Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya
What can I say but 'I love you fluffy pillow' but now it has to be good bye, I'm off to Beihai. I'd give up any 5 Star Hotel Fluffy Pillow for a swim at the beach.
After living on Australia's Gold Coast and being away from the surf and sand for so long, it was time to 'go home'. After thanking Max the wonder man (he is a gem as is his wife Judy) we boarded another safe looking bus and ipod'd it for 4 hours to Beihai. As the bus drew near I began to see things from my stored memory...is that...yes, its sand. When I peeled my face off the window I left the bus with Kitty and Kylie and we took a cab (spared no expense this holiday mate!) to our next..wait for it...Multiple Star Hotel!
Wahoo, and she was a beauty.
The name...something about roads, something weird, but wonderful. She was big and tall and full of fluffy pillows. There were big chairs, a window ledge you could sit on, even a kettle with assorted teas sitting beside it. Yes, something I would get used to over a short period of time...I never had the tea; I just liked looking at them and having them near by. I had my 3 in one satchel coffee. Mate, when you need the rush, you'll drink it too. I've been drinking it for 8 months now and sad to say...I love it!
Who needs beans, who needs grains or granuals when you have 3 in one....'stuff'.
OK, booking in was fun. VISA and Master Card signs everywhere, just like everywhere else in China. But you can't use them. Sorry, we don't take that card....HELLO you say pointing to the sign. HELLO, you've just been speaking English but now you can't read English. No you don't say that, you just node and accept what you can't change.
Time is the only thing that can change a place like China.
They are maybe developing a little too fast. You see, everyone has VISA and MasterCard signs, but no machines, that's the first sign of a country developing too fast! It's like getting the Pizza boxes stored in the,,,no actually, it's like when I was in Guilin and the window had a picture of a pizza and the word pizza, but when you ordered pizza, they don't have pizza, infact, never have had pizza. But strangely, this is part of the reason I am so attracted to China. It's all innocent, they are trying so hard but most of the time, just get lost in the confusion.
OK, yudda yudda, fluffy pillows yudda yudda, a room with a view OF EVERYTHING to the coast and the bright blue sky above, that infact, had birds in it. Yes birds.
The only time I have heard birds this year is when friends and family ring from home. I can hear Magpies and other fluttery feathered friends that are not too scared to fly and make a noise. No birds in the Chinese skies. They hide somewhere maybe in caves or another country where if they move, they won't get eaten. Yes, I'm sad to say, some are quite delicious.
Birds don't come near me anymore, I've joined the 1.3 billion to fear!
...um....yes yes, getting on with the day...went out into the beautiful tree lined streets of Beihai, caught the number 3 bus the 10kms to Silver Beach. Yes and if your ever in the area go to Silver Beach area, on the way, don't look out the windows because you see some really dumb looking hotels and things I just don't know what to call...castles maybe and...other assorted things!
I'm the type of traveller that never updates books, so I usually have a guide book (that's if I do have one) that is many years old.
Why pay 50 bucks when you can pay 4 in a second hand book shop! Why, because China is changing so fast, I guess even the latest LP will be out of date in a few months time. Finally the bus passed the eye sores and stopped. The three of us headed to what we thought was the 'free' beach. Infact, both are free now! It was beautiful. Just like Queensland waters, the water is too warm to refresh you, but it's fantastic in all its glory! We soon moved on to 'the Silver Beach'. We had to know why it cost 25yuan to get into. That's like 4 bottles of good cheap Chinese beer! We found the gate and no one was there. Do we make a run for it now or just hang back a little to see what's going on. We hung back; no one came so through we went.
Yes, we did find out it was free.
We found a spot amongst the millions of Chinese who for some reason all gather at this beach. Why not use both beaches. There is a perfectly good beach right next door, why are you all here and only 20 people there. I asked the same question to myself and could only come up with one answer...this is Silver Beach and whilst I'm here, I'm gonna swim in it!
So I joined the millions who were fighting for space.
It's funny how the Chinese swim at the beach. They don't actually swim. They wait for a wave, turn around, jump and all at the same time..imagine this...a thousand people all jumping and saying 'wooooo!' over and over again. You have to see and hear it to believe it. It's actually like being at the MCG in Melbourne while the footys on and if someone gets knocked down everyone says 'woooooo' but in a deeper tone ofcourse.
Swimwear is also strange in China, especially the female swimwear.
During summer here, girls will wear tiny denim shorts and high heels. Hey, I'm not complaining, it's a damn fine look! But what I can't seem to understand is, they actually wear more in the water whilst swimming than what they wear out on the streets around town. Picture an ice skating uniform, well that's Chinese swimwear but longer than the ice skating uniforms you see on the TV.
