Beaches! Sand! Ocean!

I’m whisked away for a weekend getaway! I travel with Euca and her brother’s family to an island resort. This is the life!

Saturday, June 28th, 1:49pm

It’s been a pretty crazy morning. Euca had told me last night that her brother and his friends were going to a new resort, and she said that we could come along, too.

After I woke up a bit late, I rushed to get ready for the trip. Euca, Evelyn, and I carpooled with Euca’s brother and three of his children. Euca and the kids all piled into the back seat while I rode in front, and for being so close together for that amount of time, I’d say that the kids were pretty well behaved. I can’t remember how my sisters and I were at their age (seven, five, and two and a half), but I’m pretty sure by the end of the ride, we would have been yelling, too.

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Once we got to the fancy hotel (with ocean views), we waited around a bit before learning that our rooms weren’t prepared yet. So we all piled back into the car and drove over to a seafood restaurant. All of Euca’s brother’s friends had brought along their families, so the entire restaurant was filled with young children running around and playing.

I ate at the women and children’s table, and while I didn’t try any of the more exotic looking seafood dishes (one of the plates had tentacles on it, and that’s where I draw the line) I did really enjoy the food. I sat quietly while the women traded mom stories (or at least that’s what I’m assuming they were talking about), and when they found out that I could only speak English, there was a brief discussion on how hard the language was, and then they moved on. It was kind of refreshing.

After I ate, I watched over Evelyn so that Euca could have a chance to grab some lunch. I had to stop her and the other children from throwing stones into a fountain. In the process, I learned some new words from the mothers scolding their children, and I think some of Euca’s nieces and nephews are starting to warm up to me.

Altogether, though, it was a pretty awkward experience. Most of the time I felt very out of place because it was kind of like I was crashing someone’s family reunion.

Saturday, June 28th, 3:39pm

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Nothing but blue skies and ocean breezes! This is what I’ve been waiting for! Ah. I’ve got a lovely spot in the shade listening to music, and even though this beach isn’t really for swimming, I think I’ll be able to wade a bit in the ocean. I feel so content.

Saturday, June 28th, 3:39pm

When I went to dip my toes in the ocean, I understood why people don’t swim at this part of the beach. There were dead fish lining the shore and floating in the water where the waves were breaking. Euca had told me that only the beaches in Sanya are clean, but I guess I hadn’t realized that the pollution was quite this bad.

After leaving the beach, I wandered around the hotel. Eventually, I found a patio overlooking the sea, and I laid down on a wicker bench and took a nap for an hour. The breeze just lulled me right to sleep.

Now that it’s later in the day, it feels so much nicer to be outside. I don’t feel like the sun is trying to burn off my skin anymore. The heat in southern China is no joke.

Saturday, June 28th, 8:08pm

I found Euca and Evelyn drinking coconut milk at an outdoor restaurant, and we all went and got dinner together. After we ate, Euca took Evelyn to the pool, and I went back to the beach to listen to music. It was really relaxing.

Now I’m sitting by the pool trying to figure out whether or not I want to go in. I don’t see any other young girls in bikinis around, so maybe it’s best I just hang out by the side of the pool.

Actually, one thing that’s surprised me at the pool is that some of the children are jumping into the water stark naked. And it’s not just babies – I think there are some kids as old as six or seven naked in the pool. Also, the water doesn’t get any deeper than about waist level, and there’s no diving board or deep end.

It’s not hot outside anymore, but my skin is sticky from the humidity. I think I’ll head back to the room or explore the inside of the hotel.

Saturday, June 28th, 11:46pm

On my way back to the room, Euca asked me to pick up some coconut drinks, and I managed to get almost the entire way through my order before having to resort to, “I’m sorry! I can’t understand you because I’m an American!” I was tripped up when the cashier asked me whether or not I wanted to put the coconuts in a bag.

I spent the rest of the night in the hotel room relaxing, playing with Evelyn, and watching TV. Sharing that small space with both Euca and Evelyn made me realize how grateful I was to have my own room back in the apartment. Here in China where space is so limited anyway, I definitely take my privacy for granted.

Sunday, June 29th, 12:09pm

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Free breakfast buffet, and then back to lying on the beach for an hour and a half. The breeze is just a bit too warm (like a fan blowing hot air around the room), but I have my own chair in the shade, so I’m set!

Sunday, June 29th, 4:43pm

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It took a while to gather up all of the children and check out of the hotel, and once we were on the road, I was expecting to head straight back to the apartment. We actually stopped for lunch with the rest of Euca’s brother’s friend group, and the restaurant we ate at was nestled right into the countryside. There was one large dining room surrounded by smaller, private rooms each in their own separate building. It was all very scenic (even without an ocean view), and there were pathways and courtyards to walk around in.

During lunch, I embraced the fact that I wasn’t going to be saying anything for the entire meal, and I stuffed my face. The man sitting next to me was very nice, and he refilled my glass with pop whenever it got low. After I finished eating, I walked around with Evelyn to give Euca some time to grab lunch, and in hanging out with the kids, I learned some new words to add to my limited vocabulary.

I’ve found that I can understand pretty much everything that people say to Evelyn, but my language skills are definitely worse than Euca’s two and a half year old nephew – at least listening and speaking wise. I’ve also found that I like really like speaking with children – they don’t judge me when I make a mistake, and I can use small, short sentences to get my point across. Progress, right? I’m still trying to take baby steps (literally) to learn Chinese while not feeling discouraged.

It started to rain just as everyone was leaving the restaurant, and on our way back to the apartment, we got stuck in a traffic jam because the roads were flooded (thanks to the terrible drainage in the city). By the time we arrived back in Haikou, all of the children had fallen asleep in the backseat. So cute!


BONUS PICTURES


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