YanTai (I) what a cool hotel…location

YanTai – 烟台

Before talking about YanTai we have to get there… At the morning I was still in QingDao. And I got up a bit “late”, comparing to my previous days: At 8am only. That was partly due to a longer evening in the hostel’s bar. As I had done my homework already in the evening at the SPR Coffee I could upon returning to the hostel just grab a beer and join some other backpackers at the large table. I was probably the one with the best Chinese knowledge, and my LaoShan experience on that very day could even serve a Spanish, who wanted to do the trip today. (Although I doubt he did…when I finally left the hostel he was still nibbling his breakfast-fruit-salat, at a time I was already well under way to LaoShan the day before.) But all other people, 3 different groups in total, where all at the end of their multi-month-long travel. One UK couple travelled no less than 16 months in one go! Now guys, no complains any longer about my 3 months, please! 😉

The Spanish guy who looks like Jesus had organized for some local red wine. I could tell from the Chinese label that it was in fact grown on the slopes of LaoShan. Didn’t even know that there are vineyards. And it was OK a wine! He got it recommended in a shop. Better than all the Great Wall stuff I had drunken before. And the German had finally to notice that I was German before but confirmed he had not thought me German. Unbelievable…I fooled a German with my English…

With all my stuff I walked in the morning after another “Swiss” breakfast down-town to catch a bus to YanTai. At a last stop at the beach an old lady made friend with me 😉 Originally, she wanted to sell me a boat ride around the bay. But I instisted that I had seen QingDao for three days now and that I am about to leave. Alll that in a weird mixture of English and Chinese. She could exactly as much English as to sell her stuff, but that sounded surprisingly good! She showed me various flyers she had collected in a plastic bag for thousands of sights and activities in QingDao, which I all did not want to do. One of them she asked me to read to her: It was French! Well…I did my best. So if any French in the future get terrible French invitations to the QingDao attractions…blame me! Some more people gathered around us and seemingly wanted to have a picture with me. No problem, but when I turned around the small child supposed to be on the picture with me ran away. 🙁 If the next generation of QingDao people aren’t as friendly to foreigners as the current..well….then blame me, too.

I found bus station and the bus without much trouble. It started quickly, but in a small 20-seater bus. I had hoped for a long big bus. And it should take some 4 hours. We started off with just 2 guests, but after some more stop at other long-distance bus stations around QingDao there were some 10 people. I knew we would really start (after about an hour) when the request came to close all windows (as the air con was switched on). Even I understood that through my iPod music, while the old local couple behind me needed 2 reminders by the driver :))

We certainly picked up more people on the way, who just flagged down the bus. That I am used to and have done myself already. News was that apparently also courier post is handled that way: Some guys flag down the bus, throw in a parcel with a small Yuan note, and off we go. Seems to work…

QD_20070606_111706.jpg: A 10 minute self-time picture on the bus 😉

QD_20070606_134640.jpg: While the landscape moved passed, sometimes interrupted with some small towns and villages.

Arriving in YanTai I had no hotel reserved. There were one or two options from Lonely Planet. But originally I had just planned to stroll through the main streets and step into any place looking OK. But why bother at all? The problem was certainly solved the Chinese way again: At the bus stop I briefly rested to get my luggage organized and myself oriented by the help of LP. Soon gathered various people around me throwing options at me. The one lady who finally won the battle had a flyer with good looking pictures (which I know can and often do lie, but it is at least a better guidance than just words of passers-by). And apparently the location was next to ideal, the price sounded also OK (180 RMB for the night). Certainly, a taxi was already waiting for the crowd to dissolve and off we were…the lady with me guiding the taxi driver. Also, she spoke a bit of English. That proved useful as the hotel staff didn’t at all and was in fact a bit nervous about that LaoWai entering their small place. Actually, when the taxi turned the last two times I got a bit nervious, too….this is where we ended up:

QD_20070606_165536.jpg: My hotel in a small side street among a collection of old tattered houses. But the street was still clean and didn’t smell more than elsewhere. The room is highly simplistic, but has a bed, a private bath, and a TV as the proud owners had to show off to me right away. I accepted. And the first thing back into my room was to star up my laptop and reserve a hotel in DaLian via a budget hotel site. The one I picked costs a little more (270 RMB), but I thought I deserve that for 3 days. It promises free high-speed internet connection and a perfect down-town DaLian location.

