A very beautiful side of China
Qingdao is an old European inspired seaport located in the most eastern portion of the Shandong province. It took around four hours to drive from Zibo to Qingdao with a small stop off in the middle at a service plaza.
Chinese service stations are very similar to ones in the states with only minor differences like the types of food they serve. We ate then went to the beach, where the temperature was just perfect with a great breeze all along the coast.
Qingdao has a sort of boardwalk; but it’s not set up overlooking a nice beach or anything, it’s just next to a harbor with a bunch of vendors all selling the same stuff. I managed to pick up an expensive Tag Heuer watch for less than $40 American, although it’s most likely a fake similar to a Louis Vuitton wallet I bought a few days ago in Zibo for a couple bucks.
In the park close to the boardwalk we saw many people flying a bunch of different kites. We visited a nearby old section of town built around the time of Japanese occupation, which has been voted the most beautiful town in China.
It’s European and Japanese architecture set it apart from anywhere else in China, and it felt familiar as if I was in an old part of my own town. On our walk through the streets, we found a few couples in wedding clothes getting their pictures taken. We were told this area is especially popular for wedding photos, because of the elegant beauty of it all.
Finally a Pacific view
Qingdao is the first place I’ve ever been to on the Pacific Ocean. I was so happy to finally see it from the shore with my own eyes. I visit the beaches along the Atlantic on the east coast of America all the time, but there is something special to me about the Pacific.
It’s just so much bigger with different sea life and different qualities. The seaside is very rocky with very thin strips of sand pressed against the coastline. We unfortunately were unable to spend a lot of time on the beach, but in reality it was too cold to really enjoy the water.
We visited a few local places that night and bought some souvenirs that probably won’t make it back to the states with us, like Ninja Stars and other things; but the prices were so inexpensive it really doesn’t matter.
We ended up having a great time in Qingdao from the spiced squid on a stick to the 400-Yuan Pizza Hut diner. The food in Qingdao has been the best in China so far.
We visited a famous peer where you could rent jet skis and boats for something like $20 American for more than an hour, which we would’ve done, given more time and warmer weather.
The last place we visited was the local aquarium and museum that had live sharks and big fish in glass, where anyone could easily touch them. Although there were signs posted nobody was there to deter you from touching full sized lemon sharks and other animals; something you would never see at a big zoo in the states.
The aquarium ended up being really nice with huge fish tanks full of large rays and sea turtles. They even had a water show in the same tanks as sharks and large fish, where actors would swim in mermaid costumes and act out as if they were saving an overboard sailor.
I really enjoyed Qingdao the air quality was so much nicer than inland China and so was the weather. There was much more to do, and it was much cleaner than any other place we’ve been so far.
— Morris Longo, a sophomore business management major