(In order to confuse everyone, I am posting pages from my diary!)
I’m writing this on the beach at Sanya. Yesterday Audraie and I managed to get a little sunburned. We went in search of sunscreen and finally found two options: Chinese “whitening” formula, SPF 35 or Johnsons Baby Lotion, SPF 15. The whitening formula makes one look like a clown and I’m not sure how well it works. Guess we’ll find out.
While I was writing, one of the local “fruit ladies” who walk up and down the beach with baskets of fruit hung from a shoulder pole, came up and sold us some fresh mandarin oranges. We had already been hit up earlier by her “sister” for mangoes and bananas. Altogether, the fruit was about 15 yuan (kuai). That’s the equivalent of about two dollars U.S.
Last night we had a meal of fresh fish, cucumbers, peanuts, tea and beer for about 44 yuan (five fifty U.S.). And for lunch we shared a bowl of seafood chow mein for 4 yuan (fifty cents). Oh yeah, we also shared a coconut and two straws for two yuan.
While I’m at it, I might as well tell you that our hotel room is 208 RMB per night. With tax is is 226 RMB. we plan on staying for sixteen nights, which should come out to about $360 to $400 USD! The room is small, but clean and modern.
On our way to Sanya we had a few adventures in Chinaland. From Guangzhou we bought tickets to Zhanjiang because we had read that was the terminus of the railroad. As it turns out the train runs all the way to Haikou, the capital of Hainan Province. They load the train cars onto a ferry in Hai An and take them across the channel. We had read about this on the Internet, but could not determine if they had started doing it on a regular basis, or whether it was still just experimental. Anyway, we had to buy tickets en route and, of course, they tried to jack the price way up. We argued with them and finally managed to buy two additional hard seat tickets to supplement our hard sleeper tickets.
It was still too much, but about a third of what they wanted us to pay. Anway, when we got to Haikou, the the lady who checks for tickets “after you arrive” (typical bureacratic efficiency) tried to stop us. We were very pissed by then, so we just barged on through. I kept looking over my shoulder for the Red Guard, but nobody came after us.