QingDao (I) Getting used to it…

So, you wanna know what the first day of travelling is like, hm? Well…I’d like to have a clearer answer, too, but it I haven’t: was quite mixed.

QingDao Airport
QingDao Airport

QD_20070603_144214.jpg: Arriving in QingDao airport was certainly no issue. Contrary to China Eastern’s habbits even on time. Waving off the usual private taxi offers, found the airport bus service quickly. But then I had some time studying the ticket (all Chinese) as the bus didn’t arrive for quite some time…until I figured from the ticket that it runs only every hour. I had to wait 50 minutes, tough luck. I wasn’t exactly sure where to get off but finally asked the bus hostess (yea…all Chinese, not much English around here) and indeed got off extremely well, just 5 minutes walk away from my Youth Hostel.

There, the welcome was quite warm and English. I got my dorm bed and certainly had to finally confirm that the internet pictures are a bit better than reality is. The beds are OK and the locker is so big that even my backpack fits in there. But I don’t know how all the people on the floor (8 rooms with 8 beds) shall in the morning pass through a wash room with just 4 wash basins and 4 showers (2 each for man, 2 each for woman). Well…I’ll see.

I am by far not the only foreigner here. There are now 6 sitting around the simple, but cosy bar in the hostel’s basement as I write this. Didn’t manage yet to get into talks with them, but they all sound in one or the other way native English speakers. And they are all younger, I am not exactly in the Youth Hostel age any longer… πŸ˜‰

And many of them eat some American-style snacks down here in the bar…so as far-travelling as they look like some haven’t yet made friends with the Chinese kitchen. Well…I had a hard time today, too, see later.

So far so expected.

The first tour around QingDao disappointed me a bit, though. I don’t know where the guide book writers found the “intact German legacy” and the “Bavarian appearance” the Chinese are said to take pride in. Have to give it a second chance tomorrow, but today it looked mostly modern Chinese to me, with some very few notable exceptions.

QD_20070603_170747.jpg: St. Michael’s Catholic Church, certainly a relict of German times. But I couldn’t find a way in. And there was next to nobody around it.

QD_20070603_171106.jpg: Some unknown old-style building not far away from the above church.

QD_20070603_182010.jpg: Completely different area, ths is located at the Number 1 Bathing Beach.

QD_20070603_172039.jpg: Talking about beaches…here you see the 2 understandings of “beach” in China: There’s real sand, even reaching into the sea; and in the back we also see stone walls. So my first impression of QingDao (the above patch around the end of ZhongShan Lu ar Number 1 Bathing Beach) was similar to what I experienced once in the Jonson Beach Ressort near Shanghai: Beach means stone ore concrete.

QD_20070603_172600.jpg: ZhanQiao, a stone pier built into the QingDay Bay as tourist attraction. And that was about the only spot where many people gathered today. Other than here QingDao was fairly live-less.

QD_20070603_173834.jpg: If selecting a proper image detail, then the small patches of sand and rock can actually give the illusion of winderful beach πŸ˜‰

QD_20070603_175955.jpg: But QingDao can do a lot better! After a lot of walking (there’s 20 minutes between the previous and this picture) along not so fantastic roads I arrived in this small park. It is marked an AAAA scenic area, the best marks China can offer. (Which also means forget about everyting with less than 3 As, even some AAA areas are already questionable.) This is the entrance to a narrow, but nicely laid out strip of park, rocks, and ways along the coast line.

QD_20070603_180302.jpg: Well…as I said…a strip along the rocky cost line πŸ˜‰

QD_20070603_181442.jpg: Towards its end one of several small pavillons, here now with Number 1 Bathing Beach in its back.

QD_20070603_182153.jpg: Looking back from Beach 6 into sunset above some pagodas atop hills I’ll gonna visit tomorrow.

QD_20070603_180642.jpg: At this beach there were also fun activities possible like here: A girl hanging from a parachute dragged by a speed boat.

QD_20070603_180912.jpg: “Sea Animal Performance Hall and Jelly Fish Dream World”…at maximum I’ll gonna have nightmares from that.

QD_20070603_181714.jpg: At this beach there really were people swimming. The water was clean enough, no doubt. Not sure if this picture actually shows…but I did see swimming people.

I’ll got increasingly hungry. I figured already earlier that a good dinner might become a challenge: I won’t be able to read a text-only Chinese menu. Not only don’t I (yet?) know enough characters, also are the dish names often quite creative, but have not much of a link to the actual food provided, i.e. are of no help. So I have to hope for street food which I can point at and potentially discuss with the cook, up-scale restaurants with English menus, or restaurants with pictures in their menus. Given the many mentionings of QingDao liking street food I was hoping for the first option today, but despite walking lengthy distances I didn’t find any food stalls. Probably I was in the wrong area…but the beaches were said to be lined with such possibilities. Doesn’t seem to be high season yet, there was nothing except for 2 or 3 cars with these ugly and taste-like-nothing sausages.

I finally jumped into a taxi and got myself transferred to the newer eastern part of QingDao. Suddenly I found myself transported back to PuDong: High-rise buildings wherever you look, including top-class hotels. Wide six-lane streets with green belts alongside…modern Chinese. According to Lonely Planet there was somewhere a street of bars. I asked the taxi driver who was quite talkative anyway, but he must have gotten it wrong…at least he coudn’t tell me. I got off somewhere there and walked the rest. I found the street. One restaurant next to the other, category “only Chinese-text menu”, so no immediate choice for me. I was hoping for one cafe/bar mentioned by name in LP, but that one was certainly long gone, at least I couldn’t find it. Well, my LP is 4 years old…that would be a very long life-span for a bar.

I finally ended up in a Korean restaurant, category “menu with pictures”. The waitress spoke baby-Chinese with me πŸ˜€ veeeeery slow, veeeery simple. Well, fine, I thought I am better than that, but the fact that I made a minor mistake proves that it was probably appropriate to speak baby Chinese with me. The minor mistake was about one of the three(! I was hungry!) dishes I ordered along with a bottle of Tsingtao (what else in QingDao). As I could only judge by the pictures I asked what kind of meat that dish was made from and pointed to a picture I liked. The waitress said “ji zu”, or actually more like “jiiii zuuuu”. “Ji” was simple, chicken. But I couldn’t quite guess what “zu” meant. I would have expected “rou”, meat. But she repeated, “ji zu”. Hm…I ordered anyway. And all the Chinese readers will laugh here already I guess… πŸ˜‰

By the time the dish was served I remembered suddenly in which lesson the word was introduced: “zu bu an mo” is a foot massage! Yeah….I got chicken feet! No panic…it’s not the first time. But I never liked them. These were probably even the best I ever had, but they will still not become my favorite. All the other stuff was great, though, and am still entirely filled up. After a stop-over at Carrefour for a pee I took a taxi back to the Youth Hostel.

Today’s Lesson: “Zu” is nothing I like to eat.

Categories: Asia, QingDao

Originally Created: 06/03/2007 03:52:12 PM
Last Edited: 06/03/2007