Our first stop of the day is finding the Catholic church in Qingdao. When we arrive, we see brides everywhere!! As it’s holiday, everyone is out getting their bridal pictures taken. Talk about heaven for Jenni. Awesome!! I got to play paparazzi all day. It was amazing. I bounce back and forth between shooting the church and the brides and tear myself away to try and get inside the church – unfortunately, it’s closed.
So we walk around the city a bit, taking in the crazy German/Chinese architecture. Oooh, I love Qingdao. Crazy architecture in China? Perfect – even found some three story houses that totally look reminiscent of parts of Brooklyn. I was basically freaking out about being able to find my perfect three story house in China. By the beach. Anyway, after walking around for a while we decide to taxi over to the Protestant church in the city. Again, brides everywhere. Again, bounced back and forth between paparazzi and tourist before heading into the church where there was a choir practicing. Absolutely amazing. The whole time we were sitting there listening to this guy, who I swear is a former Italian opera singer, I kept thinking of sitting in the tiny bush church in Malawi. Before we left, Kristy asked when they would be singing again. Turns out, there’s concert the next night at 7pm. Yay!!
We leave the church and head down to the beach – where again, there are brides everywhere! (And grooms, for that matter.) We walk along the boardwalk with the Yellow Sea and speedos on one side of us and brides and jewelry on the other. We walk along, just taking it all in – it’s gorgeous outside. Absolutely perfect weather. It’s sunny, only a bit hazy and there’s the perfect sea breeze to keep us cool. We stop for lunch at a chuar place and get chicken and squid chuar – I will like seafood by the time I leave China if it kills me. So far, we’re leaning more toward the killing than the liking. Squid was not as disgusting as expected. There were no tentacles or anything, but it’s kinda just … rubber. It’s weird. The chicken chuar though was tasty. We sit there for a long time recovering from all of our walking that morning, and….well….watching all the guys in speedos. Not because it was pretty, but because it was so horrible that you just can’t look away. You name it, it made an appearance. Amber has a lot of speedo documentation if you need need actual visuals, but basically, use your imagination and we watched it live and in person: scrawny boys; large men; weird extra appendages; full body suits – both male and female; TaiChi speedo men; Hackysac speedo men; napping speedo men; old men in really loose, very thin shorts…..and I no longer feel the need to reminisce. And we kept on walking up the shore. We walk out onto a pier into the sea that states “No passing” – not sure what that means – either you’re not supposed to walk out there or you’re not supposed to pass other people out there….ah, Chinglish. Open to interpretation. We went up to the Huashilou Stone Villa where we decide that this country doesn’t exactly grasp the idea of a tourist attraction. There’s like ONE room with some artwork on the walls – otherwise, the entire house was completely empty other than the two rooms of souvenirs. The highlight of the attraction is climbing up two flights of very tiny, rickety, old, spiral staircases to get to the top of the tower and look out over the beach…..kinda cool….maybe worth Y7. (Which yes, I know is $1USD.)
We decide to sit down at Bathing Beach #2 for a while where I get to wade into the Yellow Sea (AKA, get attacked by waves immediately so I’m soaked up to my waste while actually only being in to my midcalves….) and pick up shells and beach glass (So cool! Gotta love a city known for it’s beaches and beer. I have always wanted beach glass.) Also at Bathing Beach #2 are brides (duh). So, more paparazzi time for Jenni. The first couple has a ton of orange balloons that they pose with and then release? and the bride is wearing a black and pink dress with polka dots… Then the matching couples appear. This lime green couple was adorable. Their photographer kept making the guy jump in the air, so he kept getting more and more wet and tired. He was a good sport though.
Eventually we decided to walk along the beach looking for supper. As we’re walking we see lanterns in the sky and remember that it’s Chinese Moon Festival. We stop at a bunch of shops along the boardwalk, each picking up some item of jewelry (2 new bracelets for Y25 and Y5!) before coming up to a group of people lighting the lanterns we’ve been seeing. Kristy and I look at each other and go, let’s get one! So we purchase a lantern, light it and…set it free too soon and it dive bombs into the sea. Now, we are the only foreigners around, so we have already been causing commotion just for being there. When we lift the lantern, a group of people is around us critiquing everything we do (would have helped had we been able to understand them). When it dive bombs and we’re laughing at our inability to achieve lift off, all of a sudden the entire pier knows about us. We go to find a taxi and everyone is pointing and laughing at the foreigners who couldn’t get their lantern up. Oh, well.
We find a taxi and tell the driver we want a pizza restaurant – any pizza restaurant. He just so happens to take us to one that is by our sketchotel, that is not surprisingly next to a red-light alley district. Awesome. The pizza is delicious and we each scarf down an entire 9″ pizza. As we leave, we see there’s an Indian restaurant next door – and that’s where we’ll be having supper tomorrow. We go to walk back to the sketchotel – not through the red-light alley, and come across some of the cutest puppies ever. Katie wanted to put one in her bag and take it home with her, but the puppy mama came and shooed us away. We head back to the sketchotel to drop stuff off before heading to Old Jack’s Cafe for some dark beer – we are in Qingdao after all. Gotta have good beer.