I once had a disagreement with a librarian. My school assignment was to create a business in the city of our choice, so I decided to set up a mini-golf course in Ocean City, Maryland. When I explained my project, the Librarian could not, for the life of him, understand why I wanted to create my imaginary business there. “Why Ocean City?” he asked. I tried to explain that it was fantastic destination, but he wasn’t convinced.
I chose Ocean City for my imaginary golf course, because that is where my family spent our summer days, year after year. Most New York families rush to the Jersey Shore, but we would head out for Ocean City with the whole extended family. It was no different than staying in a Vermont ski lodge in the winter; we would pack the expansive family – about four to five family units – into two summer condos. The beach was only two blocks away and together with my cousin Cindy, we would ride the often tumultuous waves on our boogie boards, dig for sand crabs as the tide retreated, and build sandcastles and moats. Our annual trips also included long scenic bike rides, nighttime walks on the boardwalk, Dumser’s ice cream, vinegar-soaked fries from Thrasher’s, tubs of Fisher’s caramel popcorn, the purchase of land hermit crabs (a consolation pet for not being allowed to own a dog), fishing off a pontoon boat, crabbing off the dock, and rounds upon rounds of miniature golf.
To the average New Yorker, like the Librarian, it was clear that this slightly rundown beach town had seen more fruitful days. But to the average Chin, this summer visitation was a complete paradise. We knew what to expect – minimal crowds, relaxing times on the beach, and fresh seafood – and didn’t need more than that.
For most foreigners living in Beijing, holidays are the ideal time to get out of the country, or even just the city, and explore fiercer, more exotic lands. But for families seeking summertime fun within the city, there are real treasures to be found. Beijing is chock-full of indoor and outdoor options, and we’ve got the ultimate list to keep your kids cool and entertained.
It doesn’t matter if the city of your choice is up to par for the likes of all the Scrooges of the world, like the Librarian. It’s more about the company we keep. And with an extensive itinerary, any city, like Beijing, can be a premier summer destination for your family.
This is my last editor’s note. It has been an immense pleasure having my voice heard and exploring the city of Beijing with you through these pages. I would especially like to thank my mom for – among other things – documenting my early years, digging up our family photos, and accepting calls past her bedtime to reminisce and ensure the accuracy of these stories. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my childhood; and here’s to you and your children creating your own memories right here in Beijing.
Photos courtesy of Kara Chin
This article originally appeared on p7 of the beijingkids June 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com