Hello dear readers!
It’s been another couple of weeks since I penned my last entry, and I guess there’s been quite a lot going on.
I’ve been continuing about my daily life, experiencing more of the ups and downs mentioned a fortnight ago. This daily life has involved studying during the mornings, doing a lot of exercise – thanks in part to the exercise bike I purchased a while ago – and enjoying plenty of cooking for and with friends. Part of the exercise has been through football. A group of us foreigners have been meeting up in the afternoons occasionally, either to play amongst ourselves or to find a Chinese side to beat on the seven-a-side pitches. I’ve got some new kit and boots for the purpose now. But sadly, this dispenses with my final excuse for being pretty dire: “I’m wearing running shoes…”
There was also the semester’s opening ceremony (ironically, four weeks into the semester), where I was asked to make a speech on behalf of the eight of us who received Hainan government scholarships for outstanding study or extracurricular activities (mine was the latter, as a result of the speaking competition). That went pretty well.
Last weekend, Brent, Paulina (his girlfriend) and I planned to go to Riyue Bay. The weather intervened, so it was postponed to this weekend. More on that later…
Instead, Will, Brent, Dani, Vlad, Patrick and I had a bit of a cooking fest on Saturday night, followed by a game of Cards Against Humanity (“A game for horrible people”) and a trip to Which bar. It was my first time there – amazingly, really, given that it’s right next to the North Gate – and was a good fun evening. Apart from Sunderland’s result… Their position is becoming more and more precarious with each defeat!
This week, then? On Tuesday, Brent and I went to a driving range at Baishamen. It’s a really cool place, but is as expensive, if not more so, than in England. He had a contact there, but she sadly stood us up after agreeing to meet us and (potentially) come to a deal of some sort…
After that disappointment I headed back to uni to meet a Chinese friend who works at Yes bar (the coffee place on campus). She’s learning the guitar, so we spent a couple of hours together practising… I hope I helped, but it’s difficult to explain in Chinese, when you’ve forgotten how to play it even in your mother tongue!
I’ve also been budgeting/planning for the next 18 months. A fair bit of proofreading work seems set to come my way over the next month, which is a timely boost to see me through to my summer internship. Even so, I’ve got back in touch with the school to see if they need my services this term – I’m not hopeful though, as there’s a lack of response so far.
Riyue Bay trip
It’s been an awesome trip to be honest. On Friday I was hugely stressed out about getting everything ready in good time, so ran back to the dorm between the two classes to try and sort myself out, before returning to class.
It was at that moment I decided I’d treat these two days as a relax/refresh opportunity, then I’d re-find my bustling, busy self on my return. I’m starting off with this budgeting thing, and will continue by getting my bike fixed up. I’ve been walking everywhere, which is all very well, but it’s easy to forget the little things which ordinarily make me so time-efficient. It should just be a replacement inner tube; I’ve been putting it off for long enough now!
What about Riyue Bay then? On Friday, we took the train from Haikou’s East Station to Wanning, and a taxi from there. Including a coffee, it came to £10 for the whole journey – not bad!
After arriving at 4pm, Brent and Paulina set their tent up, before we took a dip in the sea and an explore. The hostel is a very cool place. It’s a surf centre downstairs, and is a hub of activity – it has a restaurant, skating halfpipe, perfect trees to set up a slackline (next time…), and all sorts of other outdoor installations. I had a dorm to myself on the first night (perfect) but have since been joined by a Korean guy studying in Hangzhou. (Can’t get away from these Koreans!!)
Saturday, we got up reasonably early and took a walk to Shimei Bay, roughly 10km away. There wasn’t much there when we eventually made it, but the weather was perfect for a stroll – sunny with a bit of a breeze. On the way back, we were all feeling pretty hungry after 36 hours of eating fruit and snacks and a good hike, so Brent led us into a tucked-away family restaurant in a tiny village off the beaten track, where we duly ordered an outrageous quantity of food – probably enough for five or six – and felt much better. After a good long walk, we’d earned it!
Then it was back to the hostel for a chill and some more beach time. We’re all fairly tired so plan to hit the hay pretty early after a couple of drinks and a light bite of fruit. The weather certainly isn’t conducive to heavy eating!
Tomorrow’s check out time is 12 noon, so before then, we plan to head for another wander – just along the beach this time. After grabbing our stuff, we’ll head to the roadside and hitchhike back to Haikou. It’s all a bit of an adventure!
From there, my streamlining and re-finding myself starts in earnest! Bring on busy Jack again.
PS. No idea if the below photos will work. If not, I’ll re-upload them when I get back tomorrow!