When we reached the coast road, the stormfront was already louring low over the horizon, shrouding the islets, drawing its curtains of rain across the view. Only the white wakes of the hydrofoils en route to Macau still caught the last glints of sun, streamers of swansdown trailing the SeaCats, brilliant white against the grey. And once on the beach, the dark ramparts stretched in an arc across the bay, from one headland to the other. Black cormorants skimmed the yellow boomline as it sea-serpented over the contours of the waves at the perimeter of the swimming area. Cantonese boys somersaulted into the surf. The breakers were slate grey now, a crazed ancient mirror whose silver had tarnished almost to black. Acid-yellow blooms flared against the waxen foliage of the undergrowth where it grew down to the shore.
Lilla, the world’s gutsiest swimmer, changed into her bikini and plunged straight in, taking care only to keep her contact lenses clear of the brine. I watched her head, its rich trail of brunette ringlets weaving like kelp, bobbing and dipping between the crests and troughs.
Within minutes, it had all blown over, and the few spots of rain gave way once more to patches of blue and intense sun on the golden sand.