Back in China, again!

… 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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