by Ava Ming: My Oriental Life
Happened last Thursday when I took a trip to the beach for the first time in four months. Considering that this is a coastal city and I LOVE the sea, it’s silly that I don’t go more often, but such is life.
So Hard to Remember Yet Easy to Forget
Travelling around this huge metropolis it’s too easy to forget that the coast is a mere ninety minutes away but well within urban boundaries.
Shenzhen has so much city in the form of buildings, parks, business areas and shopping, oh so many shops that I could waste time wandering from one glittery shiny mall to the next lost in a dream world of ambient air with no clocks and sometimes no windows either. Is it still day or night outside? Who knows? Is it time for a meal? Which one, lunch or dinner? Again, who knows?
But I do have a choice and whenever I wish I can forego the brand spanking new for the authenticity of the old. I can visit the older neighbourhoods and stroll slowly through, soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of oriental atmosphere while touching walls made of centuries old stone and hoping to decipher the stories my environment is longing to tell.
Yes all of this is possible here but today my choice was to literally stand still and contemplate the reason I left my hot-in-the-summer, freezing-in-the-winter, enchanting northern Chinese city to join my southern friends dwelling here on China’s tropical shores.
Moving over 600 miles didn’t require much persuasion. I simply wanted to be near the sea, craving the freedom to experience its vast glory at will and on a whim.
Growing up in a land-locked UK town endowed the sea with a mystical elusivity. I remember waiting for a rare truly hot summer day when we’d endure a three hour car-sick inducing drive, followed by the pleasure of feeling grainy sand between my toes and challenging myself to see further than the horizon. This is the fore-runner to where I am right now. The reason why I’ve finally found a way to embrace my desire whenever I wish.
Doing it My Way
I took two buses to get to my China sea, relishing the change to see new areas of the city while deepening my awareness of how it has all been planned and put together.
Along the way I came up close and personal with what is currently Shenzhen’s tallest building, the Diwang Building which has 100 floors and saw a life size portrait of one of China’s great leaders, Deng Xiaoping. I also promised myself to return soon to the most picturesque park I’ve come across so far in this place.
Dameisha is a popular beach, but thankfully not too popular on a mid-afternoon weekday, with plenty of places to eat delicious sea-food or the usual Chinese dishes. It also meant that the beach itself, an expanse of dark tan coloured sand, gritty in places, smooth in others, was neither crowded nor empty.
As the winter is just getting underway here, the water didn’t match the air temperature of 26 degrees Celsius, instead it was a little cool. So I wadded in and paddled up to my shins, staring in awe at the hardy young men who dipped, dived and swam wearing nothing but a pair of swimming trunks.
However, after the waves had rocked back and forth crashing over my feet and calves for the umpteenth time awakening and reviving my whole being, I understood the allure of being fully immersed in the refreshing surf.
Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go, No Place to Be
I chilled and then I walked, after which I chilled some more. I treated my hands and feet to a rigorous exfoliation utilizing the sand around me, enjoying the baby-soft skin resulting from my free mani-pedi and wondered how long the new softness would last.
I gazed and gazed at the ocean, imagined I really could see beyond the horizon.
I lapped up the multitude of colours, watery blues and turquoise greens, brought to the shore by each successive wave. I allowed the infectious laughter of young people to become my own personal backdrop to my day on the edge of China. I glanced covertly as young lovers stole a kiss and tried in vain to remember my own first kiss.
I allowed my bottom to sink further into its sandy seat, carefully considering what it would be like to swallowed whole by its heavy mass – the sand, I mean, not my bum.
I drank pop and ate salty potato flavoured chips.
Then, at last, I waved goodbye to the red setting sun and waited patiently for the appearance of the moon to signal an end to my time at the beach.
It’s good to step outside of life and allow yourself to have A Perfect Day.
Who knows what insights will come once you allow fresh air to blow away the dust and unravel mysteries held in wait by your own mind?
Go ahead, try it.