Breathing in the salty air, the waves lapping at my ankles, I laugh in delight. I can’t believe we finally made it out of Guangzhou. After six months in the city with so many barriers to travel, I am thrilled that we’ve finally managed to make a trip happen. Earlier that week I had poured hours into booking the right room at the right hotel, memorizing the Guangdong province train maps trying to find the best way to get from our home to the coast. I’d packed our bags the same day that the remaining 1000 pounds of our belongings were delivered from the US.
That morning we took a taxi to the train station where we waited an hour for our train. I watched my kids race pull-back cars around the waiting room, cringing as they lay belly first on the filthy floor. We boarded our train for a one hour ride to Shenzhen and begged the kids to take naps. I sat with my two year old on my lap and we counted construction cranes as they flashed by the windows.
Arriving at the train station, we blindly followed the rest of the passengers out of the station to the taxi waiting line. I’m so hungry! Can you carry me? There is only one restaurant. It’s McDonalds. We never ate McDonalds in the US, but here it’s just one thing that feels easy. Touchscreen ordering in English, you know exactly what you’re getting.
After burgers, we grab another taxi and head to the resort. There is no closer train station and the area we are going is not as developed. The kids are so excited for the beach, and I’m so done telling them they have sit and wait.
Arrival. But wait, we have to take temperatures, show our COVID test results from less than 72 hours ago, and then register with the local authorities. Ok, now you can go inside the lobby. The kids can see the water through the floor to ceiling windows and they just can’t even handle it anymore. They’ve been dying for this all week. They can’t wait one more minute. I’ll take them to the water, you handle check-in, my husband says. I wait for more than 30 minutes to check-in, but the room isn’t available yet. By now Gray has brought the kids back and their clothes are half soaked. Shameless, we open the suitcases in the middle of the gorgeous lobby with everyone else in their designer clothes watching and find their thrift store swimsuits. Ok, maybe I’m a little ashamed. We are the only foreigners here as far as I can tell and my kids are making a scene.
But the beach? It’s lovely and the water is warm. The resort is beautiful. This feels like a real vacation. I breathe in deep and exhale all the stress of getting here.
I don’t nap in a pool chair all weekend. I’m constantly holding a child while riding waves in the bay. I’m digging sand castles and moats and collecting shells. My hair is in my face and I have sand stuck to the sunscreen on my arms. I’m coaxing children to eat meals when they are too tired or antsy. I don’t even mind. I’m delighted by their first real beach experience and living it through them. We have a lovely weekend and the kids are devastated when we tell them it’s time to leave. I have a feeling we’ll be back.