Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh Hai, Nan!

Spring Festival is generally regarded as the biggest domestic mass exodus on the planet. In an attempt to be as "Chinese" as possible, Jared and I decided to travel to Hainan, China's answer to Hawaii, to enjoy a week of beaches, mountains, and weather that doesn't turn one to thoughts of suicide.

All was well for the first few days. We explored Sanya (the Honolulu of Hainan), ate and drank excessive amounts of unhealthy things, strolled along the beach, and joined the Chinese in celebrating the new (lunar) year by nearly killing ourselves with fireworks on the beach. The plan was to leave Sanya for the mountains via high-powered scooters, which we did. Traveling by scooter at 45kph, for a second-timer (Theo and I scooted around Rome for a few hours in 2002, but that barely counts), is somewhat of a terrifying feat. We finally made it to Wuzhishan, a city nestled in the 5 largest mountains on the island, in the hopes that we'd travel around and visit some Li and Miao (also known as the H'mong people) villages the next day.

On our ascent up one of the winding mountainous highways, we came to a blind curve. All was well until an oncoming car soared around the curve in our lane. Our lane! This obviously startled Jared, the leader of our pack, who swerved to miss certain death. His scooter crushed his foot, and with it our grand designs on the week were also crushed.

He's still in an immense amount of pain; I think it's broken but, understandably, he thinks it's easier to let it heal on its own than deal with the rigmarole inherent in a visit to a Chinese hospital.

Ultimately, we did everything we planned to on our vacation--we visited a few villages, I bought honey from a roadside bee colony, we sunbathed on a pristine, empty beach on the east side of the island, we enjoyed the weather and the distance we had from the mainland. It's just somewhat fitting that the nonsensical daily foppery of "some" "people" "here" would bring what would have been a delightful vacation to a halt. It was a lovely break, but would have been lovelier if actions and things made any sort of rational sense here.

2 months and counting!

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