What a trip back home:
- First flight from Qingdao to Shanghai (China Southern) got cancelled, had to arrange for a new flight (China Eastern). Had no Chinese money left. 😎
- Flight from Shanghai to Paris (Air France) got delayed by 5 hours because the airplane had to be changed since the original one got stuck in Hongkong. Departure time now at 5 am. They gave the passengers a dining coupon for already closed restaurants. What a joke! Gate got changed twice during the night. 🙄
- In Paris they suddenly considered my small baggage as 'too big' and checked it in at the gate. At my arrival in Zurich my small luggage was damaged, thanks Air France!
Home sweet home! :) Thanks to God for my safe arrival in my beloved home country.
25 November 2016
Yes, if you were asking yourself, how you should read a book: Read this book!
But then again how to read THIS book? 😏
Taken in a bar where you can read books for free if you order a drink from the bar.
On my last full day we went to the only mosque in town (Qingdao). Unfortunately I had already missed the Friday prayer but had the chance to meet the Imam of said mosque where I could practice my Arabic a little bit. We prayed the evening prayer together and we got to make new friends with a Yemeni guy and his Chinese girlfriend. Loud Adhans are forbidden except for the Friday prayer. What shocked me was the way the shops in the streets were presenting the meat. This is contrary to the Islamic religion, where cleanliness is very important! Interestingly though we tried some lamb from one of these shops and it was delicious!
In the entrance the verse 72:18 is cited which I have rarely seen on a mosque!
24 November 2016
Welcome to China! This is at the airport from Chengdu to Qingdao. Still not used to see so many people. 🙈
More impressions of the irrigation system site including a lot of parks and restaurants, bars, shops etc.
Old but modernized irrigation system near to Dujiangyan, where we went to in the afternoon. Entry tickets were 90 RMB for adults and 45 for students. A nice feature of the system is, that the water is still flowing naturally.
On our last day in Chengdu we hired a tour guide who picked us up from the hotel and drove us to all the places we agreed upon beforehand. The guide was really nice and even invited us to lunch! (Not included in the service)
In the morning we drove to Dujiangyan where we had the opportunity to see and even touch pandas in the Panda Base Center (because we made a donation). 🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼
23 November 2016
After a short walk in the city we decided to go and see the Wenshu Monastery in the very near to our hotel, one of the biggest Zen temples in China. It's so strange that they offer food to man-made statues in the hope of receiving health and prosperity. Also in my opinion idolizing deceased monks or in other words any human being shouldn't be the essence of any religion. What I liked the most was how much care they give to the park.
A picture says more than a thousand words. The food in Chengdu is really really spicy!
Our room and some pictures from the Buddha Zen Hotel in Chengdu. 😊
23 November 2016
There were two other really kind and nice people with us from the hostel. They also took pictures and sent them via WeChat.
For our trip to Chengdu we hired a local driver with the help of the hostel manager's girlfriend. He was driving like crazy. His driving style let us think that he's some sort of a race driver. But then we saw that many Chinese drive the same way. And I think that exactly this mentality leads up to situations like the one in the picture with the ambulance, where the ambulance was blocked by all the Chinese who wished to get to their destination faster by fighting for every meter, even if it means to use the service lane in the case of any traffic jam. The people were even trying to overtake the ambulance. 😐
We decided really super spontaneously to go on a horse trekking tour with Tibetan locals (real nomads) as tour guides on our third day in Aba. We went up to the peak and returned to the lunch spot (see the map), where we (7 ppl) ate two whole chickens.
22 November 2016
Horse trekking pt 4
We named our horses "Rebel Joe" (white) and "Jonathan" (black). Rebel Joe used to stop all the time at will to eat something and decided many times to take another route. 😏😁
Horse trekking pt 3
Horse trekking pt 2
We tried some different types of noodles in Aba, the touristic place where our hostel is (a pic is showing the reception room). China is indeed the home of all noodles and I guess spaghetti was invented here. :) We also had a delicious cheese cake with a Chinese Jujube Tea.
Jiuzhaigou day 2 pt 2
Jiuzhaigou day 2
21 November 2016
What we've experienced so far regarding the hotel services:
- Almost no one is really able to communicate reasonably in English. Even in the noble hotel Branley only the concierge could talk (with a strong accent).
- In every room there was a razor with a shaving creme, a toot brush, a comb, a bath foam, a shampoo, and the usual toilet necessaries
- It really depends on where you are staying overnight. In the hotels everything was clean and they adopted for special wishes like having the breakfast as a take away package, if you're leaving really early.
- On the other hand the hostel in Jiuzhaigou was beautifully presented but the room wasn't prepared at all. We arrived late in the night after our flight from Xī'ān to Jiuzhaigou and the room was very cold and the water not getting warm for about two minutes, and this is in a room called the deluxe room. It wasn't bearable at all so we had to change the room. But the service is really kind and warm hearted. :)
For our first dinner in the hostel we ordered the Tibetan Set for two people. It includes the Tsampa on the right (kind of reminded us of Turkish Helva), yak meat with a lot of fat attached to it, rice with fried yak meat, Chinese vegetables, and yak butter tea. The yak meat with fat was really special because you have to chew it for a long time. Some Chinese folks love it, when they have to chew for a while. If you're in the mood for a new taste, try this one.
