Impressions of Sanya, Hainan Island

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I am currently slightly more than halfway through a private tour in China and have finished visiting Sanya, Hainan Island, which I’m sorry to say I cannot recommend. All of the tourists were either Chinese or Russian. There are direct flights to Sanya from Moscow bringing huge numbers of Russian tourists. Haven't seen so many Russians outside of Mother Russia since the last time I was in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. No one spoke English there other than the assistant manager of my hotel (and my guide, of course). I felt like I was in some sort of bastion of Sino-Soviet alliance. Many of the young Chinese women tourists wore some kind of sheer or lace frock on the beach that was a cross between a cocktail dress and a negligee. Since I don't know what was underneath it, I couldn't tell whether it was a bathing suit coverup or just some kind of sexy outfit in its own right. There were also Chinese brides in full white wedding regalia sitting on the sand on crowded beaches posing for their wedding photograph. My guide informed me the pictures are taken after the wedding has already taken place. Many of the brides are from Mainland China and came to Hainan Island for their honeymoon. Wow, can you imagine schlepping a bulky wedding dress on a honeymoon just for bridal photographs? At least the aforementioned women were dressed though, which is more than I can say about some of the men. My first day in Sanya I made the mistake of walking along the left side of the beach in front on my hotel and suddenly encountered a group of more than 40 Chinese men, mostly over age 65, who were totally stark naked. No, I hadn't inadvertently wandered onto a nudist beach. The next day my guide informed me that the men have some kind of skin disease and they go to the beach every afternoon because the ocean water serves as a sort of treatment. From a distance I saw the men there on subsequent afternoons, but I made sure that I walked the beach on the right side of my hotel only. The main point of this post is to share my hotel's English translation of some of their buffet breakfast choices which is a riot, albeit not very appetizing - I hope you enjoy reading these: explodes the peanut pats the cucumber chicken feet shredded pork parched beans angle tamarind angle the cheese roasts the tomato mixed sea food roast flour cold food in sauce kelp cold cut intestines porphyra capensi tied ham balsam pear spareribs soup Buddhist ritual procedures bread west cream orchid tea-flavored boiled egg preserved egg lean meat gruel steams the spareribs the cloud swallows chicken waist soup old duck soup the radish cooks the sirloin the Russian type braises the soybean the Russian type braises the sausage fries without additional ingredients the cabbage and as someone who once worked for law firms, my personal favorite, law juice I have subsequently moved on to Xiamen, Fujian Province (where for unknown reason my hotel restricted access to the ITN website) and am now in Nanjing. Needless to say, I'm glad to have left Hainan Island (and I'm doubly glad to be able to access this website again).

Ada: your post is hilarious -- thank you for sharing your impressions and especially the menu choices! Just yesterday I received the March/April issue of Islands Magazine and guess what one of the feature articles was......"Hainan Island -- China's Hawaii." Thanks to you, we know better.

All the best in your travels in China.