Stick and I went to Qingdao, and because he doesn’t speak any Chinese, even my rudimentary Chinese was pretty impressive. (He doesn’t know I’m saying “Buy Ticket Qingdao Two Yes?”) We walked by the beach, found a place for cucumber cold noodles (slightly different in Qingdao and Yantai, but still delicious) and walked around exploring the city for a while.
We visited St. Michael’s Cathedral. Although it’s an active church, and there were a few Chinese Catholics sitting in the pews saying the rosary, there were also signs in English and Chinese telling visitors who Jesus is and what a confessional is. Stick said that being in the church was a weird oasis of familiar in the unfamiliar… It was fun to see the Latin and Chinese side-by-side, but I didn’t feel like this bizarre German/Gothic/Chinese church was particularly home-like.
I didn’t take too many pictures because, although you’re allowed to take photos, it seemed a bit rude to the folks who where there to say a rosary. But I needed to document this Chinese-Latin inscription.
We found a little hotpot restaurant in our wanderings that afternoon. It was on Fei Chang Lu, right by our hotel, but thanks to my horrible sense of direction and not-so-great Chinese skills, we ended up taking a cab there. Actually, we ended up taking the cab to a sushi bar across the street that turned out to be closed by the time we got there.
It was great to have No Sense Of Direction Girl and No Plan Ahead Boy reunited again.
Hotpot is a strange and awesome Chinese dinner. It may be one of the rare foods I’ll miss when I go home. You are served a dish of boiling soup, I’ve heard that there are all different kinds but this place gave us half herbal and half spicy. It came in a little pan, divided into semicircles, and set on a hotplate to keep the soup at a tongue-burning tempature.
Then you pick what to cook in that broth. (Or, if you’re Stick, your girlfriend orders these dishes in flawless Chinese, because beef, mushrooms and tofu are in my very limited vocabulary) The staff all express their shock that the white woman has spoken Chinese, and then bring over a plate of spongy tofu, sall mushrooms and thin-sliced raw beef. You take, say, a piece of beef, and toss it in the spicy broth and in an amazingly short time, you pull out a piece of spicy cooked beef.
We ate awesome hotpot and drank nice, cold Tsingtao beer. In fact, it was so good that I asked the fuyuan to bring us a second plate of raw beef and she said ok, and shouted into the kitchen “The white people want more!”
More pictures from Qingdao — mostly for our parents. (Yay! I got to use the plural!)