Day 623: Guten Tag!

15.09.10:

So Qingdao , what are you famous for?  Ah, you were a German concession town were you?  And you’re where the Tsingtao brewery is based?  Excellent.  I’ll have a pint.  What’s that?  It’s 50p? I’ll take two.  Ahh…

My love affair with China (so much easier to navigate than anywhere in Africa, the Middle East or India ) undiminished, I arrived in Qingdao hoping to take the ferry to Korea today.  Seriously, if this was India, I would have had to give five months notice, spent three days trying to find the correct window and drafted a memo the length of the Gettysburg address to explain exactly why I wanted to get on the ferry (as well as supplying the mortal remains of my great grandfather to prove I’m not of Pakistani descent).  But this is China , so I just asked for a ticket, paid the money and got the ticket.

Super.

So I had a day to mooch around Qingdao .  Nice little seaside town.  Like Llandudno.  If it was German.  And in China .  A couple of nice churches that somehow survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution and a pier with a splendid pagoda at the end of it.  All pretty damn sweet.  Oh and did I mention that a pint of beer is 50p?  Actually, that’s if you buy it in a restaurant.  You can get it at the 7 Eleven for like buttons.  In fact, I think they pay you.

Strangely enough though, no bars.  Or at least no bars that I could find.  I found a couple, but they were closed.  Maybe the beer-cheaper-than-water policy only works because the pubs aren’t open all day.  They don’t want the Ibiza crowd turning up, do they?

It was lovely to see the old Pacific again, according to Andy in The Shawshank Redemption, the Pacific has no memory.  Which may be bad for homeopathy, but it was good for me, as last time I saw it I was drunkenly mouthing obscenities at it from a beach in El Salvador .  Although the fact that it purposely wet my shoes makes me think that Andy might have been taking out of his arse.

Soon enough I was embarking on the overnight ferry to Incheon,  South Korea .  The only other westie on board was a guy from all over the shop (as was his accent) called Dane.  He had lived in the UK , South Africa , Hong Kong … you name it, he’d probably hung his hat there for a good while.  We teamed up and got drinking with the locals.  I was introduced to the HORROR that is Kimchi – Korean fermented cabbage (yes it tastes as bad as it sounds – and smells) as well as Cheongju – fermented rice wine.  After giving both a try, I decided to stick with the beer.  You always know where you are with beer. Did I mention it was 50p?