On my last weekend in Tangshan before moving, I went to Beidaihe beach in Qinhuangdao. Beidaihe is a popular beach destination for many Chinese and, surprisingly, Russians. Many parts of the town have more Russian than Chinese signs, and there are Russians everywhere. I have heard this is because of the proximity and value of the beach, as most take the train to the beach town. About an hour away is also the Laolongtou (Old Dragon’s Head) section of the Great Wall, which is the Easternmost point of the wall and leads into the ocean. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to see the wall on my trip, buy I would like to go back. My loyal tour guides Liu, Ada, Milly and Johnboy lead the way, while David had to travel to the US Embassy in Beijing for work. The trip started out a little rough, as I was really tired and we didn’t have seats on the 2-hour train ride there. We snuck in some sitting as people went for bathroom breaks, but I practically fell asleep standing up.

Upon first arriving we got some fresh seafood for lunch, and headed to a local beach park. The water mostly didn’t smell great and definitely did not entice me to swim, but the park was pretty and I did get to lay in the sun for a while. However, none of my travel mates wore bathing suits, so a lounging day at the beach wasn’t in the picture. In true Chinese form, both couples took photos of each other about every 5 ft we walked. The white house you see in the park was actually a huge piegeon house, which you could take photos of for 1 kuai. Luckily I snapped a free shot, but you can’t see all the pigeons out front. After the park we headed to a downtown area, which was really European looking and felt more like Russia than China! The streets and buildings were very quaint, and I could see why this was a popular summer spot. After looking at some souvenirs and drinking suan nai (sweet yogurt that comes in a little clay cup you must drink on the spot, one of my favorites) it was time to head home. Luckily…we got seats this time!

*Inspiring article about retired Chinese backpackers: http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/china_national_day/article150702.ece

*Also, TripAdvisor just started a new program for discounts on luxury hotels around the world: http://www.sniqueaway.com/invite/ErinHen