Tag Archives: Qingdao

China A to Z: Q is for Qingdao and Qufu

Chinese destinations

The reason why these are chosen is that they are tourist destinations for Chinese tourists, not ones on a typical tour of China. Even though they are oriented toward tourists, they are not oriented toward “western” tourists and give some insight into what Chinese people look for and value in their time off.

Qingdao

Qingdao is a seaside city where people come to “play”, in Chinese as in English this means to relax and have fun. Because of it’s location Qingdao is not as hot in the summer and tends to have better air quality than many of the cities nearby. It is on the fast train line and people from Shandong can get there in a couple of hours, making it popular for long weekends (many, if not most, Chinese people work six days a week so a trip is only practical on long weekends).

Food is a big part of life in China. In Qingdao that means seafood.

Qingdao is a pretty seaside town city. It reminds me a bit of San Francisco: seaside, interesting architecture…and of course beer, a gift from the Germans who occupied the area for a time.

Qufu

Qufu is famous as the hometown of Confucius. Chinese people come here to appreciate and learn about their culture. It is not generally oriented to the foreign tourist. It is usually “done” in a combination with Taishan in two days. Starting with Qufu in the morning and winding up watching the sunrise at the top of Taishan the next morning.

Since that isn’t my style I went to each as it’s own place. Arriving in Qufu in late afternoon, after the tour groups had departed for Tai’an it was quiet and relaxed, like a stage after the performance is over.

By contrast, the city officially opens with a performance of song and dance at 8:00 am.

Qufu’s main attraction is the “three Kongs”: Kong Miao, the Confucius Temple; Kong Fu the “mansion” which is where the extended family lived; and Kong Lin, lin means forest, but it is also an extensive cemetary. Kong is the Confucius family name.

 

 

Happy Mama

KSM-20140418-HappyMama-12-480pxI was in Qingdao, China. In an adorable cafe called “The Giraffe”. I was with Emily, my son’s girfriend, and our ability to communicate together was quite limited, smiles, laughter, shei shei, Emily’s cell phone app and my Lonely Planet phrasebook, and I was tired, oh so tired.

James (my son) insisted that I should have a Chinese cell phone so I could reach him or Emily in case I needed as I wandered Weifang alone while they worked. I got it the day before Emily and I went on our outing to Qingdao and had set the alarm for 5:30 am since Emily was going to pick me up at 6. I went to sleep and was wakened by the cell phone. It felt like I had only been asleep a few minutes. I crawled out of bed and headed for the hot pot to make instant coffee. I was so tired my eyes weren’t all the way open. After a cup of coffee my brain started to function. It seemed awfully dark for that time of morning. Turns out it was11:00 pm. My phone had bleeped because its battery was dying.

KSM-20140418-HappyMama-01-480pxThe next morning I was in a little better shape, but the caffeine at 11 meant that I didn’t get the best night’s sleep. We rushed to the train station. The ticket line was so long that we were not going to make our train. Emily talked a young woman who was close to the front of the line into buying our tickets for us. This meant that we were all sitting together.

After leaving the train station we went to the beach, bought some souvenirs then headed out to see the town a bit. Emily had a Chinese map of the city and was looking for the house of a famous author. I later learned from my son that Emily, while she has many fine attributes, can’t read a map.

I really didn’t much care about seeing any particular site. The cherry blossoms were out in force and it was a beautiful day, sunny, mostly clear skies, not too hot or too cold.

But as noon approached these old bones needed a rest and I really needed something to drink, preferably with a bit of caffeine.

KSM-20140418-HappyMama-10-480pxWe spied the light pole first. As soon as I realized it was a coffee shop I somehow communicated that this was where I wanted to be.

At the table they had a little book for people to write in, and people from all over had written notes. Emily enjoyed reading them and wrote something in the book herself then passed it to me. I wrote that I was happy to be there with Emily, since she does not read English I looked up “happy” in my phrase book and signed the note XingfuMama. (In Chinese Characters).

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All About Me.”