What does one do on Christmas day when at the beach? Go to the beach of course! It was going to be a long day, we had plans at Yalong Bay (a little swim and sun time) followed by (another) party thrown by Winston. Winston was showing some yachts at the yacht show and had invited us to come down to the marina, but the lure of the beach was too great and we passed on his offer. Before heading out for our long day, we stopped at one of the beach front restaurants for some breakfast.
Every time I went to a sea food restaurant in China, it was much of the same wherein all of the fish (and or other live animals offered for eating) were displayed in some sort of fish tank. You walk with the restaurant proprietor, select your fish, she kills it and takes it to the back for cooking. I captured the two photos (above and below) to show what the sidewalk in front of most of these restaurants looks like. You can see that there is a wide variety of fish including eels and all sorts of other “exotic” fish, snails, clams, starfish, cuttlefish, crabs, lobsters and pretty much anything else you can find “alive” in the ocean.
I finally found the polarized lens for the camera and was able to capture the ocean view in a photo that actually looks like what it did to the naked eye. The ocean in Hainain is actually quite beautiful and the white sand beaches make for a beautiful baby blue color near the shore that fades to a deep blue azure further out to sea.
Winston was throwing another party and invited us to attend. It was located on the top floor of a local (and popular) restaurant located near his businesses. I believe that the yacht show was a success and he had a sale or two and was entertaining some dignitaries from Beijing, some business leaders, some customers, a few friends, and of course Anya and I. In the photo above, we are seated next to an official from the Chinese Olympic Committee (left) and a professor from the University in Beijing (middle). Her field of academic interest was about maritime trade and history and her thesis was based on the life and exploits of the most famous Chinese mariner of all time, Zheng He.
She started to explain who Zheng He was when I said, “He’s China’s greatest mariner; he sailed all over the Pacific, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and sailed to the west many times setting up Chinese colonies everywhere he went.” She looked surprised and said, “You know Zheng He then?” I replied that I had and told her that I had recently read a book about him and the author made an analysis that Zheng He’s colonies that he set up in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, in Thailand and even in India and Africa have made business for modern Chinese merchants easier as they have other Chinese merchants in foreign markets to trade with. She said that this was the thesis of her graduate paper and that this view had come to be accepted in Chinese academia. She then made the comment (refering to my knowledge of Zheng He) saying, “I’m impressed.” Right then, Anya said, “So am I.” I basked in the acknowlegement for a moment, content that I had chosen History as my major.
Some of the other guests included business leaders and a golf pro who teaches golf (primarily to Chinese tourists) at a resort in Korea (photo above, front row right in blue Hawaii shirt). Our gold pro was good fun telling us all kinds of stories about his work at the resort, about British and American tourists and of course stories about his Chinese clientele.
Winston brough cases of wine and we tasted and tasted, he and Anya explaining to the table the differences in taste or aroma for each particular wine. We tried some sparkling wines, desert wines, red and white, and there seemed to be no end to the flowing bottles. In no time everyone was laughing and having a fun time joking and telling stories.
At one point, the Olympic official asked Anya and I our opinion of China and the Chinese people. We told him how impressed we were with the Chinese people’s generosity and grace. He and the other guests seemed quite proud to hear such appreciation for China from western visitors. We toasted to China and he and the the other guests toasted to friendship and our visit.
Of all the Christmas days I remember since I was a little boy, this day will certainly stand out as one of the most memorable Christmas days of all.
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