A sea-side view interrupted by a ninja
We took a trip (June 16) to a city called Qingdao, a sea-side city that housed the brewery for the most popular beer in China, Tsingtao, so naturally I was excited to go!
It was about a 3 ½-hour bus ride, so as we traveled I read a book, napped and thought about what we'd do and see when we arrived.
I had a short conversation with Dr. (Jing) Luo and Dr. (Jim) Pomfret about Qingdoa and its history.
The city has a rather interesting history. From what I understand, it was initially owned by China, then taken over by Germany and Japan respectively, until China once again regained ownership of it for good (for now anyway).
The place we went to lunch was rather unique compared to some of the other places. There was a large common eating area, as opposed to some other places where we've had isolated areas or rooms, and there was a lot of shouting and cheering in the eating area.
I think the Tsingtao may have been flowing a little early at that place!
The food served consisted of more seafood than our meals normally do. There was some really good shrimp. One thing that's thrown me off since I've been in China is the fact that there usually aren't cold drinks served with dinner.
I've gotten so used to eating food with a cold glass of water that it's now difficult to eat without it. Hot tea is normally served instead, which I can deal with, but in this particular restaurant they weren't serving any.
We tried a few different times to request tea, but our attempts were in vain. It's as if the people there were even unaware of what a cup was! We had a good laugh about it.
May 4th in June?
After lunch we took a short bus ride to May 4th square. This was once a sight of protest for the people of Qingdao, where many of them gathered to express their desire for China to reclaim the city.
It’s really cool features are a really beautiful setting of tall buildings that frame the seaside with shops, kites, and a really cool sculpture that surround. We spent some time walking around the shops, haggling with the salespeople, and getting some cool gifts.
I got a Tsingdao bottle opener, a few elephant figurine things, and some other interesting gifts. After we did that, we met up and took some pictures then we were heading to the beach!
There were a lot of European (German) style houses in the area. They were very beautiful. We walked to some of the rocks that bordered the sea side and captured some really wonderful pictures there.
I even bought a handmade hammock from this man who was stitching them up right by the beach. I love hammocks!
The beach was very nice to see, although we didn't get to swim in the water itself. We really enjoyed the weather and the air in Qingdao. I might have mentioned the area I come from is an extremely low populous area that remain unaffected by the bustle of cars and buses that contribute to pollution.
The air is crisp and clean, and I breath it in deeply each day, yet unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the area of Zibo where we stayed most of our trip. When I got out of the van the very first day we arrived it was instantly noticeable.
I felt almost as if I could only fill my lungs halfway up with the air that hung heavy in the atmosphere of the place. I feel bad for the people who have lived there their entire lives and have no idea what clean air is like.
I also wonder how many years have been taken off of my life for breathing in the air for a month! (Only kidding...sort of). Regardless, the air in Qingdao was noticeably cleaner than it was in Zibo.
It seems the ocean breeze helped keep things fresh. The weather was also a lot more forgiving. It was much less humid and muggy than in Zibo.
After enjoying the beach and its beautiful weather, we went to visit the governor's mansion. Many famous people in China's history stayed there for periods of time, including Mao Zedong. I saw the bed where he slept!
It was obviously a very beautiful building, but I couldn't get over how European it looked. I didn't expect to come to China and see architecture like that which was consistent throughout the entire city. It makes sense considering Qingdao's history.
I just still found it rather odd. We walked and saw most of the mansion and got one of our classic group photos out in front. We always drop our cameras on whatever unfortunate tour guide that happens to be guiding us that day and force them to take upwards of 10 photos for us.
That day her name was Lin. She was a real sweetheart for putting up with us! It's always a tedious and comical process, but I'm sure everyone will enjoy the pictures.
We got on the bus and drove to a pier area in a different part of the city. We walked out and took in the sights. It was a really good opportunity for some pictures of the city and some of the interesting things that surrounded the bay.
There were remnants of the 2008 Olympics across the bay. Some of the rings lasted since they hosted boat races or something of that nature in Qingdao.
As we walked out Jake (MacLean) got approached by a man wearing some sort of ninja outfit. He took some really funny pictures with the guy in attack poses, but then quickly realized this guy wanted money for the pictures.
Of course he gave him a few yuan (Jake's such a friendly fellow!)
We walked a bit further out and Morey (Longo) and I realized they offered boat and jet ski rides. We seriously toyed with the idea of renting one for an hour so.
It really wasn't expensive at all. Maybe 100 yuan for two people for an hour of riding. We ended up having to say no. Next time, Morey!
We made it to the end of the pier and walked around the area. There was a small island-like area across from the pier, and I joked with Deanna (Barnes) and Qiaoqi that there was buried treasure out there.
From an aerial view the pier was an arrow leading directly to that island. I'm coming back next year with a big shovel and some high hopes!
— Dan Copes, a junior health sciences major