July 14, 2011
At 9am, I left my house. My dog followed me to the door, hoping to go to China with me. I hope he still remembers me when I return. My parents drove on Hwy401 to the airport. Before checking in, we discovered that we left my passport at home! It takes half an hour to drive home and half an hour to get back to the airport, 1 hour in total. I worried that I might cause everyone to wait for me. Fortunately, it only took half an hour. Instead of my dad driving back and forth, he asked a friend who lives close to my home to bring the passport here. That’s one reason why it's really important to have good friends. Luckily, I was not the last one to check in.
I love going on a plane. There were so many great movies to watch and the view from above was amazing. When I was not watching movies, I was looking out the window. That's why I didn't sleep at all! At least I won't have jet lag. To see the world from the sky was different from on the ground. The clouds were close enough
to reach out and touch. The clear blue sky and the puffy clouds looked spectacular. A sight like that cannot be seen from the ground, one reason why I like flying. As the plane flew over the Bering Strait, I saw snow covered mountains and icebergs in the water. I took a whole bunch of photos.
After arriving in Shanghai, we had to transfer to a plane to Qing Dao. There was a really long lineup at the Customs Gate, which caused us to almost miss the plane. We were so late that we had to run across the Boarding Room to the right gate. The plane took off just 5 minutes after we boarded. As the plane took off, I got a glimpse of 浦东河. I could even see the boats on it. Then, it became too smoggy to see any land until we got to Qing Dao, though I did see a sunset above the clouds.
The walls of hotel room were a bit moldy, that was because Qing Dao had a moist climate. By the time I got to the hotel, I haven't slept for 24 hours and could hardly keep my eyes open.
I was happy to finally go to bed.
Every morning we have class, and in the afternoon, we go touring. Today's class was about the history, geography and culture of Qing Dao. I was happy to learn that because the city is close to the ocean that absorbs heat, Qing Dao is not too hot in the summer. It is a beautiful city with mountains over water, and a mixture of old and new architecture. I'm so glad I came.
After lunch, we got to see the places we learned about in class, with our own eyes. We went to a museum with lots of Olympic sailboats and we even saw the actual 2008 Olympic torch. There was a very detailed model of the city on the first floor, where I could see the places we will go to. We passed by a statue called 五月的风, which symbolizes the 五四运动 that brought change to China, like a gust of wind. Then we went to 战桥, the place where the German soldiers started taking over Qing Dao in 1897. There are so many interesting places to see. In the future, I will visit all the sites of Qing Dao
that I hadn't gone to this time.
This morning, we had a class about Chinese spoken and written languages. Frankly, I thought the class was a bit long, but I still learned a lot of interesting facts. It's astonishing that no one knows how to speak满语 anymore, although only 100 years ago, the Manchurians ruled China. Languages and cultures could become extinct so quickly!
In the afternoon, we went to a beach in黄岛. According to the schedule, we were supposed to go to a statue museum, but I don't regret going to the beach instead. We got there by driving over 胶州湾大桥, the world's longest bridge. It was REALLY long. Standing on one end, you could not see the other! I've been to the Confederation Bridge, the longest bridge in Canada, but胶州湾大桥 is so much longer. The bus took 3 hours to get to the beach, which was much longer than expected, because of a traffic jam. But that's okay; it was unusual to see so many factories and chimneys along the road, something not seen in Canada. I guess that's why the sky is always gray here.
When we finally arrived at the beach, it was
already 5pm, so we could only stay there for an hour. The beach was VERY crowded and there was a lot of seaweed in the water, but we still had fun. There were scenic mountains in the background and the sand was very soft. I hope to go to more beaches during my stay in Qing Dao.
Today's class was about weddings, both traditional and modern. We are too young to think about getting married, but it's never too early to learn about it. I learned that marriages in urban and rural areas are very different. In the city, couples fall in love with each other first, before marrying. In rural areas, couples marry once parents agree and then fall in love after. The class was really funny and exciting. After lunch, we had paper cutting class. The teacher showed us some of her works. She's really talented. I learned how to cut 3-sided and 5-sided stars and I could cut out my name using scissors.
Today, it rained all morning, so we couldn't go to 石老人 beach as planned. Instead, we went shopping. I went to a supermarket with my friends and bought some snacks. Then
we went to a large book store and I bought 孙子兵法and桃花扇. They are really famous Chinese books and they have English translations. After that, we went to another supermarket where I looked for a yellow shirt, because my other camp shirt was still wet, so I needed more than two. The shirts cost 200 RMB which was too expensive to buy.
For dinner, we went to a Hot Pot restaurant. I ate a lot of lamb. It tasted SO good. Before, we always ate hotel food, which were tasty too, but now we got to eat something different.
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