Friday, September 12, 2008

St. Louis of the East

Qingdao is proud of its beer. It's everywhere. Walking down the street, people call "TsingTao PiJiu" my way, letting me know they've got beer; nevermind their food. They do beer differently here than in Beijing. Rather than tall bottles, every restaurant has kegs stacked outside (not refrigerated). You can even get it take away in plastics bags--they sell it by weight. I visited the brewery yesterday, which had a nice little museum that explained the century-long history of TsingTao, all the way from its German roots.

Other than the beer, QingDao is just kind of a typical big city. The beaches leave a little to be desired, and the haze/smog is ridiculous until late in the day when it finally burns off. There is a great fresh food market just down the street from where I'm staying...lots of fresh fish, crabs and shellfish. Fresh baked goods and tons of fruit and veg. And the smells... well, it's a unique combination of good and bad. One food specialty of Qingdao is barbecue skewers. Restaurants set up a little grill out front and cook up skewers of seafood and pork with delicious seasonings.

I'm off to Shanghai in a couple hours on an overnight train. Something like 18 hours! It's my understanding that Shanghai has perhaps topped Hong Kong as Asia's top city. Construction is everywhere and it's very modern and metropolitan. So I'll get in, see the sights and get out. More to come, from Shanghai!

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