QingDao is a city on the Yellow Sea on the east coast of China (wiki info here!) that we went to visit after Beijing. It felt smaller and more clustered than Beijing, but the amount of people here was overwhelming. Traffic was pretty bad pretty much anytime during daylight hours, and the roads were as we say, a parking lot most of the time.
It was the site of some of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games (sailing, etc.). So far it has been my favorite Chinese city because it is spread out around a mountain on the sea, and that is pretty much all it takes for me to love a city (think Koriko, the port city in Kiki’s Delivery Service). <3
We took a train to QingDao, which was a lot of fun because we were sitting together in reserved seats that were definitely, most definitely ours. This was were I began photographing every single thing I ate. Lunchtime was fatty pork with seaweed, an egg, something spicy, and rice in this little plastic tray they heated up for me.
Anyway, we could relax and look out at the country side, which for the longest time was very very foggy. It took a while for the fog to lift a little bit, but even in QingDao it was pretty foggy (or smoggy?).
We were picked up from the train station by Earnestine’s uncle’s former student named Kai, who is from QingDao, and is currently on his break from school (I think?) in Beijing. I think he is pursuing a higher degree there, but also working because he often talks about work trips to Shanghai, etc. He is doing something in exercise science, and worked the Beijing Olympic Games with Earnestine’s uncle. Some of his favorites included Dean Martin, Koby Bryant, and Oolong tea. He was an interesting guy with lots of interesting mannerisms, and fun to spend time with (which was a good thing since we basically spent our entire time with him). He drove us everywhere and basically filled us to the brims with food (and beer).
So Kai picked us up from the train station, and then we went straight to the beach, which was really nice (I really love seeing mountains and water together).
|You can see how hazy it was!|
We went to some other places, walked around, and then we met up with his friend for dinner. This was the first of many reservations that Kai would make during our stay in QingDao, and the places only got fancier from here.
First they showed you all of the fish and ingredients raw, before being cooked:
During this dinner, I had octopus, and these little black dumplings that are black because squid ink is mixed with the dough (and they apparently have anti-cancer properties). The white dumplings are the fish dumplings that were being made in that photo above. Then the green stuff on the left plate is seaweed. (And of course, beer in my glass. I think it was called Tsingtao beer, named after the historical name for the city itself, although I am not sure if this was the beer we had that night.)
Then we tagged along as Kai dropped off his friend, and picked up two other girls named Emily and Lulu (?). Together, we went to the beach at night, where Earnestine told us that this was actually a blind date with one of the girls, and we spent the rest of the night keeping to ourselves and rooting for Kai (with ourselves of course).
We then headed to the marina that was used for the Olympic games, and walked around some more. It was really beautiful! We could see the city sky line across the marina, and all the buildings lit up in different themed photos. We even saw the Olympic rings, which was really kind of special!
|Blurry because it was nighttime but hehe!|
And then, we ended the night with “more beer”.
The next day in QingDao was so full of food, stories, and craziness that it deserves a post of its own. Coming right up!