Sunday, March 7, 2010

Off to the Beach

Yesterday was 85 degrees and it was time to go to the beach. We hadn't been since last October, and it was time. My favorite place is on a barrier island, which has a great beach and is uncrowded. I had a morning class, so we planned to meet Yali's best friend at the ferry docks at noon. She showed up fashionably late, which gave us a time to enjoy a snack and to watch the scene. You have your basic free for all, with several different types of boats for hire. There are little blue speed boats, poky ferries, junks, and speedy passenger water buses.

Click the pix for larger picture.

Here are two of the watercraft available, the Third World ferry, and the African Queen style junk.
Many snacks are available, including sugar cane.
We took a speedy bay bus, which got us to the island in a quick ten minutes. We called ahead for our favorite sanmo driver who gave us a pleasant, bone jarring ride across the island. It takes about 35 minutes, but we needed a pit stop to fuel up and and to enjoy the comfort facilities. These consisted of a lovely bucket out back whose bouquet was released upon use. At least it wasn't in a closed room.

We arrived at the beach, and headed straight for the best restaurant around.

They serve the catch of the day, and produce from the local farms. You go back into the kitchen to choose your meal. Zhanjiang people take forever to talk about what they want to order, and Yali and Xiaoyi took some time discussing with the staff how they should prepare the goodies.

The fish was crispy fried, the squid was cooked in a sweetened bean and ginger sauce, the prawns steamed, and the lao (jellyfish) cooked with sweetened tomato. We also had bitter squash and peas in the pod, along with tea and ice cold Tsing Tao beer.

The scraps go on the floor where the chickens eat it.
Then it was off to the beach. There is a resort here that has fallen into major neglect. No one stays there, so nobody comes to the beach. That's fine with us. There were a handful of folks from the city there, but mostly locals. There was a big jellyfish catch going on, and the local fisher folk were bringing in their lucrative harvest. They were very happy since lao brings in a big price.

Brian and I went swimming, and the water was perfect. Just cool enough to be refreshing. He was a big hit with some local youth who took about a hundred snapshots with him. Of course we were the only people swimming, except for a couple of the local teen boys. The ladies stayed under their umbrellas and Tody ran around gathering shells.

After enough beach fun we went back to the food shack for some brews and peanuts and decided to have some dinner. They grabbed one of the chickens that had been pecking at our lunch refuse and turned it into a nice soup that we had with rice. We invited our sanmo driver to join us since he had come to fetch us before we finished. We drove home in the twilight, getting swarms of mosquitoes in our teeth, or on the backs of our necks, depending on which way you were facing.
One of my favorite Chinese vehicles is this rototiller powered thing. You see them around the countryside.
We arrived at the docks at dark, and it was too late for any conventional transport, so we hopped on a junk that took us back to the city. We enjoyed the lights, the rock hard benches, and the knock knock of the old diesel engine taking us back.

We got home tired and happy. We discovered a small, new hotel that has rooms at a reasonable price near the beach, so our next trip will be an overnighter. It's so nice to have such a peaceful, backward getaway so close to the bustling city.