Sun & Surf

Trip Start Aug 19, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
China Community Art And Culture Qingdao
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Qingdao Aquarium

Flag of China  , Shandong,
Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It didn't all begin well ....

So on my last voyage, a business trip for a work conference in Nanjing, I had a bit of a snafu.  Actually the whole trip was one long, aggravating exercise in futility and misery, but I will allow you to read that truncated story yourself in the previous entrance.  This trip started just fine but I had a similar blip on the radar in the very beginning.  I awakened in plenty of time to make sure every thing was in order, then zombie walked my way down to the Guatemalans flat to wait for them to be ready.  We set off relatively the same time, but as Jose had to hobble on his crutches and they'd had a family breakfast, I decided to stop off at McD's for a breakfast sandwich.  No problem right?  There are like 5 buses that'll take you to the central train station from literally right in front of the McD's.  I picked one of the wrong ones.

As we picked up speed towards what I knew was the last stop before the station I fought valiantly down to the first level of the double decker and almost made it off, except for an old Chinese woman, directly in front of the door, stuck in place like a fence post.  Now I could have bowled her over, but I was still carrying a coffee.  So instead we go over about a half mile long over pass above the train yard.

After getting off on the other side, catching a bus back across, and running flat out for 4 blocks (had to ditch the coffee at that point, and the sandwich was in the backpack)  I literally ran into the station, up the escalator, down to the platform, and onto the train with around 45 seconds to spare.  MADE IT!  Then a relaxing 2.5 hour ride.

 I really didn't think that I'd ever come to a place in China where I was willing or even eager to get into the ocean.  I've seen so many polluted rivers and been living in a smoggy haze for 9 months that has jaded me just as surely as finding the girl of your dreams only to discover she was using you for a green card (No...that hasn't happened to me)  In any case, after staying in Jinan for some time, and seeing only Beijing and Nanjing as comparative cities (and Hefei, which I'm moving to) I was relieved and enlivened when I arrived in Qingdao.  

 Now I understand perfectly why the people in Jinan are jealous of those in Qingdao.  When you get here, you can almost immediately feel the lovely cool ocean breeze.  This city is far enough north to the point where though not frigid it also escapes the blistering hot, humid weather that engulfs most of China through out the middle and late summer.  

The train station, as opposed to that of Jinan, is right at the heart of things, and finidng the right bus was easy.  Another nice thing is all the little old ladies selling city maps at the station gates.  Now normally I hate hawkers, but NOT when they're hawking some thing usefeul, and for less than a dollar (5 yuan to be exact, don't pay more).  

--------------------One bit of trouble you may see is that while the maps have some English on them and plenty of pinyin, the numbers of buses are very hard to read.  At first it seems like a relief, you see so many numbers in the places you want to go, but beware, the maps do NOT show where those buses turn off, nor which direction they are traveling on their routes.  Of course this won't kill your trip, if you get on the wrong way you can simply ride around.  However it may take awhile, so when you're examining a map make sure the number is both where you're getting on and where you're getting off.  And even by Chinese standards they drive like banshees. --------------------------

 So we were on our way, and although the hotel Jose had booked for his family was a bit rich for my tastes, I decided it was worth splurging to have a nice time.  After all most of the time i stay in the cheapest places, avoid the tourist traps, generally get into sketchy situations and end up staying in dumps.  Cheap and memorable, yes, relaxing and enjoyable, not always.  So I stayed here in this upscale joint and I've been happy with my decision.  

I was however, reminded about how I USED to spend so much freakin' money in the US.  Here I just about always use cash and for this hotel I used plastic.  It makes a great difference when you have to hand over that many bills, versus just signing your name.

In any case, beaches No.1,2,and 3 are wonderful, but for laying around on the sand in the sun No. 3 is the best.  Also, the Qingdao Aquarium costs Y120 for a day pass, but that gets you into all the attractions, and if you only pay the Y40 cost for the "aquarium" itself you WILL be disappointed.  The "aquarium" is a 70 year old building not capable of housing much, but it you pay the extra you find what would equate to a Sea World wannnabe in several buildings.  The rest of the facility is MUCH larger than the simple "aquarium" and if you're going to go at all do the whole thing.

The walk down the entire beach is great, especially if you have good weather.  Happen to be a sea food addict?  I'm not, so I found plenty of things to be grossed out by seeing people eating them, but you can't argue with the freshness when they'll pull it out live and cook it for you.  This is a seafood town.

Down the coast you can find the Naval Museum, which I will write about tomorrow after I visit it =]

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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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