Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunrise on Tai Shan Mountain

We are currently in Qingdao, a perfectly lovely city on the coast. We are staying in the apartment of a California couple. This apartment is huge, bigger than our whole house back home at less than 2/3 the price. They have a waterfront view, and we see the sunrise in the morning.
We toured the Tsingtao beer factory yesterday, which was Ernst Heaven. This city is gorgeous, clean, sophisticated and has clean air! If you know anyone who is thinking of moving to China, but they don't think they could handle it. they should move here. It is just wonderful. A huge city with millions of people, but a much slower vibe than Beijing.
Three days ago we left Beijing and headed for Tai Shan. We climbed the mountain, a four and half hour really difficult climb. I ended up taking the gondola halfway up, I applied the live dog vs dead lion principle. Ernst and the others climbed the whole way.
We stayed in a hotel with no running water! The pipes were all frozen. They gave us two buckets of cold water, and a huge thermos of hot. The water was to flush the squatter toilet, but if we had to do something serious, we had to go downstairs. And I even used the bucket to flush that squatter. I am not a princess, I am not a princess. I kept saying that to Ernst because I was so proud of myself. Sort of like experiencing potty training as an adult, such pride of accomplishment! Sorry, TMI, but just had to share.
The hotel knocks on the door at 5 am for the wake up call. We walked up to the summit in the freezing cold and saw the sunrise. Just incredible.
We are having a slow day, Brad got a stomach issue. So far for us, no sickness. I have even had street food.
Since we are using a friend's computer, I'll post photos when we get back to Beijing tonight. We have a six hour train ride ahead, which will mean a sore neck for me. I just can't stop looking out the window. The sights are amazing, but lots of rubble, trash and falling down hutongs. There is much modernization here, but so much yuck factor too. I am used to seeing the organized beauty of Europe, this is not organized and beauty was not in the master plan. There has been a massive tree planting project here, really incredible, now they need to work on the rubble and garbage. But here in Qingdao, they are definitely on the right track, it is unbelievably gorgeous!!!