Sunday, March 10, 2013

Marked for Life

After exploring the financial district in Shanghai, being surrounded by picture perfect scenery in Yangshuo, and experiencing the small town life in Xingping our two week long vacation was coming to an end on the sandy beaches of Sanya. It just so happens that our final day fell on Valentine's Day and what better way to spend it than at a butterfly garden and your own private part of the beach. It sounds pretty perfect to me and it will be a Valentine's Day to remember. 

I was surprised when the entry fee was half the cost I thought it was going to be and then I walked through the butterfly garden only to realize that it took a total of maybe 7 minutes tops to walk all the way through. So I walked through it two more times. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to go to a place like this where you can just walk around surrounded by butterflies. It was my childhood dream come true and I loved every minute of it.

Below are photographs from the little museum you walk through before entering the garden. They had signs to indicate what region of China all the butterflies could be found at which appealed to the geek in me. The walls were covered in frames of butterflies in all different sizes and colors. These were some of my favorite.

We managed to spend a day at all three of the popular beaches of Sanya; Dadonghai Bay, Sanya Bay, and finally Yalong Bay. Yalong Bay is the longest beach in China and I have experienced just how long that beach really is. When we arrived and found what I thought was the perfect spot to set up camp with only a few groups of people around us on the highly populated beach the majority of the group decided they wanted a more secluded area. Andrew was dead set on walking all the way down the beach to the rock area they were at 4 years ago because that's where all the best sea shells were.

So we walked for what seemed like forever passing everyone relaxing and having a grand old time. My nausea was kicking in and I was starting to get cranky. We managed to walk all the way down near the mountains in the picture above. It was at least 30 minutes.

It was worth it though we reached a point along the beach where the people just stopped and then walked a little bit further and enjoyed our own private beach in China. I was finally able to settle down, dig my toes in the sand, and bite into my juicy, fresh mango I had stowed away in my bag. I had one of those, "Life doesn't get better than this" moments and everything was right in my world.

Andrew was right they did have the best shells down here and we all managed to collect our own little pile. He really wanted to find a huge conch shell like he did the last time he was here but was sorely disappointed when after much effort none washed up.

I love holidays and any excuse to celebrate especially when you're celebrating love. I'm one of those people who just loves love.
So of course I have to draw a heart in the sand for Valentine's Day.

4 years ago Andrew was on this very beach near these same trees missing me like crazy. We had just decided to get married a couple months before and while here he decided to carve our initials in a tree with a broken glass bottle. Romantic right?

Now we were here together, prepared with a knife, and carving our initials in the tree together. Look how far we've come. 

It was incredibly hard to say good-bye to the beach and 
all of it's sea salt, sandy goodness but we left our mark...

On the longest beach in China near a unique worship alter there is 
one small tree that will always hold a special place in my heart.

I think it's safe to say that those two weeks of traveling as well as my 
entire experience here in China is leaving its mark on me as well. 

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