Alright, so, last week I went on a little adventure to Qingdao. We had a break from working, and I felt like I needed to get out of Beijing, so I hopped a train and went to Qingdao.
The choice was easy: Qingdao is the home of my first Chinese friend, my Chinese teacher at Mercer Zhao Yan. Qingdao is also on the coast, so you can see the sea wherever you are! Qingdao also has a more mild climate than Beijing which is nice as it’s starting to get cold here. Also, it’s a little bit geared towards tourists, and only five and a half hours from Beijing, so it seemed like a good first solo jaunt.
So, on Sunday the 31st at 8:30 am, I hopped a train and was on my way. And, although 8:30 may seem like not too bad of a time for a train to leave, I would like to point out that the train left from the south Beijing train station and I live in north Beijing. So I got up at 5:45. If there are Chinese people out practicing Taichi when you get up, you know you are up too early.
And apparently fireworks are a culturally appropriate to celebrate the dawn.
Anyways, I had bought a second class ticket on a D train, so pretty much I was expecting to sit on a bench with as many Chinese people as would fit on it and also that there might be chickens in the overhead compartments. You know. Second class travel. But apparently second class on a D train is perfectly nice. Think airplane seats with substantially more leg room. I can’t imagine what first class is like.
Yeah anyways. I blundered my way around the train station ’til I found the appropriate place to board my train, boarded, found my seat, etc. I was sitting next to this older Chinese woman (maybe 50s-60s? hard to tell).
She was absolutely fascinated by my knitting. I’m making a cardigan and it’s got ribbing, a tiny bit of cabling action and I’m making it on circular needles. Right now I’m working on the sleeves. I couldn’t understand what she was so interested in. I mean, Chinese ladies knit all the time, sometimes old men do too. I thought it’s mostly because I’m young and foreign, or maybe because of the circular needles which, even though I have definitely seen them for sale in a Chinese knitting shop, no one seems to have ever seen before.
But no. It’s because I knit continental style. I found this out as, after admiring my technique (kuai! fast!), and my little cables on the front, the lady takes up my knitting and knits some stitches Chinese style. Apparently people here knit with the loose yarn on their right hands instead of left and twirl it around all backwards and stuff or something. I couldn’t really imitate what she was doing. It bears more study.
So that was fun.
What else happened on the train? Not much. A pleasant and uneventful journey for the most part.
I arrived in Qingdao and my friend came and picked me up at the train station.
Next…. Stepping out in Qingdao proper.