Sep 5, 2007

Beidaihe and Nandaihe impressions

Beidaihe and Nandaihe are two summer beach towns a few hours drive away from Beijing. Here are some photos from a recent trip I took there.

South of Nandaihe there are some relatively uncrowded beaches with somewhat white sand. It's pretty much what you'd expect from a non-tropical beach, except all the Chinese guys wore swimsuits that looked like spandex biker shorts. I'm not a fan of smugglin' plums unless I'm in swim training or actually in a swimming competition. I mean, make up your mind, pick a Speedo-type racing suite or board shorts, leave the spandex biker shorts to Lance Armstrong.

When you get to the beach at Nandaihe or Beidaihe, there are some hastily erected changing rooms you can pay one yuan to use. They are flimsy-walled shanties put up over the sand, and the sides are made from either canvas and metal or corrugated steel. I made the mistake of using one of these changing rooms at the first beach I went to, where I discovered nasty turds in the corners and pools of urine still in the sand. At other beaches, I looked for some secluded spots to change in because there was no way I was going to pay to use another one of these turd chambers again.

This unfortunate guy got heat stroke, so the security guards tossed him under a lounge umbrella on the sand to cook for a while longer. Here they are, having returned after twenty minutes or so, to put the victim on a stretcher. The Red Cross should use this in a training video of how not to do first aid. Up to this point, I've always been impressed when I hear about the five thousand years of Chinese culture and medicinal knowledge, but after witnessing the expert care given to this victim, I have some doubts.

(Here is the correct way to treat dehydration and heat stroke, in case you're wondering.)

Here's the heatstroke victim, finally on the stretcher, the midday sun beating down, while the security guards fart around and decide what to do next. Notice the one security guard more interested in sending text messages to his girlfriend on his cell phone, and the tourist in blue jeans taking photos at point-blank range.

When you're done bathing in the sea, or getting sunstroke, you can pay a few yuan to shower and rinse that seawater off your body. This was another uniquely China experience for me, as I noticed more than a few Chinese that were urinating while they showered. Gross. Don't they know that the corner of the changing shanty the proper place to urinate? As I showered, I made sure that I was upstream from the pee running towards the drain.

Beidaihe is full of white-complexioned Russians and Russian restaurants, one of them which is pictured here. Strangely enough, the shopkeepers would still try to talk to me in English, not Russian. I guess they haven't figured out that Westerners have more than one language. One merchant, however, a banana vendor, did shout some things at me in Russian. Upon hearing his calls, I was content to no end. In retrospect, I should have bought a banana to give the guy some positive reinforcement.

The beaches in Beidaihe have more Russians, and are more crowded in general than the beaches in Nandaihe.

This Buddha carved into the sand dunes was at a beach south of Nandaihe.

Overall, I'd recommend these beach resorts if you're in need of a break from the city heat of Beijing. I wouldn't much recommend them to tourists with limited time in China. There are much more interesting and unique places to see than Beidaihe.

Remember to bring flip-flops for the public changing room and shower.


Blogger will891 said...

I went here on my second trip to China. Chinese beach resorts are very much overrated. My hotel had girls dressed as hula dancers singing and dancing to Russian techno disco that was a hoot. I had fun but I have a distrust and dislike of Russian people. I almost cried one morning when I had fried potatoes and eggs and found pepper on the table.

9:34 AM  

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