On Christmas we had a very full day of sightseeing. We had a quick breakfast at the hotel and then met up with Harvey and our taxi for the day.
Our first stop was an “ethnic village”. I put that in quotes because it was basically a theme park. When I heard ethnic village I assumed we would be going to a real working village. NO NO NO. This place was never a real village. It was obviously built as a tourist destination. The only thing about this place that made it worth going to was there were a lot of shows to see there that apparently showed off “ethnic culture”. There was singing, dancing, a stunt show and a fire show (my favorite).
Next we were going to a “rain forest”. Now rain forest here is also in quotes because it also wasn’t a real rainforest. It was a glorified park. Kelly pointed out it was more like a Disney safari. We took a bus to the “rain forest”, there were PAVED paths, we had electronic headsets as a tour guide, and the people working there wore brightly colored hats and constantly greeted us with a peace-sign/wave while shouting “YANODA!” (which they said meant Hello in the local dialect). That really does sound like Disney to me. It was still pretty, but again…nothing like I expected or hoped.
The last stop for the day was Monkey Island and after two kind of disappointing stops we were a little worried. How badly can one mess up Monkey Island? We considered that we would be greeted by animatronic monkeys or that instead of an island it was a parking lot. Luckily we didn’t need to worry. Monkey Island was all it was promised to be….an Island with monkeys on it.
We took a cable car over to the island which was a fun time in and of itself. I was surprised that it wasn't completely enclosed. In this picture you can see the tiny shadow at the bottom left. That's from the cable car we are sitting in.
We had been there for about 5 minutes when a monkey came up and viciously GRABBED my right leg in what I assume was an attempt at dominance. Scared the crap out of me. She/he grabbed me hard enough to leave a bruise on my thigh.
Luckily, the rest of our visit to Monkey Island was assault free.
I think one of the things I liked best about our tour day was actually the long drives between locations. I loved looking out the window and seeing people living their normal lives. There were dogs everywhere and every once in a while the taxi had to slow down or stop since there were water buffalo in the street.
When we got home we got cleaned up and had a really nice dinner at the hotel. Kelly got Hainan style chicken. I got another big seafood dinner that included mackerel, salmon, squid, prawns and scallops. It was delicious. After dinner we walked up and down the beach in the moonlight, shoes in hand, feet in the surf, just talking about life. It was a truly wonderful way to end the day.
We also laid out and looked up at the stars and listened to the waves. Once it got pretty late we went back to the apartment, watched a little TV and then fell asleep.
Saturday was sadly our last day in Sanya. We decided to finally get the breakfast buffet which we had seen everyday but had yet to order. It was fantastic. Probably not worth the huge price tag, but delicious just the same. Especially the coconut jam. YUM.
After that we went back out on the beach. Check out was at 1 so we stayed as long as we could before we would need to get back to shower and pack. I spent more time in the water than I did the first day. I chatted in Chinese with a police officer, floated on my back and found some huge chunks of coral.
After showering, packing and checking out, we went back to the market we found on the first day to do a little shopping. I got some keychains and jewelry as presents for my coworkers. Kelly got some beach dresses. After that we went back to the beach for a little longer. We couldn’t get enough of the warm sunshine! While there a couple of Chinese guys asked to take a picture with Kelly. One asked if she would put her arm around him because he said "If you touch me, I will be so happy!" I stole a picture of them together.
On the way back to the hotel I stepped on a still lit cigarette hidden in the sand and burnt my foot, OW. When it finally got to be time, we changed into our cold weather gear and took a taxi back to the airport. We spent the whole ride eating “coconut curd” candy (it’s yummy). I think Kelly might be addicted to it now.
The airport was awful with some really long lines and confusing directions. I nearly panicked thinking we were going to be late, but we go on the airplane just fine. The flight back was uneventful. Kelly was so excited to find that we were getting off the airplane on one of those moveable stairway things that we waited to be the last two to get off the plane just so she could have a little Nixon moment.
That was the end of our lovely trip to Sanya. Monday I wore short sleeves at work just so I could show off my tan (nearly froze to death, but I think it was worth it). I really want to go back. I miss the warmth!
I hope everyone who reads my blog had a lovely holiday as well.