for about an hour, and by the time we got out of the water half the Chinese had cleared out.
I had laid out on the beach all day in the sun, and got a pretty bad sunburn. By the evening it was red and sore, and when I got back to the hotel, I smeared loads of aloe all over my body and went to bed in just a pair of underwear because it hurt too much to wear anything else.
October 4th, 2009 - I still felt as if my skin were on fire, so I lathered up in 70 SPF sunblock and went to the private swimming pool belonging to a hotel further east up the beach with Richard, Veronica and Shona. I constantly applied sunblock and aloe to make sure my sunburn didn't get worse. The pool had a little island in the middle of it with a few beach chairs and palm trees, and a waterslide that led down to a lower infinity pool that looked out over the beach. We lay under the palm trees and went down to
The Bridge to Our Little Island
This is the little island in the middle of the hotel pool that Veronica, Shona, Richard and I crashed every day from October 4th to the 6th. We claimed it as our own, it was wonderful!!
the beach. During the day, we went to a fresh fruit smoothie stall...or more of a shop. It was a pseudo-gazebo open on all four sides, with two large tables covered in fresh fruit. We all got mango/banana smoothies, and lay out for the rest of the afternoon. We decided that we wanted to go on one of the hostels excursion trips the next day...and settled on a trip to the most famous hot springs spa resort on the island. We paid the hostel 158 kuai each (not quite $23 a person), and then we grabbed dinner at a Sichuan restaurant about 10 minutes away. Richard agreed to play the drums that night for the band that was staying in the hostel with us. They had a concert that night at a bar on the wharf, so a big group of us from the hostel went to hear them perform. Shona, Veronica and I had split the cost of a bottle of Malibu (coconut rum) and we smuggled it into the bar with a 2-litre bottle of Coca-Cola. We stayed until about an hour after the concert was over, then decided to go to a club around the corner called
Crossing the bridge to the island.
"MJ." The club was interesting...I am fairly certain that some of the girls at the bar were prostitutes, and there were people snorting drugs in the bathroom. I can only hope that they brought some kind of foil, or card to snort off of, because I wouldn ingest anything that came off of any surface in any squat toilet stall, regardless of how clean it was kept. SICK. We danced and had fun until about 1:30am before we decided to head back to the hostel. We didn't know what time our bus to the spa left the next day...so we decided it was best to go home before we got too silly.
October 5th, 2009 - I woke up and had breakfast at the hostel. It turned out that the bus to the hot springs didn't leave until 3 in the afternoon, so Veronica, Shona, Jonas, Richard and I went to our little island in the pool for an hour or two while we waited for the bus to be ready. We posed as guests from another hotel in order to catch a free bus ride to the hot springs. The ride was just short of 40 minutes. When
View from the Island
The view from my spot on the island.
they hold the Miss World Pageants on Hainan, the contestants stay at this resort, so there were pictures all over the place of beautiful women in swimsuits. We checked in, then headed to the lockers to get changed into our swimsuits. Our first stop was the "Fish Therapy Pool." I had heard about this kind of bath here, but I wasn't sure that I believed it. It was a shallow pool packed with people covered in little fish. These little fish eat dead skin, so esentially it was a pool for exfoliation. The 5 of us tentatively waded in and lay down so the water came up to our necks. For the first minute it seemed that we repelled the fish, but sure enough we were swarmed. I don't know how to describe how it felt to have my flesh picked at by hundreds of little fish. It didn't hurt, at times it actually kind of tickled. These little fish picked at us for about 30 minutes while we talked to get our minds off the fact that we were being eaten by fish smaller than a finger. After that we tested the waters of really hot pools the hotest
Fresh Tropical Fruit Smoothies
Every time we visited our island, we walked to this tropical smoothie place a few minutes away. They had all kinds of tropical fruit that you could choose from, then they chopped it and tossed it in a blender for you. This is me, my mango/pineapple smoothie, and the Banyan tree that the smoothie hut sat next to.
of which was about 46 degrees Centegrade. I had to pass on anything hotter than 39 degrees Centegrade because it made my sunburn feel like my skin was melting. There was a Flower Escence Pool with rose petals floating on the surface of the water, which I think had rose oil in it, and a Flavored Liquor Bath Which had a giant kask flushing fresh water into the pool which smelled like spiced rum. We found an icy bath that was 13 degrees Centegrade, and one by one we jumped in. We had to jump because we couldn't convince ourselves to walk into the freezing water. After that we found a Coconut Milk Bath. It was a milky color, and smelled faintly of coconut, but I'm not convinced that it was coconut milk. The last bath we climbed in before heading to the pool was an Energizing Coffee Bath. There was coarse ground coffee floating in the brown water. I miss good coffee. If it weren't for all of the fat Chinese men in Speedos that had been climbing in and out of that water all day, I might have been tempted to try it. Not really, But I do
The Boys in the Band
Our hostel neighbors' band with Richard on drums at the Rainbow 2 on a wharf in Sanya on the evening of October 4th
miss good coffee. It doesn't exist here in China. We moved on to the main swimming pool. Jonas and Veronica swam, but Richard, Shona and I lay out on chaise lounges and talked. We stayed at the pool for about a half-hour, then headed back to the lockers to shower and change. We didn't plan our return trip very well, and luckily we managed to flag down a taxi that was willing to shove all 5 of us in the cab and drive us back to Sanya for 22 yuan per person. A little over-priced, but considering I got up there for free - I figured it was worth it. We made it back to the hostel around 11:15. I was exhausted and went to bed, but the guys and my friends from the spa stayed down on the patio and drank. I guess I missed quite a show, but I would have been far from the "life of the party" had I forced myself to stay awake.
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