Why Qingdao beer is better than Qingdao City
Our 24 hour stint in Qingdao did not get off to a good start. After a 24hr train ride from Xian, we got out of Qingdao train station kind of groggy to say the least. We knew our hostel was up a steep hill but for some unknown reason no taxi driver would take us there. Then I got run over……
When I say run over, I’m allowing some poetic license. This Taxi driver deliberately reversed straight into me, but he did leave me standing. No injuries were sustained, at least not to me. Karen, who’s normally quite laid back, stomped up to the Taxi driver, banged on his bonnet and with fire coming out of her eyes gave him such a telling off that he cowered in his seat. All I can say is don’t mess with a Maltese gal!
As we trudged up the huge hill to our hostel we passed an open-air barber’s “shop” complete with chair and mirror on the pavement. The barber was happily snipping off his customer’s hair as we walked by. That sight was probably the most interesting thing we saw in the whole town.
After what seemed like an age we arrived at our hostel. At least that was nice. Things were looking up, or so they seemed.
We were in Qingdao to get a boat across to South Korea. We quickly dumped our backpacks and headed to the ferry terminal to buy our tickets. We arrived to find the usual organised chaos that is typical of Asia. When we eventually found an English-speaking ticket seller we discovered there was no boat to South Korea for another 5 days! We immediately knew we could not spend 5 whole days in this place. Plus we were couch-surfing in Korea and our hosts were expecting our arrival in a couple of days’ time. Damn it!
As we sat down with a dejected look on our face, trying to figure out our next move a kind stranger informed us that we could get a boat from a port called Yantai which was only a couple of hours away from Qingdao. It looked like Lady Luck had finally smiled on us. We decided we’d get the 6am train to Yantai the next day and with our plans sorted we made our way to the beach.
Being next to the East China Sea was quite emotional for us. It meant that we had crossed the whole of the European and Asian land mass without taking a single aeroplane. The last bit of Ocean we had last seen was the English channel.
As the sun set we decided to try out some of the fabled sea-food restaurants that we had read about. We walked along the whole promenade and not one restaurant was open. Clearly we had missed the restaurant season and the 5 million people living in the city did not eat on the beach.
We eventually found a noodle place that was so bad we threw our food away. We left the restaurant still hungry and spotted the familiar yellow and red arches across the road. Yep, in a country with a cuisine that’s renown worldwide we ended up eating at McDonald’s.
And with that ended our short and not so sweet trip to Qingdao.
That my friends is why we prefer the beer! Don’t get me wrong, I am sure there are some great sites and fantastic restaurants to see in Qingdao but in our short stint there they did not come out to play.
The next day we got back on the road and boarded the ferry to our next destination: South Korea. We just couldn’t wait!
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