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Monday, June 24, 2013

Mass

On the second Sunday we finally had a plan in place to go to an actual Catholic Mass. After discovering that the German cathedral was “closed for reservations” for the third year in a row, we were all concerned we would be unable to discover another Catholic church. Rob, our TA student who had already been to Qingdao and was in two cohorts above us, spent the entire week figuring out how we would be able to go to Mass. He eventually discovered a small church an unknown distance away on bus that we would try out that morning. What time it began was a mystery, so we agreed to begin our journey early in the day.

We all rose at six and headed to the bus stop around six forty-five. Arriving there at seven, we boarded the 227 bus and began the long journey to the church. After reading the readings in English on our phones, we prepared for Mass by saying a group rosary and kept going towards our unknown destination. After about an hour, Robb noticed the correct bus stop and told us to get off the bus.

Our bus stop was in a very poor neighborhood of Qingdao, but not an especially dangerous one. The buildings were evidently low-income, but any evidence of crime or destruction was absent. We began walking along a path that Robb’s military mind followed precisely. After another twenty minutes, we reached our destination still unsure of when the Mass actually began.

The church lied hidden between the backs of multiple buildings in a small courtyard adorned with a few trees. When we arrived, we realized we arrived late, as the readings had already begun to take place. Regardless of us being in the back, people began turning around to look at us, with man going so far as to “leave for the restroom” in order to snap a few photographs of us. After the readings, and a long detailed homily (with me very confused due to my as-of-then, complete lack of knowledge on Chinese religious words), the congregation began to sing many different detailed songs and chants. It became evident that everything from the Nicene Creed to the Our Father was sung. This beautiful chant with their almost haunting melodies proved especially moving and made this small building in the middle of the big city even more homely.

When Mass ended, we met most of the congregation and exchanged numbers with a priest and deacon. Afterwards, we got onto the bus again and headed towards a lunch destination where we could feast. We stumbled upon a Korean restaurant entitled, in English, “Korean Restaurant.” Inside the ambiance was fantastic, and the food was delicious. Furthermore, the restaurant provided free wifi, which allowed for checking the internet after more than four days without it.


We returned afterwards and began the day with studying and preparing for the coming week. 

While this happened the evening before Mass, well two evenings before, ascending the large structure we had found previously on our first adventure turned out extra rewarding as we discovered an additional two stories worth of climbing via exterior ladders. While some of my classmates had too much of a healthy fear of heights to surmount these obstacles, getting to the top provided a most spectacular view of the city. 
Moreover, we also found a hollowed out interior that we descended into in order to explore. This new area was quite peaceful and allowed for cacophonous echoes whenever voices escalated.

And as we began our descent, we realized daylight would be nice with the treacherous ladders. Luckily, I captured a shot of the sunset right before reaching the bottom.

Hidden away in an unforgotten corner of a poor neighborhood in Qingdao, this church was particularly beautiful, especially with the lovely voices of the congregation, which either sung or chanted everything save the readings and homily.

The interior of the church. Note: the responsorial psalm can be  seen on the blackboard.

Returning home, we couldn't help but notice the delectable advertisement for peas, red beans, and whit-stuff ice cream.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Qingdao? Is that where they make Tsingtao? ...like the beer

A week into the trip and our first week of class has been completed along with a plethora of cultural activities each afternoon. Today began with an early alarm set for seven am (as most Saturday mornings are) and a Skype call with my parentals. Today was the first weekend activity with the appropriate tour of the Tsingtao beer factory, which of course, is brewed right here in Qingdao. After the discussion, my classmates and I all prepared to depart from our ghetto, wherein we lived, and headed towards the international students building's parking lot adjacent to our classrooms. Once there we discovered an additional activity had been graciously awarded to us: the tour of the longest bridge over water. Qingdao's bridge across the. Taking an estimated forty minutes each way my classmates and I were expectedly ecstatic for our adventure. This bridge beat out the causeway in length around six years ago. After driving thirty minutes, including passing the Qingdao brewery longingly, we arrived at the bridge and began the wonderful two hour journey across the bridge and then back. I'm actually currently on the bridge now. About ten minutes into it, and only a twelfth of the way, I've decided I would much rather be sleeping right now. So it's time to take a nap. I'll let you all know if anything else exciting happens, but I hope just to return back to the main part of Qingdao and go tour the factory.

