Saturday, December 20


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Ok, so for those of you at home who are fed up with the snow and cold, you might want to skip today’s post, because we spent the day at the beach!!!

Yes, 25 degrees, breezy and sunny, and we were at the beach in Zhanjiang, China.  We had a fantastic day. 

Danny’s cousin picked us up at the hotel, just before lunch time.  Originally he’d requested an earlier get together, but we begged off so the girls could sleep later.  We had some fresh bakery buns in the room, so breakfast was easy.

Lunch was on a big old boat in the harbor.  Kind of like a decommissioned naval ship, old and rusty, and frankly kind of nasty, but that’s where we had lunch.  The view of the harbor was spectacular, with fresh air and sunshine beyond dreams, and the food wasn’t too bad either. 
We had Hainan Island-style food, including sticky rice cooked inside of a coconut, and some lamb meat with really nice seasoning.  There was also fish soup that I’m told was delicious, but I don’t do fish, so I can only pass on that the others liked it.

His cousin then took usto see his elderly father.  His dad lives in government housing, provided to him because of his years of working for them.  It’s very dark and stark in the hallways, with no elevator and a shared bathroom, but inside his tiny apartment felt warm and welcoming.  They had lovely oranges, grapes, and yes, STRAWBERRIES for us.  Who knew China grew strawberries??  Needless to say Emily tucked right into the strawberries, while Stephanie and I ate too many sweet little oranges.  I’ve no idea what kind of oranges they are, but they are native to this part of southern China and the absolute sweetest oranges I’ve ever had!

We had a really nice visit with Danny’s uncle.  He’d never even met Danny and kept saying that he is 86 years old and thought he wouldn’t get a chance to meet him in his lifetime.  He smiled constantly, as you can see in the photos.  Danny’s other cousin in the photos has some significant health issues, including having had a stroke, so his ability to enjoy the time with us was limited, but he seemed pleased. 

We didn’t stay too long, because we wanted to get outside and have some FUN!  Danny’s cousin had wanted to drive us around some more and show us the sights, but I begged for some different time… the beautiful beach. I guess I whined enough, because we headed down to the beach.

The waterfront is glorious, and they live in an area that is like a Hawaiian resort.  Palm trees, coconut trees, and sandy beaches.  You can see in the photos that we were playing with sand crabs and tiny fish.  There were people digging for clams and a wind-surfing class going on too.  The girls and I were definitely in our element, as we ran around and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.  We made happy faces in the sand and generally had a great day!

We had a chance to see Danny’s cousin’s condo, which over looks the sea, and it was lovely. Again, there was lots of fresh fruit for us, including something purple that comes from Vietnam, with sweet fruit inside to eat.  Never had it before, might not get a chance again, but it was awesome!

We had planned a large dinner for everyone that we were hosting at a restaurant nearby.  The food was very good (although there was one dish that I couldn’t identify, and I only know that Danny said “you don’t want to eat that”).  The company was marvelous.  Their whole extended family was really a pleasure to meet and spend time with.  We met and enjoyed food and drink with all of them, and by the end of the meal, we’d decided we’ll definitely come back to Zhanjiang.

After dinner we headed straight back to our hotel, because we are on the bus at 8:30am tomorrow morning, back to Hong Kong.  We’ve enjoyed our visit to China (including Jiujiang, Yangchun, and Zhanjiang) but Hong Kong is a lot more comfortable and easy for us, and where we plan to spend Christmas!