Qingdao: Trip Report

Despite repeated warnings from friends that we’d come back covered in stranger’s vomit, we set out in a group of 12 from Beijing to Qingdao to lie on the beaches and then attend the annual Qingdao Beer Festival. Here is our trip report:

0600: We awoke to the third or possibly even fourth series of alarms on multiple cell phones and clocks that alerted us that we had already overslept by thirty minutes. We were set to meet the two Germans outside in fifteen minutes.

0622: Met the Germans seven minutes late. They scowled.

0730: Arrived at the Beijing South Railway Station in a panic thinking the train was about to pull out any second.

0731: Realized the train was scheduled to leave at 7:45. We then went to McDonald’s before boarding our high-speed train to Qingdao. The rest of the crew met up and we boarded in typical 7am fashion for a bunch of youngsters, with yawns and lazy high fives.

0801: The first bottle of Champagne was opened as the train started to leave the city. Glasses were poured (Mike even brought Champagne flutes for four. Classy.)

1200: Arrived in Qingdao to sweltering heat and humidity. The train station was alive with noise and, unfortunately, smells. Outside the station there were three-wheeled cars with simple motorcycle engines ready to whisk us (for silly fees) to our hostel.

1228: Arrived at hostel to find it wasn’t ready for us. We dumped out stuff, switched into swimsuits and hailed more three-wheeled cabs for the ride to the beach.

1311: Arrived at Qingdao Beach 1, a homage to the speech in The Matrix about humans being a virus. People were so close along the sand and in the water that from a distance it looked like a brown algae wave. We found a spot in the back, far away from the water that reeked of urine, and set up a small quilt of towels.

1400: A volleyball was procured and a three-on-three game was started. Chinese lined the edge of the court in confusion as we slammed the ball back and forth over an imaginary net, diving around in the sand as if there were real boundary lines.

1532: The losing team had to bury one of their members in the godaweful sand. Mike was chosen and the boys promptly started sculpting inappropriate bodily features on the mound of sand that covered him. It wasn’t long before a small audience gathered to smile, point and most importantly, take pictures of themselves in front of Mike’s sandy new mermaid shape. They aren’t decent to post.

1605: We hopped in a van to get to the Qingdao Beer Festival. This was a decent sized, four-wheeled van. The ride took 45 minutes and naturally we all fell asleep on the way there.

1650: Arrived at beer festival. Found a tent and sat down inside it on wooden benches. Beer wasn’t cheap either, it was the opposite! We bought mini kegs and, naturally, drank them all too fast to realize they were costing us like $50 a pop.

2000: We left the beer festival and went had an impossible time finding a cab. I jumped in front of a minivan and the curious driver took us down the street to get food and beer in a bag, which was the first thing we all heard about Qingdao and my secret beer festival dream. See happy faced me in image.

0900: Woke up, showered, ate and in some cases, vomited. Some people couldn’t get out of bed. We ate breakfast on the roof (again, some of us didn’t) and then headed to the beach.

1120: Arrived at Beach Number 2, which was WAY better than beach number one, which was the virus pit from hepatitis land. The beach was sandy and beautiful, and the water wasn’t over heated by urine and full of used diapers.

1600: We made it to the train station in time to catch our train back to Beijing. The ride back was less Champagne-filled than the ride there. Still, we were all slightly sunburned, happy and enjoyed our day in Qingdao. Here’s one final beach picture of Mike.

5 thoughts on “Qingdao: Trip Report

  1. Bess

    Wow, did anyone actually swim at Beach #1? It sounds godawful. When you say beer and food in a bag, do you mean the same bag?

  2. AbandontheCube Post author

    Unfortunately, yes, we did swim at the first beach, probably because we had consumed an exceptional amount of tsingtao at that point. It is beer in a bag with a straw that Qingdao is famous for. I don’t remember food in a bag, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  3. AbandontheCube Post author

    Unfortunately yes, we did swim at the first beach, probably due to the amount of tsingtao we consumed at that point. The beer in a bag with a straw is a popular draw in Qingdao. I don’t remember food in a bag, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  4. Venkat

    Not sure, but did you end up going to Western China?
    I have been so enthralled by it, after reading about it in Danziger’s Travels.

  5. Jerzy

    Hi guys,It’s been a long time since I was briefly in Beijing, but the thing I reebmmer most was visiting the wild wall outside the city about an hour or 2 by bus. We got the info from a Lonely Planet guide, so the area may not be so wild anymore (this was 2001), but at the time my friend MC and I managed to get ourselves on some public buses (which was really fun and interesting in itself changing lines was particularly challenging) to this tiny town and then you just hike up to the crumbly old great wall of China and wander around on it for as long as you please. Back then there was no one really around, though an old man was asking for some money for us to walk the path up to the wall. That could be a bad sign for the area’s development. I don’t know what the weather’s like now, either (snow might preclude outside fun), but that day was the most memorable part of my trip to Beijing, other than the lingering memory that the metro stops are really not close to one another at all .O

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