Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Back Home

So I'm back now, as you probably know. Have been for about a week. It's kind of a bittersweet feeling. I'm really happy to see friends and family again, but I miss China so much. My semester there was absolutely the best four months of my life, and I'm getting cheesy here, but during those four months I made so many amazing friends, American and Chinese, and learned so much about myself. To think that I almost didn't go. Anyway enough of my reflective rambling, I have more pictures that, in the intense stress of finals week, i didn't get a chance to post.

May 1st is a national holiday in China, so we got that day off of classes. Nearly everyone planned a trip that weekend, and my friends and I decided to go to Qingdao, home of the famous Chinese beer "TsingTao" which is actually Qingdao spelled with a stupid chinese romanization system that doesn't make sense to me...I will not rant here. Anyway, we bought train tickets pretty early, thinking we were getting a head start on the holiday rush. But apparently I don't understand Chinese very well (surprise) and ended up getting us tickets for thursday at 7am instead of 7pm. That's what I get for not bringing along a Chinese friend. Trying to switch out the ticket (once I realized the time was wrong, the day before we left) was futile, and the train ticket lady was already fed up with me, so hooray for an extra long weekend! Qing dao is a pretty city on the coast south of Beijing. It's where they had the sailboat competition for the olympics and, as I mentioned earlier, where they brew TingTao beer. Here are some pictures:
We found this amazing hostel that was literally across the street from the beach. The guy who owns it is a friend of TBC (my study abroad program) so he gave us a special rate. Our room was huge and so comfortable with a great view.
The view from our window.
The hostel was right above this café, owned by the same people.
This is the beach when we first arrived. Nice and peaceful, right? Just wait.

Qingdao used to be a German colony, so a lot of the old houses look very European.
I love the guy in the business suit, just chilling on a rock by the ocean.

Apparently May 1st is a big wedding day in Qingdao...
A fake castle! Yay! I guess Sun Yat-sen stayed here for a while.Ridiculous statues outside the castle.

Qingdao brewery. For the May 1st holiday, our hostel was offering guided tours of qingdao that were free except for admission fees, so that's how we ended up at the brewery.

I think this might be my favorite China sign.

I love the little girl posing in front of the wall o' beer.

Hooray for cartoon characters endorsing alcoholic beverages.Everyone loves a kid in a bubble.
Kites on the beach, plus a weird ring rainbow.
And hello Chinese holiday. Remember that quiet peaceful beach? That beach is gone and it has been replaced by thousands of Chinese tourists.

And where there are Chinese tourists, there are Chinese tourists who want pictures with white people. This guy bribed us with ice cream. I was okay with that.
And, once again, we become a tourist attraction.
Octopus on a stick! It tastes about as disgusting as it sounds.
We went to this huge underwater exhibit with high expectations. It was a little bit of a let down. But they had some fun examples of bad taxidermy.

And here is proof that some Chinese tourists will take pictures in front of anything, like this giant paper mâché sperm whale.

This was the conveyor belt part of the aquarium.
Fin Qingdao.

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