Spring break and we chose Sanya Bay – the southernmost point of China for a holiday. A beach resort with golden sands and nine days of relaxation by the pool or the sea, or maybe the pool in the morning and the sea in the afternoon, or perhaps all day by the pool, or all day at the beach. Heaven! I didn’t want culture or new places to explore, just my Kindle loaded with some good books, suncream and a cossie. ‘Get out of China for your break,’ advised the Minx. ‘No, no, no,’ was my reply, ‘This is close and it has all I want – just a relaxing beach holiday.’
The hotel we booked was beautiful, and we got an upgrade for no apparent reason. Not going to argue with that one. Especially not as it meant a huge bathtub overlooking the sea (ish – if you looked between the buildings to the front and over the plot of building land just across the road) on one of the balconies. The upgrade also included VIP access to breakfast that was served in a much smaller restaurant than the main one for all of the hotel buildings in the complex. Still didn’t stop the sodcasting (the annoying habit of broadcasting whatever it is that you are listening to / playing on your mobile phone so everybody is forced to listen to it – regardless of whether they want to or not) of children and teenagers blaring out their dubious music choices to all within earshot on their tinny sounding phones. I like to think it was much worse in the lower level restaurant.
Heading down to the pool most days with teenage daughter was great- the pool was huge- and really warm. None of the elaborate toe dipping of the English needed. You could get straight into this one without any theatricals. And it was hardly used. For such a huge pool it had relatively few sun beds and pods around it- but there was always space to go. No reserving of sun beds with any towels going on in this resort. Definitely a huge plus point on the holiday, and a good portion of time was spent poolside reading a range of books.
‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine,’ by Gail Honeyman – a perfect holiday read- would highly recommend. Philip Roth’s ‘Portnoy’s Complaint,’ on the other hand is one of the the worst books I have ever read – ever! After that shocker (because I have to finish a book once started) some Maggie O’Farrell, ‘I am, I am, I am’- one of my favourite authors- I get lost in her beautiful prose so thought I’d give her autobiographical writing a go, ‘No Country for Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy to keep it varied, ‘Chess Story,’ by Stefan Zweig, a fantastic translated short story about, you’ve guessed it- a chess match, followed by ‘Godless Youth’ by Ödön Von Horváth translated by Nicholas Stephens, and Margaret Attwood’s ‘Hagseed,’ one that’s been on the list to read for a while, another disappointing read. Whilst my daughter, between swims, reads her favourite comics online, and listens to her music on her headphones. Husband spent some of his time completing uni- work, catching up with us at the pool when academia got too much!
With our factor 50 suncream we lathered up repeatedly throughout the day. Temperatures ranged from 30-34 degrees , but it was a nice heat, with little humidity, and walking along the beach, with a breeze gently nudging you along, it was a perfect temperature.
And we attained almost celebrity status here- the stares – the blatant in your face, no hiding that I’m looking at you foreigners, stares that were in abundance. Getting in the lifts, children and adults would openly stare and sometimes point. Although one little old lady refused to share a lift with our little family – she went to step in, saw us, dropped her head and promptly stepped back to wait for the next carriage. The stares from those holidaying in Sanya Bay made the more subtle stares that we were used to in Shenzhen seem discreet and polite.
The pool for me is my idea of heaven. Though the slow pace was slowly driving my husband insane. Before cabin fever set in completely we took a trip to “End of the Earth’ – a huge park where they charged you to see – well not very much actually. A pretty enough park with a nice coastline sporting some epic looking rocks jutting out of the clear water. Impressive looking rocks with big signs instructing people NOT to climb them. Ha – and miss a perfect selfie opportunity! We were kept amused for a good while, watching the guards blow whistles and shout people to come off the rocks. Which they did – eventually – after all photo opportunities were exhausted. We also watched somewhat in awe as a tourist helicopter whizzed up and down perilously close to these rocks and couldn’t help but reflect on how it might be flown back in the UK. Certainly not that close – that’s for sure!
The holiday certainly had some areas to counterbalance the plus points. The golden sands stretched for miles and the section of beach affront the hotel was quiet and undisturbed – enough so that we could grab a time lapse of miniature crabs doing their thing!
The undisturbed nature of the beach meant that there were also no amenities – although old women on mopeds did drive up and down selling their wares which consisted of gaudy beads and warm carved out pineapples in plastic bags. We declined. Heading further up the beach, we came to an area with wooden sunbeds and parasols… and litter in abundance. Thoughtfully, a hotel rep, used a huge sieve to scoop away the most offending items (like a minging half spilt yogurt at the foot of the sunbed) leaving just the nub ends and smaller items of crap to fester in the sand. Back to the pool it is then.
We braved the local buses to travel further afield and went into the main town centre on a couple of the days. Unfortunately we couldn’t venture too far afield. Something about the place was disagreeing with my constitution, and it meant that I didn’t really want to stray too far from a proper toilet at any given time (still not quite mastered the squatties, and certainly not proficient enough to use them with bad guts!)
All in all, the next time the Minx suggests going further afield than China for a holiday – we’ll take her advice!