After awaking from the very boring bridge ride and long drive back to the factory, we entered the Tsingtao brewery factory and were greeted to a very well-orchestrated tour. The tour began at a side building hosting a collection of fun facts about the Tsingtao brewery along with most of its history from German formation to Japanese occupation to its current standing as the greatest, most exported beer offered in China. The museum tour was especially informative, with different interesting tidbits of information including ancient advertisements, a very modern Tsingtao dance team, and selections of beer bottles from throughout history’s many municipalities.

After completing the tour of the informative museum house, we moved outside and headed to the actual brewery where the Germans used to experiment and brew this unique lager. After surmounting multiple ladders, stairwells, and escalators, we made our way towards the current day brewing facility. After getting the chance to resemble farm animals by eating handful of hops or hobs (I am still unclear on what it is that makes the beer), we exited the building and passed the beer fountain physically separating the old brewery (which essentially was an extension of the previous museum) from the modern Tsingtao manufacturing facility.

Manufacturing...now that is beautiful

Ultraviolet light destroys impurities...the things one knows in Chinese

The actual manufacturing brewery facility showcased glossy, metallic walls and piping. We walked down the cold hallways listening to the chirping of our tour guide, wherein we could only understand a few words including the ubiquitous 啤酒 (pi2jiu3 = beer). For all we know, our guide could have revealed all of the inner secrets of the Tsingtao brewing processes; however, we walked through the facility watching the golden brew pour into the emerald bottles along endless conveyor belts and intricate barrels.

After walking past the construction site of all the various beers, we descended upon another collection of Star Trek-esque escalators towards a new section of the factory. We found ourselves within a tavern equipped with wooden paneled walls, Michael Scott St. Paul’s Girl neon light shining along many corners, and special Tsingtao brewery honey-roasted peanuts along with the “raw” Tsingtao beer. Since the concept behind the raw was explained in Chinese, I did not fully grasp the entire meaning behind the “rawness” of the brew. After consuming our complimentary glasses of what I discovered was the taste of beer, we descended to the next area of the facility.

We found ourselves in a great hall, illuminated by tall, opaque windows and fluorescence. Along the walls, many intricate, expensive rarities were being sold to whoever had a substantial enough wallet to buy large Qing dynasty Jade and ancient calligraphy tapestries. After making our way past the riches of the East and stealing a few photographs, we made our way to the final attraction: an “all-you-can-drink” Tsingtao beer bar. (The “all-you-can-drink” clause equated to around six pitchers per group, much to the disappointment of my classmates). Afterwards, we prepared to exit when we discovered a most intriguing advertisement.




So beautiful


Ecstatic, we each partook in purchasing our share of ice-cream, and the taste was eloquently fantastic and just 不可思议 (bu4ke3si1yi4 = unbelievable). Coupled with the chocolate, true dairy, and sugary cone, the ice-cream proved delectable!




And we board the bridge longer than the Causeway

We excitedly spend fifty minutes on a bus for no reason other than to cross over 
Panorama shot of the brewery entrance

Matthew with good ole Dionysus

A description on ye ole Dionysus

Facts about Tsingtao beer

The three delicacies of Qingdao. Tsingtao beer, Gala, and the Beach

Outside of the actual brewery...not the museum section.

Some of the original German facilities

Beer fountain...

All the different types of Tsingtao beer

The Tasting Area

The wonderful taste of honey roasted peanuts...and the beer was good too I guess



Guide Alice

The day after meeting our tutors—and actually after my first tutoring session come to think of it, my classmate Will approached me with a most interesting proposition. Will is one of our group’s coolest characters. Coming from deep within Mississippi, equipped with an extreme Mississippi accent, Will is one of our most knowledgeable classmates and is adept with computer processes, while at the same time being just a normal college student. I had just returned to my room, when Will and Garrett approached discussing a most interesting opportunity which had arose as a result of going to dinner with their tutors.

According to their 辅导, a single student was in need of some American fellow students who could serve as her support during the performance. Will was especially ecstatic, more so than I really remember ever seeing him, being a rather source of calm within most settings. As they described the “play” to me, I began to comprehend it as more of a speech contest than any sort of theatrical performance.

Hosted by the Tourism Department, this event pitted six sophomore students against one another in various talent performances, dance competitions, and the most important tour speech competition. Will’s tutor turned out to be the host of the entire event and knew a girl looking for additional props to her act: a set of 老外 American tourists. Will asked me if I was interested, since Garrett really did not want to sacrifice his Friday evening showcasing his American-ness in front of a small crowd of upward of 2000 people; I told Will that I was in.

