Beidaihe to Beijing
10:30 am – Rising a bit later than originally planned we headed out to grab some breakfast on the only restaurant street we could find. After almost eating at 6 spots, we eventually came to agreement on a pancake and porridge place on the side of the road. It was fun to watch the local construction workers eating, chatting and just having a great time next to us. The food was bland but satiating.
The rocky area of the beach was our next destination. Unfortunately Buck was a bit under the weather (it was raining baijiu yesterday) so he stayed in. Our group of five got in the car and drove along the coast, stopping where the sand blended with the outcrops of natural rock (not concrete like the other beach). There were plenty of couples in full wedding garb taking professional pictures.
After taking some tourist pictures ourselves, we were approached by a local on a motorbike who offered to take us on a boat tour. We were a bit skeptical at first, but his argument was quite convincing. There’s nothing else to do here in Beidaihe!
We followed him a short distance getting off the main road and onto a dirt path that led to parking lot for the local fishing community. This was definitely NOT an approved tourist excursion. There were fishermen and street hawkers bustling about. We followed him to the rocks where we watched our ‘cruise boat’ pull into the ‘dock’. The ‘cruise boat’ was a large blue wooden fishing vessel with a makeshift diesel engine. The ‘port’ was the rocks that it beached upon. We boarded via a ladder off the rocks and paid a lady our post negotiation rate. We were off!
The most exciting part of our tour was observing the old seaman who was our driver and guide. He roughly shoved us around (in a nice way) to position the boat when he needed it balanced. Then in a strong accent gave us a memorized pitch of the points of interest within our view. These consisted of the names of towns, the vacation house of the premier, and a nightclub popular for beautiful, but tricky, prostitutes. Chugging along on a rough fishing boat was also amusing.
The grand finale was dragging a net for a few minutes to fish up a crab and a starfish, which the fisherman helpfully threw at our laps. We soon chucked them overboard for the next tour.
About 45 minutes later the tour was complete and we headed back to the hotel. Rounding up the group, we had a quick lunch at a fancy restaurant that had security cameras in the kitchen, so the customer could watch their food being prepared! Interesting concept.
3:00 pm – After lunch, we said bye to Amy and Buck who were continuing their trip via motorbike up to Laolongtou, and did a straight shot back to Beijing. With no breaks and not much traffic, we made it in good time. In fact, Greg fell asleep as we departed and woke up as we arrived! I wish all travel was within the blink of an eye!
Great road trip and another “small” corner of China explored!