2nd blogg from China

Now that the computer seems to understand I am English, I am inspired to add a bit more to our blog.
Today we had quite a quiet day, we all just slobbed around the hotel and beach. Sarah and I did a bit of snorkelling, but you couldn’t see as the water was surprisingly murky. Jamie satisfied himself with hunting for crabs and Sue enjoyed watching us (I think). Last week I discovered a bar down the beach, it is just the type of bar that I adore. Right on the beach, tucked out of the way, very quiet and a table where you can sit and admire the view. I have taken to peering through my binoculars at the passing ships and wildlife while sipping Tsing Toa (local beer, not very nice and always too warm). Jamie found me there and now the family know where I disappear too, so, now I have company and of course, they have to be fed and watered as well. The bar does a nice BBQ and the owners are amiable, even if their English is nonexistent we still smile at each other and I think they look forward to seeing me coming.
We had a slide down a mountain yesterday, Sue enjoyed it mostly, but the rest of us thought it a bit tame as we had to follow a lead sledge who wouldn’t let us go fast!!!!! However, Sarah and Jamie did like feeding some very friendly pigeons (at a cost of 15 yuan, mine of course!) despite Sue’s warning of bird flu. They haven’t started coughing yet. Later we went into Sanya City for lunch and a bit more shopping, it really is a very vibrant city with lots going on, it even has a MacDonald’s. When Sarah and Jamie went shopping the other day they ate there (makes you wonder why we took them on holiday).
We were chatting to another British couple and they told us that they went to the fish nibbling place yesterday, but the taxi driver, who had promised to wait for them, didn’t. Of course, they had paid upfront, and it was 8 hours later before they managed to get back to the hotel. One lesson learnt the hard way! Some of the Brits have gone on trips to Beijing and Hongkong while they are here, it seems a good idea. You might as well do it if you haven’t been before, but the itinerary is a bit gruelling as they do pack a lot of the sights in. They seem to do in a day what we took nearly a week to do.
You can’t deny that Sanya is a lovely place and that the island (it is big!) is at present unspoilt. There are relatively few tourists, and apart from the Russians, there are only 160 Brits that came on the plane from Manchester here. The flight comes in fortnightly and that is it as far as Europeans go. No doubt after the 2008 Olympics, China will open its borders more and places like Sanya will see a massive increase in European tourists. The locals are very nice people, and it is still a novelty to see you. You get used to the Chinese watching when you eat,  and they are pleased when you attempt to use chopsticks, though they will offer you a knife and fork.
We are enjoying ourselves here but I think we are looking forward to Thailand next week. The Thais have fewer restrictions on adventurous sports/activities etc. and I am sure it will be less relaxing, but more fun. The Chinese, of course, is restricted to only one child, and of course, they lavish all sorts of luxuries on them and I think they are growing up quite spoilt and used to having their way. I wonder how this will pan out for Chinese society in the future? You can always tell a Chinese family, they all dress exactly the same, they move around in groups of 10-12, and if one does something, they all do it, and very loudly. At meal times, all the tables have 10-12 chairs around them and it seems that the waiters bring around a thousand dishes of food, which are then tucked into ravenously with the clicking of chopsticks. Afterwards, the table is splattered with uneaten remnants of food and is the messiest table you will ever see. Of course, when we order food, we order for ourselves and what comes is enough on each dish to satisfy a table of 10-12!!! I wonder what the Chinese think when we don’t share our dishes, can’t eat everything and leave the table clean?
Last night we were eating in a local restaurant and we had some rats for company. Sue pointed them out to the waitress who I think said “Oh yes, they are mice, aren’t they sweet?” The rats kept us company throughout the meal and I must admit they did have sweet little faces. They had probably come to say goodbye to their friends who were probably making up most of the courses on our table. Later in the evening, while at a bar we heard some screaming, yes it was from some squeamish Brits who had just spotted some rats who had probably decided to join us for a drink after our meal together!

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