Jiuzhaigou day 1 pt 2: It's amazing how fast we're able to get in touch with the Chinese. :) The Chinese in the pic from the street works in environmental protection. 👌
In our first day at the Tibetan Barley Hostel we had chinese breakfast, ie. hot noodle soup with yak meat (yummy!). Afterwards the hostel manager explained patiently everything important to us about the tickets, how to look for a taxi etc. Then we went on to hike in the Jiuzhaigou national park, although a lot of paths were closed because of the low season and the winter. If you want to see everything, then you should come here in the summer (or find a way in to the closed paths 😎). But note that this place is a major PoI for the Chinese, so in the summer it is going to be overcrowded. This place is just beautiful. 😍😊🤗
20 November 2016
Jiuzhaigou day 1 pt 3
Views of and from the City Wall in Xī'ān which was built as a military defense system. Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to rent a bicycle. Definitely worth seeing if you're in the mood for a walk or a ride!
Impressions of the Terracotta Army Museum
18 November 2016
After a short flight from Beijing to Xī'ān, now we're at the Branley Hotel in our king size luxury room. 😎😇
Yeah, the smog is just crazy. 😮
Some pictures from the inside of some buildings in the Forbidden City. We even managed to get to the other side of the restricted area. We're rebels! 😎😅👿
General impressions of the Forbidden City
17 November 2016
Tiān'ānmén, the place where every morning just before sunrise the roads are closed and the Chinese flag gets run up a mast after a small military group marched across to the square. 👑
This is also the area where the so called Tiananmen Square Massacre (labelled as 'political turmoil between the Spring and Summer of 1989' by the government) happened, a student-led pro-democracy protest throughout China where hundreds have died in 1989. 😯
There is also the mausoleum with the body of Mao Zedong but we didn't see a reason to go to see a body (no matter the identity behind the body, it wouldn't make any difference to us). But still there was a long waiting line. 😏
During our wandering at the site we met a group of Chinese people who went up the mountain near by and since they told us that there would be a part of the Great Wall, we decided to follow their lead. My wife practiced her Chinese and after a while they tried to talk English with her and quickly switched back to Chinese. So few Chinese are able to speak decent English (unfortunately the same holds true for the hotel staff). It was a great time and we learnt that they're coworkers doing a team event by going to the Great Wall. They kindly invited us to take us back to Beijing with their bus and even to join them for dinner, but we thought joining them would be too much. We once walked through a small village where an old lady was selling walnuts and realised that the Chinese think of raw walnuts as a speciality.
Back at the hotel we ate Kung Pao Chicken, soft fried shrimps and rice, and then went to sleep early.
General impressions of the Great Wall around Beijing at a place called Lakeside Great Wall.
16 November 2016
We went for a walk around the touristic area in Beijing to sea the night life: strip clubs, restaurants, lots of bars with live bands, small shops all side by side. And for the first time I ate something 'bad'... the dumplings were good but the slimy noodles on the right side, liyangpi, weren't eatable. 😧
My wife kept our next accommodation a secret and surprised me with her choice. In midtown there is this hotel called Courtyard in Beijing - nice! :)
♪♫♬ Döner... macht schöner ♬♫♪
Kebab has invaded the world! (At least the Qingdao train station) 😏
15 November 2016
Now this is interesting. There's an app called Didi, which is used to hire a driver near by just like a taxi, very similar to Uber. But the payment is done through an app called WeChat, which reminds me of WhatsApp with a bank account attached to it. WeChat is so much more than just a messaging app and almost everyone is using it here (no one knows WhatsApp). The Chinese have developed some nice apps. 👌
A gathering of old ladies in the "Night Market". My wife told me that they agree on a time and place and then meet up to dance together (senior style). 🤖
Some pics from old town (unfortunately the Catholic Church was closed) and the old German colony, where we saw a guy dancing with two kids in a park, obviously teaching them how to dance. 😎 Maybe I'll upload the video to my personal YouTube channel.
14 November 2016
Insider's tip: Mamajia (Mama's noodle house)... so freaking delicious! 🤓
Lao Shan mountain pt 2
Lao Shan mountain :)
Seems like they ran out of nails and used the good old stones instead. 😅
13 November 2016
Culinary impressions... the rice plate and the beef soup are from a so called 'Muslim Restaurant' (really advertised as such) and the other picture is from a Korean Restaurant (soft tofu soup is missing in the pic) where you have to put the meat and the side dishes with a sauce into lettuce leaves.
One of the city's landmark called the May Wind at the May 4th Square. We even found young students who were eager to talk to us to practice their English. 😄
Some general impressions of Qingdao
That sums it up :)
13 November 2016
Ok here is the 'epic' plan for our China🀄 trip:
- Qingdao, until 16th: Bazar and old town, climbing the Lao Shan mountain 🗻🎎
- Beijing, 16th-18th: the Great Wall and the Forbidden City together with Tiān'ānmén (the Gate of Heavenly Peace)🏯
- Xī'ān, 18th-19th: the Terracotta Army and the City Wall
- Jiuzhaigou, 20th-22nd: the Valley of Nine Fortified Villages (nature reserve in the Sichuan province) 😍😎🏞
- Chengdu, 23rd-24th: Panda base 🐼 and the city itself 🌃
- The rest in Qingdao until 26th: let's see :)
Shanghai airport was so big, that I first went to the wrong check-in terminal as there were no info boards in the baggage claim area pointing to the other terminals. 😇
Even more interesting though was the snack which was given during my flight to Qingdao. A small bread filled with chicken and some delicious sauce. Now finally arrived in Qingdao and my lovely wife is cooking dumplings for me. 😍
11 November 2016
I wonder if not one but two screens can make my long flight a bit more bearable. ;)
The journey begins. After a short flight from Zurich to Paris now I'm waiting at the gate to board the flight to Shanghai Pu Dong. Final destination God willing Qingdao. :)