Balcony Ticket for One?!
It was a freezing cold Friday afternoon and I was heading to the airport. I was feeling absolutely exhausted. I had not slept well the night before. How could I? I was on my way to Sanya to attend an event that I was not really welcome at, or so I felt at the time. Oh wait, yes, and I did not even have a ticket, so I was probably not even really going to attend the event at all.
This should have been exciting. We have heard so much about Sanya and the “Miss World effect”, but I was less than impressed after my previous visit in 2010, so I was not exactly jumping for joy about the prospect of going back. It was 5 years later, though, so I was willing to give Sanya another chance.
Shanghai (and pretty much everywhere else in China) is quite well known for delays, so I was expecting a two hour delay at the very least, but it seems like I was having good luck. There was no “official” delay. We “boarded” on time, but that involved a bus ride to what felt like a different airport. We had to stand in the freezing cold (3 degrees Celsius) for about 15 minutes. That was not so much fun, especially because there was lots of screaming and pushing involved too. We finally took off about 50 minutes after the scheduled departure time. I was off to Sanya.
Upon my arrival in Sanya, I was relieved as the tropical climate was a welcome break from the brutal Shanghai winter and I was out of the great smog cloud. It was late at night, but the airport was a hive of activity. People were frantically moving around and everyone wanted to be out first. I just wanted to get to my hotel as soon as possible. As I left the airport, I was looking for Miss World billboards, but there was nothing. You would almost think that Miss World was not really taking place there.
The drive to the Crowne Plaza in Sanya City Center took about an hour. I was bored, so I started looking for Miss World info and it seemed that the dress rehearsal was taking place at the very same time. Then, as I glanced out of the window, I suddenly looked up and there they were. Those “trees with the apples” that I had seen on all the photos. Right there in front of me. Brightly lit up. Suddenly I was hit by a wave of excitement. I was in Sanya!!! I was at Miss World 2015! Something was going on outside. There were lights, noise and lots of security guards. (I did not actually know at the time that it was an outdoor event.) How exciting!
Sanya was and still is a massive city. I was surprised the first time, because I had no idea how large and developed it was, but now the city is of course even bigger. My hotel was actually just a short drive away from the Beauty Crown. I checked in and was pleasantly surprised. The hotel was really nice, a bit dated perhaps, but it was super spacious and the room was massive and comfortable. A bargain for that the price I got it at. The lovely and efficient people from Hainan Joy Tours and Travel Limited (www.sunnysanya.com) had done really well. As I headed downstairs to find something to eat, I heard something and turned around. I could see the Beauty Crown Hotels and the words “Miss World 2015” danced on them. It was at this point that I really started hoping that I would be able to get a ticket. It suddenly hit me that it would be totally heartbreaking to have come all the way from Shanghai to have to stand on a balcony to watch graphics on a building at an event that I was desperate to be at the following night.
(TO BE CONTINUED…)