The sea, the sea – a holiday at the beach

I wasn’t sure if I had posted this old piece here. Just found it in my records and thought I should share it….

The end of year vacation is peculiar: it lets one sum up the changes -planetary and otherwise – of a year and muse on the year to come. This year’s finale had to be calm as the year was exhausting; and it had to be close to the sea since I had recently finished reading Iris Murdoch’s fabulous novel, The Sea, The Sea (not to be confused with John Banville’s Booker-winner The Sea, which, as the title suggests, is only half as impressive).

Murdoch’s writing and the right constellation led me to a relatively unknown beach resort at Luzon on the shores of the South China Sea. The area south of the Taiwan Strait all the way up to a point near the equator, including Hainan Island, comprises South China Sea. This was historically the beginning of the ‘oceanic silk route.’ Silk trade during the Han dynasty took place on this route that began at Southern China, crossed India and Ceylon, the Red Sea and finally, like all roads, led to Rome. I wasn’t going for the history, I must admit, I was inspired by Murdoch again, who wrote “All artists dream of a silence which they must enter, as some creatures return to the sea to spawn.” Apparently even non-artists can dream of silence, so forgive my pretensions. […]