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We made it!
Zack's excited face
We made it!
Our boat from Incheon was scheduled to depart at 2pm on Saturday, but didn't end up leaving until 5:30pm. The New Golden Bridge VI Panama had few frills. There was one Korean restaurant open only for one hour for meal times and NO convenience store. We got pretty thirsty and there was no place to buy water! Upon seeing the likes of the communal rooms, we promptly upgraded to a private room for 30,000 won (money well spent). We took a nap from around 8pm until midnight and then woke up for a few hours. It was really dark and windy outside and the waves had grown stronger. It was a cool sensation to go outside and look off the edge of the boat at night. We could see the lights of some other boats off in the distance and a bunch of stars in the sky. The water looked black. When we went back in, Zack started to feel seasick. The way the boat was shaking felt pretty similar to turbulence on an airplane combined with a slow up-down rocking sensation. After playing GoStop, a Korean card game, for a couple of hours we went to bed around 3am. At 7am a breakfast call was repeatedly announced over the loud speakers in the room about 5 times (very annoying). The boat pulled into Qingdao port around 1:30pm, but they wouldn't let us off until 3pm. We were on the boat for over 21 hours!
After getting off the boat we breezed through customs without them even checking our bags. While I was in the bathroom, Zack was immediately approached by a man asking if we wanted to change money. No thanks. Our money belts are already stocked with CYN.
As we walked out of the port, an eager "taxi" driver approached. I showed him the address of our hostel and asked him how much (doushou qian?). He said "three" and gestured with 3 fingers. We were in for our first of no doubt many wild cab rides. After almost mowing over some woman backing out with his van, our driver went off on a rampage, almost hitting men, women, and children, and honking wildly all the while. Finally, 5 long minutes later, we arrived at our hostel. The man demanded 30 CNY (equivalent to 6,000 won), which we refused. He had said 3! We only gave him 10 (2,000 won), which he was not at all happy about.
Our hostel, Kaiyue International Youth Hostel, in Qingdao is sweet. There's a very chill bar/restaurant/cafe on the first floor. The only drawback is that our room is not exactly heated. We were freezing last night! In addition, the hot water ran out after about 10 minutes and poor Zack had to take a cold shower.
Yesterday we did some walking around the city. The German architecture is pretty cool, but dilapidated. Today we got up early and went to the Tsingtao Brewery for a tour. The brewery was established by the Germans in 1903. There is a museum attached to the brewery that displays all the old equipment and shows old bottles of the beer. We also saw the conveyor belt rapidly shuffling cans of Tsingtao down the line. Next we managed to order some vegetarian food at a Chinese restaurant. We ate some delicious noodles with veggies in some brown sauce and some white rice with buttered ginger. Next we went and walked to the beach. We saw groups of men practicing volleyball in a circle wearing only speedos. Mind you, it's cold enough to be wearing winter coats here. I was wearing a heavy scarf and hat and wishing I had brought my gloves. We also saw two guys swimming. Crazy.
It was freezing and he's swimming?!
The beach in March
Well, that's about it for now. Our hostel helped us book a train ticket to Beijing for 7:45 tomorrow (Tuesday, March 3) morning.
on March 2, 2009
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Zack and Rachel's Asian Chronicles
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