Rain, Rain and Bullet Trains

Trip Start Jul 07, 2013
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12
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Trip End Aug 03, 2013


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What I did
Dolphin Bar

Flag of China  , Hainan,
Tuesday, July 30, 2013











We woke up Tuesday and decided to try out
the breakfast buffet at the resort. At 145 yuan a person, we were expecting
some high end offerings. We have been keeping our entire food bill for the
whole day to under 150 yuan, so a nearly 300 yuan meal was quite a splurge.
Price aside, the buffet was quite interesting in its offerings. Choices
included everything from your standard eggs and bacon to such odd concoctions
as green tea waffles.



After having felt we got our moneys worth
(I stuffed loads of milk buns in my pocket for later!) we opted for a day
lounging by the pool. As the sun was out, the pool was empty with the Asian
guests hiding in their rooms awaiting cloudier hours or evening. We got in a
good two hours of lounging and full body fish therapy before the thunder storms
struck! Not wanting to sit in the room all afternoon we thought we would
reattempt to head back into Haikou. The pool boy, Lou, helped us figure out
what was the right way to head into the city so that we didn't have a repeat of
our slums experience from the day earlier. Lou took our phone and recorded
simple phrases to tell the bus drivers as we got on, like I need to switch
buses at the next town, and please let me know when I have arrived had Ming Ju
Square.

 

We changed buses at the right times and
started heading in the right direction. As we were going though the rain really
started to kick in. the rain here when it starts, seems to never end.
Visibility was so bad, that we ended up missing our stop and had to get off
much further away then we had anticipated. Two local girls seemed to think we
only needed to walk about five minutes back to get to where we needed to be.
They were only off with there estimation by about 20 minutes… the rain by that
point was so heavy that the roads started to flood, and matt and I found
ourselves in ankle deep puddles trying to find the shopping center. We were too
close to the shops and taxis were refusing to give us a lift, as the distance
wasn’t great enough.

 

We finally arrived at the shopping center,
and hung out by the hand dryers in the toilets for a good fifteen minutes. Once
we felt our clothes were damp, not drenched, we started shopping. The center
was pretty basic, with the only sit down restaurant shut down for construction
and maintenance. In the grocery store my search for diet coke, came up with
nothing still. The drink has not been on offer anywhere since our first day in
Beijing! They had coke zero, which has been quite easy to get, but the drink is
only available in sizes 550ml and smaller. While in the store, a woman
approached and asked us if we were the two gentleman staying in 1207 at the
Eadry Hotel (she wasn’t that psyic, we had Eadry umbrellas). She was the woman
we had spoke to on the phone from customer services the day prior about our air
conditioning problem. Amanda was shopping with her nephew and offered to have
the car service from the hotel pick us up and bring us back! So thankful for
not having to change buses, and trudge through the rain we celebrated with
icecreams from the KFC in the center. Amanda’s nephew couldn’t speak English,
but he wanted to get our photo so that he could show his friends he had hung
out with white people. The drive back in the airconditioned bmw was bliss in
comparison to the overcrowded buses.

 

That night we went to the lounge bar in the
center of the hotel to enjoy an evening drink. The bar was completely empty and
the poor girls couldn’t speak a word of English. Poor matt was given my
alcoholic drink to start, but in the end we got there.

 

Wednesday we packed our bags and got the
bullet train down to Sanya, for a two day one night getaway to the other side
of the island. First class tickets were only 20 yuan more expensive, so we
thought we’d splurge. Looking back we still cant figure out what the difference
was between first and coach on the bullet. The seats were identical, and the
coach toilet was a proper toilet, while we had a squat down one in first.
Haikou and Sanya sit on the coast on the north and south, while everything
between it is primarily unspoiled so the scenery between was beautiful. It was
primarily coconut trees, with sporadic farms and villages every few miles. The
train didn’t reach the impressive 380 km per hour that it can, but it still
coasted around 200 km for most of the journey. I was a bit adventurous and tried pickled chicken feet and peppers as a snack during the journey. They were actually really tasty, but a bit chewy!

 

Sanya train station is still under
construction, with the promise of multiple restaraunts and stores in the coming
months. Skidding around the dodgy taxi drivers attempting to get us into
unlicenced cabs, we got in the massive queue for a taxi. We had taken a photo
of the name and address of our hotel in mandarin for the occasion, but the
gentleman in charge of the taxi line deleted the photo while explaining to the
driver how to get there! The driver needed the phone number so that he could
call up for directions. We had to turn on data roaming for only 2 minutes and
thirty seconds resulting in a whopping 17 pound bill! That’s 170 rmb, which is
more than the cost of a hostel stay for the two of us in central China. Not
including our phone bill, the cab only cost 25 yuan for the 30 minute drive to
the hotel.

 

Upon arrival at the Pullman Hotel we were
greeted with coconut milk and an English speaking staff member. We were in
heaven from the getgo! We opted to upgrade for a minimal cost to the executive
room. Up on the 16th floor we had a living room, two bathrooms and a
patio that overlooked the coast and private beach. The weather was a polar
opposite to the day befores torrential rain so we slapped on some sun screen
and ran to the pool area before heading to the beach. The hotel has a swim up
to bar, so an over priced pina colada was on the cards before heading out to
the ocean! At the private beach we met Sean, a pilot and native New Yorker, and
his Russian girlfriend Olga. They introduced us to these small purple fruits
that you crack open to eat the garlic looking cloves inside. The fruit was so
delicious, refreshing and cheap at just over 1 yuan a fruit. The four of us
headed back to the pool Jacuzzi area for some light chat and more pina coladas. We were reminded of some cultural differences while lounging. A mother took her daughter out of the pool, pulled down her bathing suit and aided her in peeing on a palm tree. Matt pointed out in America, they'd have just peed in the pool, so it was up to ourselves to decide which was worse!

 

We decided to meet up for dinner at 18:30.
Sean and Olga knew of a fish market and bar that we needed to check out. Olga
speaks fluent Mandarin and was able to help us maneavour around the market,
haggling prices and helping us choose what we wanted. It was the first and
potentially last time in my life where I choose a live animal that I would eat.
The fish is weighed and then a fee is set to cook and bring over to your table.
We got fresh shrimp and a massive fish with dumplings and noodles. By the end
of the meal, the suns rays were starting to take affect on my British half so
we ran to a local drug store for aloe vera before heading to the dolphin bar.

 

The dolphin bar was an ex pat haven with
the vast majority of the clientele being western workers from local resorts and
business. The drinks were all buy one get one and were more than half the cost
at the hotel. Matt fought the pain of the sun burn on his feet and ripped up
the dance floor. Around 12:30 our old men started to showing their faces and we
decided to start heading home. The bar owner didn’t want us to leave and
started yelling free drinks. Another hour and 3 free mojitos later, we hopped
in a cab and headed back to the hotel. Olga found out breakfast was not
included in our stay and became extremely agitated. Her and Sean had breakfast
included and wanted us to join them. When we got the lobby, Olga put her front
desk hotel reception face on and convinced the hotel staff to throw in free
breakfast, a 350 yuan add on to our already great stay!

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Comments

myronbollitar
myronbollitar on

Stick close to Sean and Olga. They know the score.
Great blog.
You know we are of on a cruise Wed 31/7 so catch up in a couple of weeks. Steve

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