It's all too strange sometimes!
Soon the sun went down and a million more Chinese arrived...yes you read right, most Chinese people swim at night...why, because there is no sun. Stop trying to think rationally because it won't work. Just accept it and say ok, they swim at night. I don't, but they do. Everyone, EVERYONE here has an umbrella. They fear the sun and they fear the rain and they live in a kinda fear that either will happen, so most of the time, they live beneath their umbrella.
I think moreso in country areas than city but it's strangely another true fact of China.
Too many people, we left the beach and the 'wooooing' and headed across the road to sit, relax and eat another awesome cheap meal. Oh yes, water spinach, egg plant, some beef dish, rice and good cheap Chinese beer. There was other stuff but I'm not good with food names, especially when I can't read what they are...something like this maybe ##+|/#. Oh, that means Dog Hotpot..sorry! Don't cringe, Spots a tasty dish! So's fluffy the cat.
That's an entirely new story, if I remember I'll write it in this Travelogue.
I think it was around 19th or 20th March. After reading this, go back to that date. Ok Ok, don't get pushy. Well, basically, we went to visit a friend, she came home, was calling for something, going from room to room calling #|/#!!! I asked my friend what she was calling for...she was calling for her cat...where's the cat. HHHhhhhmmm, it had been boiling away in the cooker right in front of me for the past hour or more. Her parents heard I was coming to dinner and wanted to do something special so....Felix ended up in hot water.
I love cats, have two of my own, if anyone tried to hurt them I'm take their arm off, but when someone does this 'for you'.
You can not get all RSPCAish, especially in China. Hey, the cat made the mistake of moving, it got caught. Stop thinking rationally! If it moves, it gets eaten here, sometimes if it doesn't move, it'll get pushed I'm sure! The saying, when in Rome do as Romans do is just the half of saying, When in China, do as the Chinese do.
Now I don't have to write about the cat story!
Yudda yudda, bus home, yudda yudda, sat on fluffy pillows drinking beer...yudda yudda, spilt beer on fluffy pillow, devastation set in, Shane was found on the balcony ledge...just joking, no balcony and I had another fluffy pillow!
The following day, Tuesday (19th) was pretty much the same but we spent all day on the beach. You can hire a table with a big umbrella, on the beach. Yep, rows of them. When the tide comes in, they come over and move it for you. But sadly, no one brings you beer. You have to walk and get it yourself. Bugger! But this day I swam for too long and ended up rather pink. Argh, woddoya do!
It felt good to be burnt again.
Wednesday (20th) we headed to Under Water World with Kitty's Middle School Buddy. Pretty much the same as the one on the Coast back home. Won't go into it...fish and rays in big tanks, can swim with the sharks 'if you want'. They didn't move the entire time we were there, so they are either dead or very very well fed! Headed across to the Pearl Shop Thing..big shed, lotsa expensive pearls. Boring story.
Beer, oh yes, went for a walk, love walking in China!
Found a good little local restaurant, sat and found a Dutch couple across from us...Andus and Tanya. They joined us, we all shared beers and had some more awesome food. I want to marry a Chinese cook, but not one that has left China and gone all 'lets mix this and that and call it Chineseish'. Oh, the food. You don't have to know what it is, just point at something that looks good.
If you're in a small town or on a mountain, go into the kitchen and point.
Usually, if you point to something, they know the other something or somethings that go with it and you'll find you'll both be pointing and having a great time! Good, ice broken between you and everyone's happy. OK, home for rest, counting fluffy pillows to get to sleep now! Headed back to the beach for the afternoon, you know, bus number 3 at Yingbinguan, stupid castles, a million 'wooooing' people.
More food and beer, end of story.
Thursday (21st) rain, spent longer with fluffy pillows in the morning. Went out for a walk..yea, good idea mate! Spent like an hour in the bank until it began to flood, caught taxi (spared no expense!) to shopping mall thing with many shops to shop in. The girls hadda great time and so did I! China's great for shopping; every shop sells the same stuff. Sometimes a different colour or model but it's usually the same. It's changed over the last 5 years, now you have 10 mobile phone stores or counters to one or two other 'things' stores or counters.
Shopping's not always a good idea.
Beers N Noodles Toya..shane
Beihai Beach 1
Beihai Beach 2
Beihai Beach 3
Beihai Beach 4
Beihai City 1
Beihai City 2
Beihai City 3
Beihai City 4
Beihai Underwater World
Noon Nap Time
Oh The Beach