Wednesday 4 June 2008 - Saturday 7 June 2008 26 °C
Made it down to Sanya, on the first night there was a massive tropical storm, the biggest storm i've ever seen! In the middle of the night i suddenly heard a really loud noise at the door, sounded like someone was banging on the other side...didnt open it as naturally i was thinking it was some kind of serial killer! It kept on going for ages and i managed to fall back to sleep then in the morning i looked outside (In my room there was no outside window) and there was a massive storm and it turns out the banging had been the wind rattling the door! phew...! judging by the size of the storm i thought the whole island would have been shut down and was really worried but when i ran into the hostel owner she seemed to think it was a normal occurence!
so i was thinking the chances of getting to the beach were nil but after a couple of hours it was like there hadnt even been a storm, so weird! so headed off to the beach and had a nice lazy afternoon.
there is a big russian community in Sanya (strange to see the signs in chinese, english...then russian!) so it was fun to people watch on the beach. also to see the chinese holidaymakers in matching hawaiian shorts and shirt combos...somtimes entire familes...all matching!
had an early night as i wanted to head to some of the more secluded beaches along the coast (the one near the hostel, although only being 3 minutes away was a bit 'costa del china!') unfortunately the weather was still unpredictable so i spent the morning (turned into the day!) trying to sort out my departure from hainan.
now this journey seems to have been doomed from the start!!! there is a train that runs from haikou to guangzhou (which is put onto a ferry to get to the mainland...interesting..had to see this!) so i set about getting a ticket when i was back in haikou, but due to some misleading directions from the hostel staff it took about 3 hours and 3 return trips to the hostel for more directions! eventually got the ticket and went down to sanya and there i found out i could have got a train which started in sanya! (negating the need for the 3hr bus journey and complicated across town journey to the train station) so after asking the hostel staff they thought i might be able to change the ticket but then mentioned it would only be 300 yuan (21 pounds) to FLY to guangzhou...taking just one hour as opposed to 12 on the train, sounded like a plan as i was so tired of long journeys, even if it did mean missing out on the train on a ferry adventure! booked the air ticket and then headed off to the train station to get a refund (thought it was a 20 min journey, turned into a 3hr round trip!) at the station they said as i got the ticket in haikou they could not refund it here...great! but in the grand scheme of things not too bad as it was only about 14 pounds so not the end of the world. spent my last day enjoying the beach and in the afternoon a storm rolled in, thunder and lightening but no rain. hmmm would be airport be ok? as the last storm passed fairly quickly i was hoping it would be ok especially as everyone had seemed so blase about the last one.
got to the airport at about 8.30pm (flight due to leave at 10.30) lots of delays posted on the board but for flights earlier in the day... about 5pm time so i thought maybe the later flights would be ok. sure enough we were able to check in and head down to the gate....there the fun really started! the storm hit and the rain came thundering down...the information boards were a sea of red...delayed delayed delayed...cancelled cancelled etc. 10.30 came and went, my flight disappeared off the screens altogether as there were so many flights delayed. Time to find a nice spot to settle down for the long haul! already the departures lounge was starting to look like a third world country people all over the floor the roof was leaking on the upper level...people were buying their way into the VIP waiting lounge...airline staff started to hand out instant noodles and drinks. managed to grab a seat and spent the next 4 hours reading, wondering why i didnt just get the train and staring like a zombie at the information boards! didnt want to listen to my ipod incase i missed some essential announcement (luckily they were in english too, although heard to hear over the din of card playing chinese travellers!) eventually flights started to leave once the storm cleared and we took off about 3am landing in guangzhou at 4. got to the hostel about 5.30am and fell into bed exhausted! what a mission! hehe the airline was called Deer air...thought it was going to be the dodgiest thing ever but the actual flight was no problem at all, plane was really new and clean and i had probably more leg room than on the ba flight to beijing.
well that was the fun of last night!
after a couple of hours sleep i had a walk around Shamian island which is where the hostel is located in Guangzhou. the island itself is tiny, take about 7 mins to walk the length and 3mins the width! it is such a strange place as it was a foreign concession after the opium wars so is just like a little bit of europe! it was mainly british and french inhabitants, french took the east end, english the west! there are about 5 bridges that connect the island to the mainland and they used to have massive iron gates to keep the chinese out! a lot of the buildings have plaques explaining what the buildings used to be which is interesting.
lots of people were fishing in the Pearl river earlier as i walked around, some with rods and some just with little nets and i even saw the head of a chinese man bobbing along as he swam around the island! i dont like the look of the water much so think i'll be giving that one a miss!
oh also walking along the island at 5.30am i saw a few chinese people out exercising! they use the childrens play parks to limber up for the day!! such a funny sight. i know that they all do morning tai chi etc but have never been up early enough to see it!!!
massive thunderstorm at the moment, they seem to be following me around....!!