Actually I have not been living in Shanghai but in Yiwu before and this is also where I took my brother when he came to visit me here in Zhengzhou last summer. But from Yiwu the closest place on the coast would be either Shanghai or an other big city connected to Shanghai by one of the worlds largest bridges called Ningbo. Before I got to know about that place I want to tell you about today, I thought it must be impossible to go swimming over there because of the world famous Chinese pollution. However some of my Chinese friends told me that there really are some beautiful and clean beaches. It takes about 8 hours in total to get there from Yiwu and from Shanghai it should be even closer, so you can easily spend a weekend on the beach. To get there you first have to find a bus that takes you to Zhoushan (舟山）the main island of the archipelago in front of Ningbo. If you get on the right bus, it should take you straight to the Putuo district (普陀区）from where you can take a ferry to one of the many other islands of the archipelago.
We go to an island called Taohua (桃花）, peach blossom. Everything goes fine until we finally arrive at the beach. Here we have to face one of the few problems foreigners are facing here in China. We want to rent a room in a small family hostel just next to the beach, but they say that they have to ask the local police first if they are allowed to let us sleep there. The police comes and tells us: “No”. For our safety we are not allowed to stay in these kind of hostels but should go to an expensive hotel which has the right to host foreigners. We ask what would happen if we slept on the beach and all the police says is: “That’s fine. No problem.” Strange understanding of safety but ok, let’s see what we can do.
We walk towards the beach which is hidden behind a gigantic wind screen. We get to the entrance where they tell us that we would have to pay 30 RMB per person to enter. No way, this is really too much. So we start walking down the road till we get to a little village. Once we get there we think that the local people surely do not pay to get to the beach. So we search our way through the small houses and finally arrive at the beach.
It is already early evening and we have to find a place to sleep. We pick up some stranded goods which will help to protect us from the cold sand during the night and find a place next to the mountain which is more or less windless.
We do not sleep completely comfortable, but it is amazing to see a clear, beautiful sky full of stars again and to hear the sounds of the ocean. In the morning we wake up, have a bath in the sea and then see that we leave this inhospitable village behind. If I ever come here again I surely will bring a tent.
(Thanks to Lars for contributing the photos)