Shilaoren in August
It goes without saying, I love the beach. I grew up in Cape Town, a coastal city. Whenever we plan a trip, my heart just longs for beach. Yes, I do love to explore mountains, forests, and cities, but there is something about the ocean that really gets me. This was one of the reasons why moving to a coastal Chinese city was so exciting. However, I quickly found out that the beaches in Qingdao aren’t exactly like the beaches I am used to. Besides being different in appearance (brown sand, small waves, no jolly men selling ice creams ?), the beach culture is just different here. VERY DIFFERENT!
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I mostly just enjoy running along the coast. Picnics in the sand are good too. Trips to the beach during summer are, however, definitely not a favorite of mine over here in China! Besides the humidity, I just don’t enjoy the MASSES of people that cover the beach during July and August…
“It’s no big thing for 100,000 or even more people to pack onto the main beach of Qingdao in China’s Shandong Province during a summer weekend but it was extra crowded this weekend as temperatures soared above 30-degrees.”
The above image showed Qingdao’s No.1 Bathing Beach during July. We lived near a beach called, Shilaoren, and on a busy day, that is pretty much what the beach looks like. NO THANK YOU! I think it would be a little more enjoyable if there were less people just standing around, but that is literally all everyone does. Stand and look around. I have thought about this quite a bit – Why are they all standing?? I figure that it is probably so vasty different to beaches I am used to because Chinese people don’t sunbathe. They can, but they choose not to. Being darker skinned is LESS favored here. Which is pretty funny to me, because, as a Westerner, I LOVE to tan. A tan makes me feel healthy, happy… glowing!
A Shift in Summer
In the past , our summer break fell over July and August. These are the same months in which Chinese schools have their summer vacation. That meant that we were away during the times when the beach was most humid and crowded. This year, we have joined an international school. Our summer has shifted one month earlier, so we are now free during June and July. This means that we are here for the whole month of August… along with all the tourists that flock to Qingdao!
A Beautiful Day
We have been on-and-off sick since we returned from South Africa. One day I think we are good, the next day we are coughing! On Monday morning, Eli and I both felt and looked completely healthy, and the sun was shining. We took a walk down to the beach to see if a Monday was a little less chaotic that our weekend experiences. Much to my surprise, even though there were a lot of people as we walked further along the beach, we still had quite a good time. Probably because it wasn’t as humid, the skies were blue, and Eli wasn’t running away from me.
I love Eli’s face in the picture below! This kid REALLY enjoys jumping in the waves.
I waited and waited to be able to go to the beach, and I think that we are getting closer to that now. He still runs into the water, but he is gaining more awareness that the waves can knock him under.
Eli really wanted to go deep into the waves, and honestly, so did I. The water felt warm and pleasant! Unfortunately, I had a little fabric bag and even though I kept making the strap shorter and shorter there was only so high I could hold it without it getting wet. I guess I need to figure out how to go to the beach completely empty-handed!
Making Friends on the Beach
When we wandered too far into the thick of the crowd, we turned around and made our way back to our side of the beach. Along the way Eli attracted TONS of attention. Thankfully, he isn’t too bothered by it… and
sometimes often he will sit down, and start “talking” to people.
On our way home, Eli got reeeeeeally sleepy! He was too hot to want to be carried, but tooo tired to walk. I didn’t take the stroller because it is a nightmare over the sand, and we were both soaked up to our waists, so we had to walk or take a bus.
After 10 minutes, we were DRIPPING so we waited at the bus stop. It was only one stop to our apartment complex, but in this humidity, every bit helps. The bus took too long, so we carried on walking. Except this time – Eli did want to be carried…
Getting big, but still Mamas baby!
We both thoroughly enjoyed our time at the beach. The blue skies and pretty weather made the day too perfect to not head down to the beach. If only I could figure out how to do a full-day beach trip with Eli! How do I leave our valuables to go swim with him? I’d love to lay in our tent, and watch the water. That, of course, will have to wait until September. Things will get quieter around here soon.