Qingdao Day 3: The Beer Museum, Bridal-Garbage Beach, and Seafood.

Day 3 in Qingdao started off a little rocky. I was up at 8 and went upstairs to the patio to find, to my great surprise, a beautiful, warm, sunny morning! I ate oatmeal and read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (printed in English! I had found it in the lobby and knicked it) while enjoying the sun and waited for my friends to wake up. Slowly but surely they joined me, Derek being a little more worse for wear than the others. We had a brief bout of excitement, thinking that Puke Crawl 2011 would continue in Qingdao, but unfortunately Derek felt better by the time we left the hostel around lunch time to start our day.

On the days agenda was a tour of the infamous Qingdao Beer Brewery! We entered what appeared to be a giant courtyard with a brilliant fountain that contained a giant stone beer bottle and eight beer goblets. Water was spurting out the top of the massive figures, imitating the flow of never-ending beer, naturally. The courtyard also contained statues of Beer and Wine Gods, as well as a random gazebo and garden. The actual museum is located in one of the brick buildings that was surrounding the area, as well as the factory where the beer is brewed and shipped. I’m not a beer fan and hardly drink the stuff, but the museum was still an interesting experience. The tour included a walk through history of how the company began, information on the countries that the beer is sold in, historic artifacts and machines that were used in brewing alcohol in the early 20th century, classic designs from previous bottles, vintage advertisements, a free beer sampling, and we got to see the warehouse where the beer was being bottled, boxed and shipped away. But the coolest part of the tour was the drunk simulation room. It was a room built with slanted floor, walls, and oddly placed barrels, so when you walk through you actually feel like you’re drunk! There’s a camera inside so the people outside can watch you walk through, and it’s actual hysterical to see your friends stumbling around as if they were actually intoxicated. We got a few videos of this, and so ended our tour.

After the museum we wandered Qingdao’s Beer Street for a while. They have an entire street dedicated to beer and seafood, and it is apparently a very popular tourist destination. There were beer bottle designs made out of lights and wires on the sides of buildings lining the street, beer bottle and can statues, a giant stone display that reads “Qingdao Beer Street” and patio restaurants selling fresh seafood all the way down the street. It was definitely a street worth taking pictures on, and we decided to revisit the street for dinner that night. We headed back to the hotel shortly after this to grab our stuff for the beach!

We visited the beach at about 3pm in the afternoon, but at this point it was no longer sunny out but overcast again. It was ok though, because by the time we got to the beach and saw how disgusting it was, we didn’t feel up to swimming anyway. The beach we went to had a beautiful view and could have been very lovely had it not been for all the garbage littering the place. Garbage lined the shore and you could see it floating over and under the waves of the ocean. It’s really too bad, because it could have been perfect otherwise. I could see one or two people actually swimming, but most people were relaxing on the beach or walking along the pathway separating the beach from the park. There was a Chinese bridal magazine doing a shoot that day, so we could see white, poofy wedding dresses all along the beach and up into the beautiful, grassy park that overlooked the ocean. The beach, the rocky ocean side, and the beautiful wedding gowns made for a very scenic visual, if you ignore all the garbage. We took a few pictures on this rocky boardwalk that stretched quite far into the ocean, almost like a catwalk, and then chilled on the beach for about an hour, just reading and listening to music. I’m really glad we got to go to the beach because I hadn’t been all summer (something I greatly missed about summer in Thunder Bay!).

After a while it started getting chilly, so we headed back to the hostel. We chilled in our rooms for a few hours before heading back to Beer Street for dinner. We had so many options to choose from so it took a while for us to decide where to eat! We finally picked a spot and had a large dinner on the patio. Tamlyn and I opted to not eat the seafood (it’s not my favourite and I only really like shrimp) but ate normal chinese food instead, while Casey, Derek and Kyle indulged themselves in Qingdao’s famous seafood. It was a fun experience because once we finished eating (we were the only ones at the restaurant) we started making “music” out of things we found on the table (empty clam shells, glasses, chop sticks, etc). This greatly amused the owners of the restaurant, who were soon video taping us and toasting us with beer. I learned that when Chinese people toast you and you clink your glasses together, if they hit your glass near the bottom so that yours is higher, it means that they respect you. Very cool.

After dinner we wandered the streets of Qingdao for a bit, looking for people. But surprise surprise, Qingdao was dead for a second night in a row. We went back to our hostel and drank for a bit upstairs on the patio again, before heading to bed! Another tame night all in all, but relaxing and spending time with friends is all I really need to enjoy myself. The next day we were leaving to go back to Beijing (yay!), but thankfully not at 6am! Stay tuned!

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