Qingdao

Ok, made it back from vacation and after recovering for a bit, am finally back to blog for my followers. It has been quite a week. I went with my friend Lesley to Qingdao (青岛)for our holiday, which is double this year but it was not only National Day but also Mid-Autumn Festival, which is the vacation-family gathering-eating food equivalent to our Thanksgiving. Qingdao is a beach resort city about five hours away by bullet train.
The catch was that on the eve of our leaving, I, in my eternal grace, seriously jammed one of my little toes to the point where it was deep purple and giving me some trouble. Oh wells, suck it up princess and walk it out. It healed within a few days, more or less.
Qingdao was absolutely amazing; the temperature and weather were perfect for beach lounging, our hostel had a great rooftop lounge called the Mamahuhu with real Western style food (including coffee :’) ), we were right next to a market full of seafood, vegetables, moon cakes, etc, there was great shopping, kite flying, and lots of friends to be made. It was near-perfect day after near-perfect day. What more could you ask for than hanging by the ocean, flying a kite and eating seafood on a stick with great friends.
I had also appeared to have entered celebrity status, as not one day went by that I wasn’t asked at least once to pose with people in their pictures, or kept catching people stealthily taking pictures of me. We were even followed by a creeper for a few hours on our first day. I have no idea what it was, because I just don’t feel like I could be the first white girl they’ve seen. But it is a tourist destination, so maybe they come from small rural villages, or maybe it’s that my hair is both blonde and curly, or maybe they just thought we were hilarious as we attempted to get our kite into the air and wanted to document what dorks we were. I even had one woman walk by the restaurant we were eating lunch at, do a double take, pick up her toddler and hold him to the window to see me, and then call over her other child too. Lucky Lesley isn’t white like me, so didn’t have to put up with this so much, although when she told people she was American no one believed her. It is a little funny, their conceptions of what an “American” is. They wouldn’t let it go until she’d finally admit that her grandpa was Chinese.
Of course, since we were in Qingdao, home of Tsingtao beer, we had lots o beer. The best part was that the way you can buy it is from street corner vendors with kegs, and you buy it by the weight and they poor it into a plastic bag for you to take. That’s right, beer in a plastic bag. The epitome of classy. It was many times cheaper that way than from our excellent but slightly pricey Mamahuhu, and we could bring it back to get cups and ice if we ordered dinner. Needless to say, it was a nightly venture of ours.
On National Day we watched on TV a bit of the giant parade in Beijing that I’ve been telling you about. It was… I don’t even know what to say. I have never seen a parade of that scope in my life. There had to be tens of thousands of people involved, all with precision marching and choreography. If you have five minutes, I highly, highly recommend going to youtube and searching for it.
We met some people through friends of friends of a Spaniard who was staying in the same room as us in the hostel who invited us over for spaghetti for the mid-Autumn festival. It was one of the most delicious Western meals I’ve had since arriving, and even had, joy of joys, real cheese. We then wandered down to the beach, lit some lanterns, drank some more beer, and rode three person tandem bikes (whatever they’re called). It was going fantastically until we took a spill and I, either nobly or stupidly, decided to prop the bike up with my body so we wouldn’t all eat pavement. Of course, the bike stayed up but I did not. I injured the big toe on my other foot so badly that I had to limp to the nearest taxi and go back to the hostel to beg for ice. Yes, I do appear to be a bit accident prone. My entire right side is worse for the wear – aside from my not broken but extremely swollen and dark purple big toe, my leg looks like I got bitten by the bike monster because the chain took skin with it when I hit it, and there’s some road rash on my arm and side. Luckily, it was our last night there and in the morning we boarded our train home to Beijing.
Injuries aside, this trip was amazing. I haven’t heard from other people in our program yet, who had gone to Shanghai or inner Mongolian or other places, but I only imagine how jealous they will be when they see our tans and pictures 😛

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3 Responses to “Qingdao”

  1. I wonder if your injuries have anything to do with the drinking of the beer? lol – beer in bags!

    When our Finnish friends went to China, they too were asked a lot to have their blonde-haired blue-eyed children photographed – I think there was some “luck” in it for the Chinese.

  2. Aunt Cecelia Says:

    Sounds like a wonderful holiday, injuries aside! Seashore, sunshine, clean air, actual coffee, and tasty food — all packaged together. I imagine they do not get to see many blonde-headed folks, plus American, all of which holds a lot of novelty for them. Stay well and enjoy. Love, Aunt Cecelia

  3. Well, I for one think it is the movie star quality that you walk around with. Try letting them know that you are a video star and a published writer… interesting to see if they react as crazy as Americans.

    Sorry to tell you but I do believe the toe problems are inherited. Aka: Sissy and Dad, Hills is next but hopefully not as bad as you three. Yes PLEASE make sure you are elevating and switching btwn ice and heat/warmth. Even though you can not wear a cast on you toe, one major problem is blood clots. Keep that blood flowing as best as you can, it is not easy with toes.

    I am so glad to hear how fun your trip was! I can not wait for the pictures. Since you have since some of the parade, it was probably much better to go on a mini vacation. Sounds way more exciting than my trip to Texas!

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