That Thursday, June 6, we met up outside of our classroom to meet our tour guide and practice the skit. Guide Alice was already waiting when we arrived. Besides Will and I, Frank, Lizzy, and Maddi also joined us. Ready to begin the preparation, Guide Alice began her speech: a complex detailing of the wildlife and customs of Hawaii. Using perfect, albeit unnatural, English, Guide Alice walked us through the motions we would need to practice along with our different lines. I couldn’t help but be reminded of my past Language Festival competition-thing back at St. Paul’s when we performed my original masterpiece “El Hobra del Teatro.” While Guide Alice’s performance lacked my murder mystery vibe, didn’t even have Scooby Doo or Sherlock Holmes, and incorporated a lot less singing, Guide Alice’s speech made us excited for the following evening adventure. 2000 people was still a lot of people, even if it was in China.

On the night of the event, we each began trying to dress up in the most touristy, American outfits we could assemble together. I equipped myself with a motley, blue plaid pair of golfing shorts, and a sentimentally excellent Captain America t-shirt. We departed the dorm wearing different assortments of bathing suits until we arrived at the site of the competition. An hour early, we were able to view the rows of seats and the large stage in the front decorated ornately. Will’s tutor stood in the center of two formally dressed girls and began practicing his master of ceremonies’ lines.

We sat and awaited our practice round, when Guide Alice arrived slightly exuding the demeanor of an anxious wreak. We assured her of our mastery of the lines and approached the stage to practice. Evan, who had accompanied us to the event, stayed behind to keep a row for us; however, many college girls were inching towards him from all directions, casually talking with friends and pretending to be looking for something before plopping down adjacent to Evan in order to start up a conversation.





Short girl taking picture of Evan. Happened all night long.



Once on stage, Guide Alice began her practice round with us figuring out staging and proper blocking. However, the first go-around proved disastrous as we Americans lacked the adequate energy, and Guide Alice just wanted the contest to end. Will’s tutor than pulled us to the side and told us something new. Alice was the only contestant speaking in a different language; moreover, she had us as her props, which set her apart. Alice had a definitive chance at succeeding in this competition!

After learning this new tidbit of information, I analyzed our problem spots and addressed the remainder of the group. Drawing on theatrical experience, I notified the plenty energetic Frank on how to properly pour out his energy during the actual performance, along with some clever ideas for the remainder of the group to utilize. We slowly developed into a team, working towards bringing Guide Alice home the golden trophy, which in this case was some sort of red booklet that signified greatness.

As we awaited the actual performance, crowds of people began pouring into the center. Who knew that tourism majors were so popular? As the crowds progressed, more and more Chinese girls began flocking over to our group in order to take pictures…mainly of and with Evan.

Once the ceremony began, we watched the other competitions’ host of skits. Different dance numbers and speeches slowly lead the competition to our act. We ascended the stairs and waited back stage, only pausing to take pictures with different students who weren’t too shy to ask. Finally, we descended upon the stage in a whirl of theatrical energy, exuding our own we-are-in-China-so-honestly-this-doesn’t-exactly-matter-and-this-will-actually-be-incredibly-fun carefree spirits, while feeding off the intense inundation of energy flowing from the now crazed audience. With blinding smiles brandished on our faces and wide curious eyes capturing the moment while focusing on Guide Alice, we executed our parts effectively and efficiently. We joined into the celebration of the Hawaiian locals by breaking into spontaneous hula dancing; we safely put our scuba safety equipment on; and I delivered my line of “Wow! That green sea turtle is so big!” in perfect English. We finished the performance, embraced by a colossal ovation, and left back stage with almost celebrity-status admirers along with hateful glances from Guide Alice’s competition.

When we returned to our seats, Will notified us that the performance would last at least another two hours, so we should go look for some food. Once he said Sichuan, I hopped up and moved out of the building, still ecstatic about the outcome of the performance and excited for the food. Unfortunately, the food was never discovered due to Will’s and Frank’s erred senses of direction. We settled for the next best option, which was a selection of true American food: 麦当劳 (mai4dang1lao2 = McDonal’s). Although the meat had a distinctive rubbery texture to it, the bacon and fries were phenomenally filling and the Christmas-music ambiance of the interior was both interesting and satisfying.

