8/26, Weds, On the beach – more.
A small family of Chinese people walked by me as I sat on the beach. It looked like a grandmother, mother and grandson. Just beyond me, the mother gave the grandmother a beach bag and said something to her in Chinese. The grandmother pulled the bag to her shoulder and then walked toward me to place a towel to sit on about ten feet from me. The whole beach was pretty much empty and this older woman proceeded to pick a spot quite close to me. I found it odd at first but smiled at her. I think most Americans would have seen that I was in my own space and probably sat farther away. But perhaps this older Chinese woman felt safer close to me or might not have thought about me. They have so little personal space in China in the big cities, maybe this was not something she even thought about.
So we smiled at each other. And I tried to talk with her but her blabber in Chinese and admission of: “no, eengleesh”, pretty much left us to sign language and our creativity. She put down her umbrella and pulled her towel right next to mine became instant friends challenged by the inability to communicate so well with each other. So then we started touching the sand, handled a shell (she really wanted to learn that word), pointed at the ocean, the swimmers etc and swapped the Chinese and American words. The Chinese word for shell sounds like “ba-a-cker”. I even pulled out my bubbles and let the wind blow the bubbles. Another family liked that their walk on the beach at that stretch was graced by bubbles. But the little Chinese grandmother did not want to blow any bubbles. She kept on looking up the beach toward where her daughter and grandson had gone, in a worried way.
And finally after getting too hot, I motioned to her that I was going to go back swimming. And she smiled me on. Interestingly, now I had someone to watch me. And I went out and floated and danced and jumped through the waves, more fun than the first time.
I got out and sat on my towel again, repeating the word ‘shell’ a number more times and practicing the sound ‘ba-a-cker’ with my new Chinese friend. She continued to peer up the beach though and I was getting too hot to stay on the beach much longer. And I realized that I did not need to take care of this sweet lady and maybe she could benefit from some alone time on the beach listening to the waves. So I motioned to her that I needed to pack up and go, and bowed to her. She waved me goodbye with a very sweet smile. We had bonded in our sign-language sharing of ‘shell-beach-ocean-daughter-son’ in English and Chinese. New friends that will probably never meet again.
And as I was about to walk over the dunes to the parking area, and something told me to turn around and there were the dolphins. One was quite close to shore, as if he was calling me to say, ‘hey, stupid, we’re here!’ I saw him and the others far off, blowing water and diving through the surface of the waves way out there, swimming in circles playing together. Maybe feeding. I could not tell. The one close to shore disappeared out, perhaps to join the rest of the pod. I connected and thanked them. Gave them energy. Waved my hand over the waves and ocean to thank them.
Oh, funny thing. A seagull had also pulled up near the Chinese lady and myself to take a nap. He just dozed about 10 feet from us.
As I’m writing this, a vehicle has just pulled up outside my little motel porch and I hear some women chatting back and forth in Chinese. It sounds like my little Chinese grandmother and I get up from the bed where I ‘m writing to see. Sure enough, she is staying with her daughter and grandson just above me and down the hall. Okay…