Saturday, June 6: On our last stop of the day, Mari is excited to take me to Beihai’s famous Silver Beach. She tells me to prepare myself as it will be a beach unlike any I’ve seen before. According to Travel China Guide, Silver Beach “is reputed to be the best beach in China for its advantages of even length, fine and white sand, clean and warm water and gentle waves, as well as being safe and free from sharks in swimming area. When the sun shines on the river, the water is just like silver glistening on the surface which creates a dreamlike view.”
The first thing we see at the entrance is several ladies wearing facekinis. According to Wikipedia a facekini is a mask designed for swimmers and beachgoers which covers the head and reveals only the eyes, nose, and mouth. People mostly use it to protect themselves from UV rays while in direct sunlight and from jellyfish while at the beach. The mask is made of stretchy fabric commonly used in bathing suits and it comes in different colors and patterns. It’s often worn with an accompanying long-sleeved body suit.
In the facekinis worn by these ladies, their noses and mouths are covered, so maybe it’s a knock-off version of the original facekini invented by Zhang Shifan, a former accountant from the coastal Chinese city of Qingdao. Facekinis are under mass production in China and are available in local swim stores near beaches.
We head through the entrance and walk down a long walkway to reach the beach.
Near the walkway is a bathing suit shop. I’m surprised by the number of people we encounter who are not at all prepared for a day at the beach; they don’t seem to mind at all that they don’t have bathing suits. 🙂
In typical Chinese fashion, the beach is swarming with people.
I love how some of the girls wear their fancy dresses and shoes to the beach.
Of course there are those wearing wedges and hats who are messing about with their electronic devices.
Some people even come in their business attire.
I pause for a moment to get a picture of my bare feet with the beach sandals.
And Mari poses in the midst of the bathers.
Some people seem more attired for an important meeting than a day at the beach.
But luckily there are many who also know how to play in the sand and swim in inner tubes.
I’ve never seen a lifeguard stand like this one before.
The lady below didn’t seem to notice the bathing suit shop at the entrance and just decided to take a dip in her fancy dress.
And as we leave the beach, we see some stride-bys in front of the Silver Beach Tourists Novelty Shop.
Mari has to catch a flight to Shanghai tonight, but she has kindly offered to let me stay in her apartment without her. We stop at a fancy hotel for an early dinner and then she packs up her stuff and has her driver take her to the airport. I know the code to get in and out of her apartment, but frankly, I’m tired from our busy day and I just decide to settle in and read my book, The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. I also take a number of pictures of the beautiful sunset over Beibu Gulf from Mari’s balcony.
Finally, I drift off to sleep. I’m to get up early tomorrow morning to take the ferry to Weizhou Island. Mari has arranged for her driver to take me to the harbor and drop me off. He will then meet me around 3:00 or 4:00, whenever I return, and drive me back to Nanning. What a wonderful hostess Mari has been for someone she just met in one short weekend in Xi’an. 🙂