Sunday, June 3, 2007

On the Beach

Mimi’s time here is winding down (she leaves Monday), so we are trying to squeeze in her must-sees this weekend and the beach was high on the list. Mimi is a beach bunny from way back (she met my dad on the beach – she explains that she and her girlfriends merely wanted to practice their English on the American airmen!). [Our children like to tease me saying I just picked up Daddy on the beach – at age seventeen I was not very practiced at picking up anyone!] [Ha! We’ve seen pictures of that innocent 17-year-old in a bikini – she could have picked up ANYONE she wanted!]

Walking toward Beach Gate, in front of the old dorms, we were distracted by this gorgeous flowering tree.

With the switch from spring into summer we’re getting new flora, even more tropical and showy than when the temperatures were cooler.

At Beach Gate we often see an itinerant cobbler with a hand-cranked sewing machine. You’ll see them throughout Xiamen, and I’ve been told that most of them actually come from Sichuan Province. Whenever I see them, they are always busy with people bringing shoes to repair. I don’t have shoes in need of fixing, but the padded strap on my backpack has been busily unraveling. I asked the cobbler if he could fix it, and he did!

It’s not the prettiest repair job I’ve ever seen, but then he didn’t have much to work with since the cloth was rapidly disintegrating. But it looks much better than it did with the strings of scraggly cloth hanging down, and the price was certainly right – 2 yuan! The girls were fascinated to watch the cobbler at work (and admittedly, so was I!).

It was a hot, hot, hot day at the beach, but we found a spot of shade for the girls to play in. Maya was content to sit in the shade to dig in the sand . . .

. . . but Zoe and Mimi had to venture to the water’s edge to find shells and other detritus tossed up by the tide. (Mimi found sea glass and pottery shards and porcelain pieces to take home for use in a mosaic plant stand. Won't it be fun to point to the mosaic in a few years and say, "I picked up this sea glass on the beach in China . . . .").

I absolutely wanted to put my feet in this side of the Pacific Ocean. I did the same thing with the Atlantic Ocean in Florida and France, and the other side of the Pacific in San Diego.
The palm trees reminded me of the many days I spent on the beach of the Indian Ocean while living in Madagascar as a child. The palm trees were taller than these and I have fond memories of native boys climbing the trees to bring back tasty and refreshing coconuts.

We finished our beach trip with a walk on the boardwalk to a wonderful restaurant. We had a private room with an entire wall of glass that allowed us to look out on the ocean. How nice to enjoy that view while still having the pleasures of air conditioning!

We took a taxi home to avoid the heat of the day, standing in front of this sculpture (said to be the longest sculpture in the world at 247 meters long, the musical notes depict the "Song of Gulangyu.") on the Island Ring Road to flag a cab. Avoiding a hot walk home made that $1 cab ride the best investment of the day!

So we managed to check off another adventure on Mimi’s to-do list, letting her paddle her feet in the far east Pacific Ocean. Next up – the Arctic Ocean?! [No, not the Arctic -- I hate cold!]


Wendy said...

Glad to see you are getting to take it all in. The photos you all are providing are beautiful and really make one want to travel immediately!
Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

MiMi will be sorely missed!
And so will her posts.Such
a wonderful Nana. Elizabeth