Thursday, July 22, 2004

Sea and Sand
Weary of rain and lacking any firm, moral compass to keep me in Hong Kong last weekend, I returned to Shenzhen for some sun and direction and found a little - as well as massive crowds - at a beach resort called Da Mei Sha. Technically part of Shenzhen, it's east of and well outside the main city and as beaches go, not bad. It certainly beats another beach I visited last October where our tour guide proudly noted a distinguishing shoreside feature across a small inlet - a nuclear power plant.
This featured no glow-in-the-dark,, three-eyed marine life, but it was somewhat marred visually by a feature that is all too typical in some of the other ocean views I've seen in here: bad public art. There seems to be a penchant for 30-foot figures that look like blowups from an 70s-era art-rock album cover, say something by Kansas or Styx, and Da Mei Sha outdid itself in this respect with five enormous colored (green, red, blue, yellow, brown) winged figures that probably represented something like Five Virtues, but to my eyes looked more like Five Good Reasons to Avoid Looking Up.
Nonetheless, the view of the small islands dotting the seascape and watching 70-year-old pot-bellied men in Speedos wrestling with oversized innertubes offered some relief.
The hotel, by the way, was owned by China's best known mattress company: Airland. The perfect tie-in, I thought. I took it further and explained the phrase "hot mattress hotel" to my Chinese companions and was glad to see that some slightly smutty humor is universal.

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