Laikwan had spent the night with her family and picked up some yummies to eat in the car including some coconut buns (guy-may-bao
in Cantonese), bite-sized lotus paste cakes coated in a flaky pastry (kind of like moon cakes), sesame balls filled with dried pork and something I couldn’t identify, and some delicious concoction of mochi, toasted coconut, peanuts and sugar. Some were a little greasy, but all were delicious for car munchies.
The drive toward the southern part of the island provided a variety of beautiful views of some of the agriculture in Hainan. There were a lot of coconut trees along with fields of what looked like lemongrass, papaya trees and fields of pineapple plants. Streets and highways were lined with banyan trees, banana trees, coconut trees, hibiscus, plumeria and Cook pine trees.
Another one of Bill’s cousins on his mom’s side, Ga-Ling, does business with many of the resorts in Sanya and quite literally, hooked us up. We had already made reservations at the Renaissance Resort and Spa in Sanya. When Ga-Ling found out we were spending part of our trip in Hainan, our hotel reservations were cancelled and we were told our accommodations were being taken care of ….so not complaining.
Before we got to the hotel, Uncle treated us to lunch at a locals place. One of his friends met us there too. At this place we had some more traditional Hainanese dishes…
This soup had a firm white fish steak inside along with a few slices of bitter melon. The fish was delicious, but the soup and the bitter melon were too much for me. I know Bill and Laikwan liked it though, but they both like bitter melon. Laikwan told me this place was the only place where you could get the fish and bitter melon soup.
Some salty pickled daikon radish, and a garlicky dip that had some cilantro and oil in it. The dip was fantastic with the fish.
We also had a noodle dish that was a variation on the noodle dish we had for lunch the previous day. This one had greens, thin slices of preserved pork (almost like pork jerky), crunchy peanuts, some itty bitty fish, and thin strips of fish cake. It was more soupy than the one we had before, but the idea was the same. It was so delicious.
We guessed they served the noodles in plastic bags to keep from having to wash the bowls.
These were fried whole fish. The flavor was tasty, but the texture was not my favorite. It was like eating fish jerky to me.
In mainland China we were not drinking tap water, and we were told that even bottled water isn’t 100% reliable. So I figured I’d start drinking Coke again. The Coke here is made with real sugar, so the flavor is fantastic, just like Mexican Coke.
After lunch, we checked into the Narada Resort and Spa, Perfume Bay for a one-night stay. It was about 40 minutes northeast of Sanya, but Ga-Ling wanted us to stay there one night because of the hot springs they have.
This resort was unlike any place we’ve ever been… and unlike anything we could afford.
Our hotel room didn’t even qualify as a hotel room, it was two adjoining private villas with with separate bedrooms, a large living room, a private swimming pool and a private jacuzzi fed by the hot springs in each villa. Upstairs had a large, open-air loft with a dining table perfect for entertaining.
Here’s a video tour that Bill took and is the best way to see our awesome villa. Pictures don’t do it justice.
A short walk to the resort’s main lobby brought us to an infinity pool and a beautiful view of the beach. Closer to the beach was another large swimming pool, a kiddie pool and private beach access. (Photos from there will be in tomorrow’s post.)
Tommy was dying to go swimming so we played in our private pool for a while before nap time. He didn’t even make it all the way into the room before stripping his clothes off. They sat in a pile in the doorway, diaper included.
He’s becoming quite the water baby.
Him having the confidence to jump into the water without holding onto my hands first was a new accomplishment. As you can see, he was quite proud of himself.
Bill did eventually put the camera down and join us for a swim, Laikwan too. The cool water felt wonderful on a warm and humid day spent mostly in the car.
…and then it was nap time…
We spent the rest of the day relaxing and actually being on vacation. We watched a little bit of TV and I wrote out a lot of these blog entries on my laptop (before I forgot all of the details). We snacked on the fresh fruit that the hotel brought to us.
The pink one on the right is called Dragonfruit. It looks rad, but it was pretty flavorless.
We totally embraced the vacation part of our trip and I spent the afternoon and evening vegging in the robe and slippers that were provided.
A little after 8pm, Uncle came by to bring us some dinner. He had called earlier and asked if we wanted to go out for dinner. We opted to just stay at the resort and eat the leftovers we had with us. He decided to bring us some more food anyway. We expected maybe a bowl of noodle soup to share since he knew we already had some food and fruit.
Nope! He brought two big bowls of noodle soup.
Three containers of a noodle dish that reminded me of Pad-See-Ew.
And a whole fish that was fried with onions and red and green peppers. It doesn’t look very appetizing in it’s red plastic bag, but the fish was incredible with lots of the flavor from the peppers infused into the meat of the fish, but not at all spicy.
Since it was such a nice night, we brought the food upstairs to the open-air loft dining room and enjoyed the meal. We barely put a dent in the amount of food that he brought.
Tommy and I sat on a chair on the part of the deck that overlooked the swimming pool and watched at the moon and stars and talked about visiting the beach the next day. It was a wonderfully peaceful end to a busy day.