In case you didn’t know, Qingdao is a seaside town. I think it’s on the Yellow Sea? Maybe? I don’t know. Anyways, I really like water. I like to hear it lapping on the shore… or babbling in a brook. You know. Water is soothing to me. So Qingdao was a perfect place to go to for a relaxing vacation, right?

I guess it was relaxing sort of overall.

Day one began with my arrival in town.  As I said, my teacher came and picked me up at the train station.  Being the paranoid crazy-pants that I am, I had already figured out a back-up plan in case she forgot about me.  But no, when I stepped off the train and was whisked away in the crush of passengers, I heard “Ai-bee!”

The Catholic church in town

And I was rescued. We were on our way! The first day involved a many hour quest to eat food. I would have been perfectly happy nabbing something on a stick from a street-side vendor, but no.  I had to be treated as a guest!  So we end up eating at this place, after an intensive search.  I may have eaten a sea-slug.  The sea-slug might have been the most identifiable bit of seafood in the bowl.

I just noticed that I’ve been hyphenating a lot of words in this post. Much more than I would have thought that I usually hyphenate.

Anyways. We pretty much just bummed around for the rest of the day. Saw the beach, walked the beach, drank hot chocolate, remembered that it was Halloween, decided to not care.  I am a little bit sad that I missed dressing up for Halloween this year.

The next day my teacher had to actually teach classes so I was on my own! woo! I got my bum in a taxi and drove down to the hou che zhen to get my train ticket home.  It’s good to do these things well in advance, I hear.  Well, after wandering around the train station for about half an hour, I officially determined that they don’t actually sell tickets there.  Or maybe they do sometimes, but not right then.  But, on the way to the station, I remember seeing something that looked vaguely like a train ticket selling kiosk.

Qingdao Rooftops

So, after another 10 minutes or so trying to find the way out of the building, I made it out on the street, found the kiosk, and bought my ticket. All in Chinese! yay me! I had spent a fair bit more on the taxi fare than originally anticipated, so I was very very glad when I had exactly enough for the ticket with 5 jiao left over.  Very providential.

I like alleyways

Then I got lost in the old town for absolutely ages. Qingdao was at one point a German concession, which explains why they have lots and lots of German buildings, and why they have the most famous beer brewery in China (more on that in another post). So I got to see lots and lots of cool buildings including a fancy-pants Catholic church with about sixteen couples taking wedding photos outside. Taking wedding photos is a national pastime in China. Then, just at the height of my complete lostness (I had North and South confused), my Chinese teacher called to say we should have lunch now. Hmmm… Well, I told her I’d do my best to get back. And we were late for lunch again.  And we had a hard time finding lunch. Again. I see a habit forming….

Later that day, we go to the Tsingtao beer factory! But I’ll report on that in another post, I think.

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