Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day 272 – Qingdao

We decided to have breakfast at the hotel this morning, but it was REALLY Chinese and we had a hard time finding much to like about it.  After breakfast, we had to hurry down to the lobby and meet the others so we could cross the street to catch the bus for our adventure today. 

Qingdao is the sponsor of an International Horticulture Exposition and that is part of what we came down here to see.  The Qingdao University sponsored a trip to the Exposition and they we all got tickets to go to it.  We met the bus in front of their university, which is right across the street from our hotel.  It took about an hour to get there because the traffic was pretty heavy.  We also picked up five of the BYU teachers from Ocean University here in Qingdao.
This is a topiary in the park.  There were several interesting ones.

This building is called the lotus building and they have a whole place dedicated to teaching about the lotus flower.

Walking under the sharks in the aquarium.

Jelly fish!  Cool to watch them up close like this.

In the arboretum.

Cool waterfall, and cool David!

Jim and Wendy Purnell with two girls who had been practicing some English with us.

It is amazing to see how they get these trees to grow like this!

The Exposition is situated on about 1000 acres outside of the city.  Part of it is an amusement part and part of it is cultural displays.  They also have an enclosed arboretum and a walk-through aquarium.  We rode a shuttle bus to the first stop that was by the aquarium and decided to go see that first.  It was pretty cool to walk through and have sharks and flounders swimming around you. 
Kathy in the brown sweater and her son, Hansen, taking his picture with... whatever that is.

Because of the terror attacks in the farthest west province of Xinjiang (we are in the east of China) there was an increased military presence at the Exhibition.

Part of the display in the Haier Building was to show what you could do with the computer and pictures of clothes in your wardrobe.  Here David tired on a wedding dress.

I thought this outfit was cute too!

Here's another good one.  All he had to do was wave his hand on the right side of the screen and a new outfit would appear.

This piano has a screen for beginner pianist and it helps teach them piano.  Watch out piano teachers, you may be out of a job.  David got to play a little bit and got applause from the group around us.  And of course, the pictures taken by those around us.

Then we went through the arboretum and enjoyed the flowers and trees to see there.  We had fun talking with some of the young elementary age children a little bit.  They would start it by saying, “Hello,” and we would respond and the usually say, “How are you?” or something like that.  They just get such a thrill out of thinking that they can talk with us and understand what we are saying. 

We got on another shuttle bus and rode it to the top of the hill where there were three buildings with displays in them.  We got in line for one of the buildings, which turned out to be the building sponsored by Haier Corporation.  While we were standing in the line, one of the girls from inside at the reception desk approached us and asked it we would like a tour by an English speaking guide (at no cost to us), so we said that would be great. 
A fisherman topiary.  
When we got inside the building, they pulled us aside to wait for our guide.  A pretty young lady gave us the tour through the building as we were followed around by several camera people and another guide who helped her with the English words she was still working on learning.  Haier Corporation manufactures many household appliances and they are also the makers of the refrigeration system for the China space program.  They had some really cool things to show us and we all enjoyed it.  Our guide was thrilled to be using her English and wished that there were more English speakers that would come through so she could practice more.

We decided to have lunch next, even though it was still a little early for it, and we were very glad we went when we did.  They have a complicated (at least to us) system for how to pay for the food.  You buy a card and put some money on it.  When you go to pay for you food at one of the 20 or so booths, and they take it off of the card.  When you are all done, you turn the card in at another booth and they give you a refund of the money not used and the 10 RMB that they charge for the card as a deposit.  We were able to show many of the others of our group that came through how to use it, but we were so glad that we had Kathy Guo with us to speak the Chinese and help us.

We saw several more displays before we headed back to the bus.  It had started raining shortly before lunchtime and mostly just got worse the rest of the afternoon.  When we were dropped off in front of the university, we came back to the hotel and put our feet up for a little while. 

Harold Rust and Romney Burke said they would show us around some of the most important parts of Qingdao this afternoon.  We met them on the lobby at 4 p.m. and rode the bus to an area that was close to the ocean.  We walked and walked and walked and walked, seeing the Olympic area for the sailing competitions that were held here in 2008.  Then we walked many more places, but what we really wanted to see was the old German part of Qingdao.  The town was occupied by the Germans for many years and the old part of town still looks very much European, with a little Chinese flavor added.
Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center.  It was pretty wet!

Roasted starfish for a snack, anyone?

The Catholic church in the old German part of Qingdao.  Cobblestone streets and all.

By the end of the evening, it was getting pretty hard for me to walk because my feet were so sore, so I was really glad to see the end of the evening as we met all the other BYU teachers at the Ratts Keller Restaurant.  Stan Pace has served his mission in Germany and wanted Weiner Schnitzel, so that’s why that restaurant was chosen.  It was a nice way to end the evening.

David and I were exhausted, so we shared a cab back to the hotel with Deanne Hughes.  She brought us over some oatmeal and fruit that we can use for our breakfast tomorrow morning.  Kathy had said there was a little market that we could get some things for breakfast tomorrow, but David looked around for over a half hour and couldn’t find anything. 

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