Back in China, again!

flying to Mt. Hood
Chinese Navy

… on short final to Sanya airport…

For the third time in 3 months, I’m back in China…

I didn’t have an impending assignment which meant that I’d be doing a lot of “sitting around” at the home office, so I asked and received two weeks of leave in order to travel back to China with Anya to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year which occurs in February.  The plan was to arrive in Sanya on Hainan Island for some “beach time” the week before New Years and then fly to Guilin to stay with Erica’s family.  I’d heard a lot about Chinese New Years, specifically that there were a lot of fireworks.

As any young American boy loves the 4th of July, the chance to play with all sorts of fireworks that would otherwise be “illegal” in the US sounded VERY appealing to me.  And, having the finances of an adult wherein the budget for fireworks would probably exceed my desire to shoot them off.  In other words, I’d be able to blow up as much stuff as I wanted without worry!

I flew from Beijing to Sanya and quickly caught a cab to a nice 5 star hotel that I’d booked in Yalong Bay.  Of course, the prices were now 400% of what they were last December due to the high holiday season.

… Crown Plaza Hotel, Yalong Bay, China…

The hotel was right on the beach and when I wasn’t in town in Sanya visiting friends, I spent every daylight hour swimming or soaking in the sun.  But, due to the large number of tourists for the holiday week, getting a beach chair and umbrella could be challenging.  The tactic that I (and everyone else) used was to come out before breakfast and leave enough “stuff” so that a pair of chairs looked occupied.  By the end of the week I had a “decoy” bag with two pairs of extra sandals, two extra beach towels, some magazines “borrowed” from the lobby, an empty bottle of sun lotion, some bottles of water and anything else that made the chair look like it was “taken.”  As you can see in the photo below, there wasn’t much room on the beach and if you were late, you were sitting in the sand!

Even when a few clouds rolled in, the air was still humid and warm and was a nice break from the rainy Washington weather.  Relaxation was the name of the game and in the competition, I think I came in first place ;)


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flying to Mt. Hood
Chinese Navy

5 thoughts on “Back in China, again!

  1. Hi there,
    Im just wondering, how long did you prepare for your RTW trip? Did you set a budget for the entire trip before you left? I hope you dont mind me asking :) This is amazing, just travelling, meeting npeople and enjoying the world out there. Wish I could do it too someday.

  2. This last trip wasn’t a RTW trip per se; it was a 4 country Trans-Siberian Railway trip. I can’t say that I’ve ever been on an “actual” around the world trip like so many other travellers I’ve met. I’ve had a lot of “regional” trips (as this last vacation). After I finished this trip, I was invited back to China by friends to spend Chinese New Years – and as I had some time off from work, I took the opportunity.

    I’ve been travelling (seriously) since 1996 with at least one overseas trip each year. In about 1/2 of those years, the travels were multi-country multiple month travels. As for budget, I used to have to worry about that in my “starving” student years but with a good job no, I don’t have to worry so much. I still look for good deals but I can do some frivolous things (like Eagle Hunting). But, I still stay at Lonely Planet recommended hostels and mom & pop hotels as I can meet other (like minded) travellers, make friends on the road, and pick up ideas on where the best places to go are.

    All and all, it comes down to your job. You’ve got to find a job that will let you take holiday time. I used to have to beg, borrow & steal to get time off work; once I even called in to work “sick” for 90 days on the Bill Clinton Family Medical Leave Act. I set a goal to find a job that would give liberal time for travel and a decade later, I found that job. Now I’m reaping the benefits of extended leave times to get to see more of the world.

    Hope this helps; thanks for tuning in :-)

    • This is fantastic.. As for the job part, I’m hoping to find a job that would let me take a long time off. The only time off I can get now is just a week every 3 or 4 months and that is not normal in the company I work for right now. I have to (almost) beg my boss to let me go. I usually stay at work late weeks before I leave and extend my working hours too when I return. I remember missing that trip to Africa because I wasnt allowed to take a week off (becasue I just took a week off the previous month). Crossing my fingers that I could find another job sooner… a job that would let me see small parts of the world every now and then :)

      • A tactic I’ve always used is this; keep some $ available for a trip and should you ever get a job offer, tell the new company that you will take the job and can begin working in 6 weeks. If they agree and give you a start date, quit your current job and go travel for a month and a half. Worst case scenario, your current boss will agree to give you the time off to keep you around. Many many of my trips were taken using the above tactic…

  3. I’ll keep that in mind.. thanks.
    The tactic that I’ve used a few times now is this.. “Everything is booked now, I need some time off to unwind and recharge my batteries” :)
    reminds me of the flight I booked 2 weeks ago. But the trip is not until August. The airline had a sale so I took advantage of it.. plus I convinced some friends to go as well. :)

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