We returned back to the performance auditorium, we found seats again and awaited the results. Almost immediately, results began to be handed out and Alice stood forward! Excited, we cheered jovially until we noticed her face. Disappointment swallowed her face in a shade of emotion, and she then stepped back, now clearly awarded the American equivalent of Honorable Mention. Distraught, we wondered what had gone wrong with such a stellar performance. Indignant, we sat in protest as each the winners of the competition were announced to the crowd. Feeling like we needed to go congratulate Guide Alice and apologize if we were at fault, we began making our way along the side aisles towards the stage. However, suddenly, a new voice filled the auditorium announcing some sort of special recognition award. Having the first place competitor step back, they asked Guide Alice to move towards the front where they asked her where she would most like to go. She replied, “England,” (much to our displeasure and offense). The judges then conveyed to her that Qingdao University would help her find a job in tourism in England for the next year along with housing and education. Bewildered about the gravity of the award, we began hooting and hollering for Guide Alice’s newfound ecstasy.

After the lights came up across the auditorium, we approached Guide Alice and officially congratulated her. Then we took a few pictures with her before turning to leave. However, leaving wouldn’t be nearly that easy. Almost in an inhuman drove, we were assaulted with requests for different pictures with practically every student on the stage. Working our way down through different poses and smiles, the students all seemed very impressed with our Chinese, English, and height skills.


However, that night ended soon afterwards, and we returned to our dorm. A new weekend had begun along with Jackie’s following day birthday KTG Karaoke bar bash! But that’s an adventure for another day…like when I’m home day.

I don't know what face I'm making...but yeah that's the Captain America T-shirt.

The contest's Master of Ceremonies. Will's tutor is in the center.

Some Qingdao at night...

Oh American food...how could I miss you so much that I would stoop down so low and enjoy so much

And here's another picture of someone taking a picture of Evan. Next time round  we plan on getting some pictures with our own phones as well.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Beautiful Qingdao

Sorry for such the late post. Internet has been acting up lately, and I finally had time to break from the activities of constantly studying to post these. As of right now the posts are streaming in from the first week of adventures. I am currently finishing the third week. So it goes.

The first chapter, entitled 初到青岛 (chu1dao4qing1dao3 = arriving in Qingdao) allowed us to become familiar with the city throughout the education process of the week’s lessons. By utilizing Lin’s textbook, we not only became knowledgeable on the history of Qingdao, but also began learning about the different food cultures within China and began to observe the large wealth differences within China.

The first lesson within the unit (each chapter consists of three lessons, so that Thursday we can review everything, and Friday can be spent testing), detailed a simple history of modern Qingdao from the German occupation to China’s post-reformation period.

Qingdao has changed a lot throughout its history, from its days as a German colony to its now modern role as a major port city. Qingdao can be split up into two parts: Old Qingdao, which is on the Western shore of the bay, and New Qingdao, which was developed on the Eastern shore. Qingdao’s old area is symbolized by its large pier stretching out into the Yellow Sea. This pier can be viewed by looking at Tsingtao Beer’s logo. Furthermore, it has many German structures including a large (but closed) German, Catholic Cathedral along with multiple mansions left behind by the German occupants.

New Qingdao is vastly different, being supported by immense skyscrapers and wide roads. It’s also littered with beautiful parks filled with greenery along with the Olympic memorial museum area and dock. We spend a lot of our time in New Qingdao’s downtown, whether we are at the karaoke bar, the multitudes of restaurants, or the immense supermarkets and book stores. The university campus is also located in New Qingdao, along its outskirts in one of the poorer neighborhoods. The university hosts a massive campus, at least two times the size of Ole Miss’s campus, filled with trees and different educational buildings and dormitories.

After finishing our first day of class, we prepared for the activity wherein we were bused over to Old Qingdao’s 八大关 (ba1da4guan1 = literally meaning eight forts, but used mainly just as the title of the forts and their accompanying areas) and were asked to go engage in conversation with locals from Qingdao. This proved to be our first true experience of interviewing locals, and speaking Chinese with people who weren’t classmates and teachers was both humbling and rewarding, as it slowly developed my listening skills.

After interviewing four separate groups of people, having around seven different pictures taken of me, and fulfilling the lesson requirements, we boarded the bus and headed for New Qingdao. There we interviewed more people and slowly began to realize the differing opinions between the youth and the elderly regarding the economic development of Qingdao. The youth all were exceptionally pleased and happy with the influx of material wealth, convenient transportation, and social advantages, while the elderly mostly seemed wary of the quick development and wished to not have the great western influence it currently possessed.

