Thursday, June 28, 2012

Under the Sea

Nanjing is quickly becoming a sauna. It's hot, humid, and sticky, and you can't step outside without breaking into a sweat. 

This past weekend was Dragon Boat Festival, which is a holiday commemorating a famous poet who either drowned himself or was sentenced to death by drowning. The boat races represent the people trying to rescue him. The race is fun. Disney didn't have a team, but a friend of one of my coworkers did, so Friday morning I went to Mochou Lake to cheer them on. They came in third in their race, as they were mostly foreigners. But it was fun to watch. I couldn't stay the whole day as I had to work. 
Dragon Boats and racers

Saturday was a day off for the holiday (as opposed to the 3 days most other people had). I went to a couple new parks in Nanjing that I hadn't been to before and relaxed at home. 

Then on my actual weekend, I went to Qingdao. I like the fast trains. They have comfortable seats and air conditioning. Anyway, Qingdao is a seaside city, founded by Germans, where my friend/former short-term roommate moved for work. It's a nice enough city, great architecture, and the weather was wonderfully cool compared to Nanjing - a little too chilly to actually go in the water, but refreshing none-the-less. My hostel was in an old observatory, which was very cool, one of the first built in China. It even had a telescope on the top floor, though the roof was covered, so you couldn't see anything out of it. 

Observatory/Youth Hostel

View from the hostel rooftop cafe/bar

Tuesday, I had ice cream for breakfast. The streets are much too complicated to navigate (like snakes, one local told me); maps are no help; so I spent Tuesday wandering and seeing sights (including Chinese couples taking wedding pictures on the beach) along the boardwalk. It was very nice. 

Zhanqiao Pier (famous image on the Tsingtao beer bottles)

Wednesday, I tried wandering the streets again for a little to find some sights. I found a street market with lots of seafood and meat and other things, and I found the church I had been looking for. Then I taxied my way to all the sights I wanted to see but couldn't find the day before. I saw nice views from the top of the sightseeing TV tower and a pavilion in a park - I recommend the pavilion; it's cheaper and you get basically the same view. Plus, apparently there are different types of tickets for the tower, and since I got the cheapest one, I didn't get to go all the way to the top. I didn't go to the beer factory (Qingdao is also known for it's locally named brew - Tsingtao - super cheap, supposedly good, advertised at all the local restaurants). After a rest by the water and some more ice cream, it was time to head back to Nanjing. 

Sightseeing TV Tower
St. Michael's Catholic Church 
Stall at street market

Train station - cool architecture

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