Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weekend Travels

As I mentioned in my last post, now that we do not have AP classes or Senior 3 students, I only teach 6 class periods a week. With more free time i've gotten more opportunities to travel on the weekends and see more of Jinan. Here are some pictures from "sightseeing" in Jinan, Beijing and Qingdao. 

Many tourist attractions have these stretchy, ridiculous looking hats. 

I just cant handle how ridiculous they look! 

This is a catholic church in Jinan that was built by the Germans. When I went to see it you can go inside, but since I was wearing a V-neck shirt and a skirt they wouldn't let me in! (humorous because im probably the only catholic around...)

Its funny seeing such beautiful European architecture surrounded by this: 

While I was out I came across this weird vegetable--it translates into "Gingerbread melon" 

In Jinan many people (and their pets) get around on a motorbike

Out at a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant--its very different here in that the cooks are just doing their job instead of putting on a show (people do not tip in china so that may be why) he didnt even look up or smile. 

Really sour waxberries

Next weekend: Beijing
Some stylish tourist hats again

Absolutely beautiful area near the center of the city and Tianamen Square 

One of the many vehicles people use to get around 

the light fixture in my hotel--stunning.

I went to the museum while I was there--learned a little more about Chinese history. 

These are wine vessels...much classier than drinking wine out of a bag ;)

This is a headdress that was worn by the empress 

I thought this was really cool (yeah im a history nerd)--this is a hand drawn map during the Qing dynasty (around the 16th century i believe) 

North/South America

Europe and Africa

Over another weekend, I traveled to Qingdao. Qingdao is about 2 hours on the fast train. The Germans had concessions in Qingdao before WWI so there is a large German influence on the architecture--and of course Tsingdao beer. It is also on the coast so it is a beautiful coastal city with many "beautiful" (or crowded) beaches

The tickets for the fast train were all sold out, so I took a sleeper train which was 5 hours long. It left at 4am and got into Qingdao at 9am. 

The bed was small and it was pretty obvious the difference in social class between those who take the fast rail train and those on the slow train. I was able to sleep and felt pretty good when I arrived in Qingdao, but I would probably never do this again. (just a little uncomfortable) People can also smoke in certain spots on the train--as a result it reeks of smoke. 

The pollution was so bad on Saturday that I tried to avoid being outside. The first thing I saw was St. Michael's Church. There were so many brides and grooms taking pictures outside it was pretty funny. I assume that they were not Catholic, but instead it is just a symbol or a beautiful backdrop. 

On Sunday I went to a mass at the church. It was in Chinese but I was able to follow along and even participate in the mass as I quickly caught onto the Chinese word for "Amen" 

There were many cute cafes around Qingdao. The coffee was pretty expensive (about $5/glass) but they were a nice change of scenery from the typical starbucks scene

Sunday it rained all day, but I still went to check out the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center

Beautiful landscaping

and architecture 

Sunday I went to the Tsingdao Brewery and Beer Museum which was pretty neat

This is a label for Tsingdao when it was under the Germans. During WWI, Japan took over Qingdao, so the brewery went under many changes under Japanese control. 

"Foreigners like Tsingdao too!" The fact he has chinese tattoos is laughable

Some funny advertisements 

They had a TV with all the Tsingdao commercials over the last 20+ years--it was hilarious. Chinese marketing is so much different than western marketing

Inside the museum--the old equipment  

Did you know that beer is a "health food"?

"How to appreciate beer" 

At the end of the tour we got a small glass of beer and some peanuts--made it all that much more worthwhile!

Inside the brewery

At the end of the tour, they had a bar and a souvenir shop--they also had a "drunken room" which was just walking on a tilt with all these crazy pictures on the wall. I chuckled a little when i saw it because theres no way THAT could imitate what being drunk feels like, but once i got in there i was really disoriented

As the home to Tsingdao beer, beer is EVERYWHERE. 

On Monday I enjoyed the breakfast at my hotel...I didnt expect there to be beer served with breakfast. I accidently poured beer in my coffee. Whoops--wasnt paying attention. 

I walked along the beach before I got on the train...absolutely beautiful and not crowded thanks to the weather. This is the famous pier. 

Overall my trip was somewhat ruined by pollution and weather, but I made the most of it. I really enjoyed the malls there--but ill have to go back when its nice out and sunny to see more of the city and hit up the beach!

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