[Before now arguing about the small price and why I am so picky: Please consider that I have to pay hotels/hostels 30 days a month. And 300 RMB each day of the month sums up to roughly 1,000 EUR!]

QD_20070606_154035.jpg: And that’s where I am in a 2 minute walk: The sea side shore of YanTai. In neighbourhood of the Tourist Information, who helped me with a map and a booklet with general information about YanTai in English—all for free! They also helped me with ferry info to DaLian where I learned that the ferry goes in the evening over-night only. As YanTai didn’t sound so promising I had hoped to get to DaLian in the course of tomorrow. Well…now I’m stuck here for basically another day until I can board the ferry tomorrow evening at 10pm or so. I called up my just reserved hotel to move my reservation by one day (which was a bit funny an English-Chinese mixture conversation, but I believe we got it right in the end).

QD_20070606_160644.jpg: Right behind the Tourist Information is DaLian’s main tourist attraction, which is really a nice sight: YanTai Shan (烟台山, hm, AAA only actually).

QD_20070606_161152.jpg: The hill is a museum of well-preserved western-style architecture, mainly created by the British, which open YanTai as a treaty port (similar to what happened to QingDao by the Germans). One house now is a museum (see picture before), which might even be interesting, if only you can read Chinese.

QD_20070606_163139.jpg: Tja, hm, and that’s what’s left of the German consulate…great, guys, really, thank you, I feel touched…

QD_20070606_161842.jpg: A sign of YanTai Stone. Eh…why making a pictre of a sign? Well, I do that quite often to have the information handy when writing these articles, but don’t post everything. Interesting here is the confusion about the syllable “Yan”, which probably might slip a couple of foreigner’s attention: The sign says the hill was orignally named “YanTaiShan” due to many swallows (“Yan”, but character 燕) often resting here, which now became a symbol for YanTai. But I double-checked the ticket: YanTaiShan is written 烟台山, not 燕台山.

QD_20070606_161851.jpg: The Chinese sign mentions both ways of writing, but I am unable to translate right now if there is any conscious connection between them. Any Chinese, please help! 😉

The actual stone with the poem described in the sign I have somehow not found :-S

QD_20070606_162004.jpg: This is the more likely reason why YanTai is called 烟台: It is a “Smoke Platform”, i.e. a signalling place, using smoke signals to relay information or warn surrouding places of danger. You can still see the fire (火) within 烟, which is the same character used for smoking (cigarettes). Now the smoke signals in YanTai are replaced by a light house.

QD_20070606_163900.jpg: “Connected Hearts Bridge”. I didn’t see this bridge serving any practical sense except for lovers hanging locked-together hearts over its cables. Somewhere it was mentioned that also wedding couple choose YanTaiShan…probably for posing pictures on this small bridge.

QD_20070606_163939.jpg: A pavillion at the edge of the park. A bit tattered, but nicely located. If now somebody would serve tea I would have rested there…

QD_20070606_164155.jpg: A way along thesides of the park. (Isn’t there a good translation for German “Allee”?)

QD_20070606_165333.jpg: Outside the park, actually in an area of these tattered houses in the neighbourhood of my hotel, surrounded by a construction fence, so in immediate danger of being destroyed. I catched sight of roman letters, which is a very rare sight here. And then tried to decipher them: I believe they form the English words “SING EAT”. Maybe a bar in the old days of YanTai?

Oh was I hungry now… After strolling the streets I finally entered a clean-looking place, which offered some kind of noodles. The menu was quite short, which made it simpler for me as I could read nearly everything of the 4 types of noodles. 2 dishes of cold vegetables on top, a bottle of local beer. And the noodles for so big…I am still full like rarely before, adding my second coffee on top of it at UBC. The dinner, including beer, was just 12 RMB. Each Coffee Latte here is 25…

P.S. for the attentive: It is certainly a mistake that all pictures are pre-fixed with “QD”. Should be “YT”. But that I don’t change now…

Today’s Lesson: There’s always a way, but preparation never hurts.

Categories: Asia, YanTai

Originally Created: 06/06/2007 01:44:30 PM
Last Edited: 06/06/2007