Sanya on a BudgetSanya hotels are relatively expensive during the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year. I alluded to that in my last post. They are three times the normal price. Most hotels have a peak season but in Sanya they really gouge the tourist during this holiday. It is one of the things that I really don't like in China. If you read other blogs about China you probably have seen some advise on bargaining. Now this is something that few people in the West know how to do. You may not even be aware the the first price you are given may be up to 5 times what a vendor will ask of a Chinese person. We don't have this kind of situation in the west save the flee markets. The only things that we usually bargain for are houses and cars, so our skills need to be developed. It's really quite irritating after awhile, but with a little work and knowledge you can buy things at or near the same price that the locals do. This can be done with almost everything except for items in department stores which are pretty much the price that is posted. You need to be aware that when they see your face a vendor will almost always try to make 3 to 5 times more profit from you than the knowing locals. So get a friend to help you or just comparison shop before you buy.
Before I went I researched the hotel prices in Sanya. Most decent looking hotels ranged from 400 to 800 per night, during the non peak time frame. Every one had triple that price during the Spring festival. So I was looking at 1200 to 2000 or more for a hotel room. Now for people that come from the West this perhaps is an expected price for a decent hotel, but teachers in China make 5,000 to 8,000 rmb per month so you could easily spend two or three months salary on a week or two. I am just not willing to do that. Consider this tact. I payed 480 rmb for two weeks for a small apartment. Just because of my contacts with my students and their families. Sixty dollars for two weeks, you just can't beat that. Let's face it, most of your time there will be to enjoy the beaches and the outdoor activities. It doesn't take that much effort to ask around. If you have Chinese language skills I'm sure you could find one in one of the local neighborhoods. Living like a local is also an experience you may enjoy. The conditions will not be as nice but the streets do get cleaned daily for the most part, they just don't stay clean very long. This is a problem everywhere in China, people just toss all kinds of rubbish into the streets and it is then taken away by workers who collect the trash. It does leave much of the cities strewn with trash. It is quite appalling for most. It is also quite difficult to accept that culturally the Chinese are so totally uncaring about the filth they live in, it is just the way it is. Why something cannot be done about it in an authoritarian society is beyond reason.
I'm not a tidy freak, a anal retentive or a perfectionist about cleanliness either. I have just never seen anything that compares to the litter and garbage that is everywhere in China. That's what 1.3 billion people gets you, I guess. On the other hand most Chinese are quite fastidious about their own hygiene. Even with some of the litter, it is still quite beautiful, but unless you have seen it with your own eyes you may not realize the scope of the problem.
The picture above is in the apartment I rented. It only had a bed and that was it. Everything else we needed was loaned to us by my students grandparents. Chinese people are quite kind and generous to friends. This is one of the good things about the country and the people, the acts of kindness. They are really great that way.
worldtour aka Larry Rhoe