This enlightened me further into the opinions surrounding the different demographics within China…things could only get much more interesting as the program progressed. The second day involved a much more enjoyable activity during the hours of lunch. Our chapter dealt with the different delicacies within China along with the eight many styles of food preparation in China and their associated cultures. When we split into four groups to go try out the foods, I decided to go to the 川菜饭馆 (chuan1cai4fan4guanr3 = Chuan dish (Sichuan’s Chuan) restaurant) so that I could again partake in spicy deliciousness. Our teacher for the restaurant was the class favorite Fu, and the lunchtime experience was exceptional.

We arrived at around 12:37 to a back-alley Sichuan restaurant. Fu did most of the ordering, but what she did order was exceptionally delicious! The fish we ordered was initially brought out to us for our inspection. Once it passed the test, it was delivered to us in a heated oil broth filled to the brim with special red peppers. Although the fish’s head and fin’s floated around in the dish and our given chopsticks weren’t the best tools for scooping out the fish meat, the meal tasted delectable, and was only further complimented by the two special rice desserts also ordered. I enjoyed the meal very much and also happened to notice that they too cooked a special type of crustacean known as crawfish. Excited, I made a mental note of the location so that I could in the future return to experience the taste of the 小龙虾 (xiao3long2xia1 = little lobster, i.e. crawfish).

That evening, we participated in the official opening ceremonies hosted by the language professors and deans of the university. After the short ceremony, we all received pink packages with different Qingdao inspired goodies that could prove useful for our future stay here, if we ever got around to opening them. Next, we moved to the Qingdao University International Students Hotel, wherein the professors treated us to a multitude of dishes that seemed to go on ad infinitum. Although this may be a bit Martin-esque, I could only hope to describe all of the foods brought forth for us. The first items consisted of different hosts of dumplings each filled with different forms of vegetables, meats, and seafood. Another plate arrived next filled to the brim with braised eggplants in a special red sauce (the Chinese love their sauces). Next arrived a plate of plane white rice accompanied by sweet and sour pork. Orange glaze accompanied the following shrimp platter, which too was followed by a vegetable laced bowl of specialty noodles. Another dish arrived consisting of fried eggplants stuffed with shrimp and seasoning (a particular favorite of mine). Following these, both chuanr and 蛤蜊 (ga1la1 (as pronounced in Qingdao) = small clams) arrived in respective sauces of red peppers and hot glazes. Next, a platter overflowing with unique fruits and doughy desserts. Baozis followed and the night continued with Chinese chatter and liveliness not rivaled sense. Afterwards, we returned to our dormitories completely stuffed before beginning the following day anew…after some more intense studying of course.

During Wednesday’s activity, we learned about the local farmers market and spent the afternoon bargaining and getting quality food. The market was full of all sorts of vegetables and fruits, red meats and seafood, and seasonings and spices. Even more, it had a very unique section consisting of only the highest quality cow hearts, pig blood, and sea cucumbers. While not the most intriguing activity, seeing the different foods and purchasing dragon fruit proved rewarding. Upon returning to campus, we were greeted with meeting our 辅导 (fu3dao3 = tutor) for the first time. My tutor is named 姚舜 (yao2shun4) and is an athletic, basketball enthusiast, majoring in Environmental Chemistry Technologies. His major sounds fascinating, and I look forward to shadowing him during the education chapter.

On Monday (of the first week) we arrived at a nice park in New Qingdao

The symbol of New Qingdao comes from the May 4th protest that signified a new spirit within China

The Chinese really like their kites

The restaurant we attended. Some excellent Sichuan food was consumed. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the dishes...next time I'll get one...


Entrance into the Chinese farmer's market

Alive Gala squirting around at the market

My lizhi and dragonfruit! They tasted super excellent!



The first week ended with a cumulative test and a special tourism banquet contest, which was very similar to the SELU Foreign Language Festival competition…now there was a story.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

青岛大学

When we arrived in Qingdao, we flowed out of the gate, tall foreigners in a sea of locals. The brisk movement of the masses whisked us along towards the customs gate where we would officially embrace the new country, which would be an alternative for our home for the coming two months.

During the early stages, the vowels and iterations of the Chinese language flowed off my ears with only certain syllables forming into coherent ideas. I began to feel vaguely concerned for the coming, constant barrage of Chinese language. However, I felt as I moved throughout the airport, I began to pick up more and more, which allowed for me to feel more and more optimistic about the upcoming study abroad.

Once we exited the baggage line, representatives from 青岛 (qing1dao3) 大学 (da4xue2 – university) arrived, picked us up, and delivered us to the university in a marked bus. Traveling along the roads, I noticed the skyscrapers summiting from the ground along almost every road, foundations dotting the hillsides, and newly planted trees springing up along the roadside. The development of this city that previously I had known nothing about, proved obvious and extremely rapid.

Qingdao was the largest city that I have yet stepped foot in with more than 7.5 million people approaching 8 million. The actual city appeared stretched across the landscape, with skyscrapers stretched along the horizon. Furthermore, red tiled rooftops branched along the western line of the city, intermingled with old green trees, among the seemingly anachronistic European architecture.

We maneuvered our way throughout the city among the seas of people and flooded buses. Slowly we made our way to the central eastern section of the city where the international student dormitory (and what I incorrectly thought to be the entire university) resided. The dormitory was a chipping building of five floors. The assigned rooms each were equipped with their own air-conditioning systems, along with a television that did not fully work and the adequate shelving and dressers. The bathroom was especially interesting in that it was equipped with a semi-functional toilet, toxic sink, and stand-in shower with a drain embedded within the ground.

Once we became settled in our respective dormitory rooms, we began searching for our American compatriots who had already arrived. Being all of our first experience in China, we decided to wander around the “university’s” vicinity by first going to the left and then next to the right. Towards the left of the “university” we found an old grain silo abandoned with attractive stairs leading upwards. Naturally, we climbed it and acquired these spectacular images from around seventeen meters up seen below.

Next, we explored the wilderness to the right of our dormitory and discovered a one-half national park and one-half mountain thing. The park originally appeared like a destitute forest equipped with a red warning sign on the front covered with characters we all knew, but not without a single bit of meaning. (Mandarin utilizes thousands of different characters to represent certain sounds along with respective singular meanings. When ordered in certain combinations they create the unique words formulating the entire language. These particular characters we came across were all readable but in combinations we had never previously experienced.)

We braved the steep slope leading up to the entrance and discovered an idyllic path leading through the scenic country. Along the walk, we found ourselves hearing peaceful music from some Asian wood instrument emanating from within the forest. We began to venture further within the woods off the path, and then too began to hear an accordion being played. Thinking that we had finally entered the Chinese Twilight Zone, we ventured until we discovered the musicians performing the music. The peaceful scenery of China enveloped us and we began to further explore the reaches of the forest.

We returned to the dormitory to find our 同学们 (tong2xue2men2 – classmates) at the dorm. Dinner followed, along with customary 老外 (lao3wai4 – derogatory term for a foreigner that we use lovingly) food of choice CHUANRRRRRRRR (as we affectionately call it). Consisting of anything barbequed over an open flame on a stick, these spicy treats of pork filled our bellies for the small price of around five kuai (less than a dollar).

The remaining hours of the weekend consisted of further exploring the city, touring the surrounding areas, and purchasing towels and etcetera necessary for a functional dorm room. Next thing we knew, we began preparing for our first day of classes on the following day.   


A view outside of my window to the courtyard beyond...turns out this isn't the true Qingdao University. Tune in next update with some pictures of the actual university as opposed to the destitute international student section.

The room: maybe clean, unique smell, fairly large, interesting bathroom...what's not to like!

The grain tower thing we discovered during our trek. Only later (this weekend) when we ventured here again would we realize that there were still a few more stories to go.

A picture of Qingdao towards the water. Behind the office building towards the right of this picture is  Old Qingdao.

Not knowing where the music will lead them, these five students are about to find themselves in....the Twilight Zone.

My first picture down one of Qingdao's metropolises. The high rises and highways  were not built until  around 1984.

My engineering mind loves the informative efficiency of these lights. Each is equipped with  numbers on  a countdown sequence, so drivers know exactly how many seconds remain in the respective light.

Old Qingdao exudes a much different atmosphere. The teal sea and blue sky coupled with the green trees and red tiles on the roofs form a stark contrast that really makes this city appear entirely different than the modern new Qingdao.

This cathedral in Qingdao is an especially popular destination for those taking wedding pictures.  However, it is closed for "renovation" thus leaving us to find another Catholic church to attend mass.

The symbol of old Qingdao, this pier, can be found on the bottle of Tsingtao啤酒  (pi2jiu3 - beer). 


Qingdao hosted the sailing competition for the Beijing Olympic games

Some boats at the docks

Across the harbor the city of Qingdao is revealed

Hot pot...first meal on Sunday...pretty fantastic. Consists of  adding different raw ingredients including meat, special vegetables, and tofu, and it tastes fantastic! I particularly enjoyed the spicy food.

CHUANRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They're  like explosions of flavor in the mouth...in a hot, spicy, incredibly tasty way.