Tuesday, June 10, 2014

China 2014 part 4 - Qingdao


If you want to improve your Chinese and learn a lot about what kind of country China is, you could do a lot worse than looking up 天天把歌唱 on the internets.  Today's program, heavily based on 中国梦, signed off with an ode to the high-speed rail system.  Seriously.  坐上高铁去北京 is a real song.

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0267. Down into the high-speed departure area at Shanghai Hongqiao.

I couldn't go get an extra cap with breakfast due to time constraints, but after a little poking around at the station, I got a bag full of quality from Bread Talk.  This will cover lunch as well, which is good since it's a seven-hour train.  How on earth is that a "G" only up to Shandong?  (Answer: because you are not good at estimating distances, duh.  Shanghai to Qingdao is a minimum of about 350 miles, the train is not an express, and most of the track down the peninsula into the city is not rated beyond K speeds.)

- Qingdao -

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0268. The wreckage.

I spent several fruitless hours looking for a bus connection north, then dragged myself out to grab some beer and snacks.  I got these, but got pulled into drinking with some Chinese dudes in the minimart; I amazed them with my beertank ability and won about 4/6 tests of strength, but baijiu was ultimately my undoing.  It was a fun time, but horking up a freshly eaten sandwich afterwards was decidedly less fun.  Moral of the story: if you must drink baijiu, don't do it on an empty stomach.  Better, of course, is to not drink baijiu in the first place, but it's difficult to do that in China without, like, completely avoiding socialization.


So despite the booze-up and the shitty hotel circumstances that made me feel a lot less sorry for puking on them than I really ought've, I was up with the sun again and out front by 6, showing no lack of taxis.  It'll be expensive, but I should be able to get out tomorrow without undue difficulty; I'll still try to ask at the desk, though.

A quick hour's hike got me from there to the 青啤 brewery; of course, this was two hours before it opened, so I had some time to write up the inbound pics.

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0269. German-style buildings on Hunan Road.

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0270. Mosaic further east.

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0271. It's like a tropical annex of Thuringia.

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0272. The big Second Empire block of the local government.

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0273. Tower of the Protestant church.

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0274. Beer Street service cover.

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0275. Main front of the Tsingtao brewery.

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0276. Branded cladding on the tanks.

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0277. Up the bar street.

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0278. Parklet, sculpture, and hanging tank thermometers.

Still and hour and a half.  This sucks.  I hate, hate, hate waiting around doing nothing.  I'd much rather be up the road, but since I have that G train tomorrow (and don't need to split for Yantai for the ferry to Dalian), I'm damned if I'm not going to get some tank-fresh Qingpi out of this stop.  Wait wait wait.

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0279. A beer-bottle bench.  This is a legit tourist point, not just for cap-collecting weirdos.

Others have remarked on the alleged hilliness of Qingdao.  These people are hallucinating.  It's hillier than the plains around Shanghai, but as the AIR proved, so are most pancakes at appropriate scale.  The hills have nothing on Vladivostok, which is good because I'm not in Vladi-hill-climbing shape.  There's also consistent good breezes off the water, which makes what hills there are somewhat easier, and cleans up the air a little.

Finally, I got in, and my adventures continued.

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0280. A stone barrel doorstop.

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0281. Beer in stone.

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0282. The modern brewery.

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0283. From the first rebuild.

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0284. Older usage.

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0285. Beer as a liver aid.  Maybe if it's replacing 白酒...

v14. Beer fountain.

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0286. A still of it.

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0287. Dionysos with a keg.

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0288. Historical change.

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0289. Articles of incorporation and concession.

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0290. Old labels; the NSDAP guys should have stayed off the imported stuff.

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0291. After the Japanese takeover.

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0292. Brewery official seals.

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0293. Ads from the Nationalist period.

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0294. Hard handwork kept the brewery going at the start of the revolutionary era.

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0295. This place literally wrote the book on brewing in China.

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0296. Bottle brush for export.

0297. (DNCO) About it; this is about the absolute worst thing that can happen to a brewery (a bottle brush broke off in early 1979 and made it out of the brewery in a bottle of beer exported to Hong Kong), and it is absolutely certain, though unsaid, that several people lost their lives or freedom over that brush.

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0298. First fruits from the first Qingdao beer festival.

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0299. Unfinished graphs; they'll paste the columns in when the accounts for this year and next come in.

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0300. Light-up track through the old brewing process.

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0301. Worldwide connected.

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0302. Some I hadn't collected yet.  (These were partly filled in later in the museum, and partly in Harbin.  All are currently on the board.)

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0303. Under the old tanks.

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0304. One of the original kettles.

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0305. Old implements.

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0306. Inside one of the kettles.

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0307. Stirrer and strewn grain.

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0308. A nice display of regular and toasted malts in the floor.

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0309. Old malt shovels.

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0310. Malting, 1930s style.

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0311. Recycling the remains.

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0312. The modern flow.

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0313. Again, lights out.

v15. Flowing taps.

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0314. Necessary; the non-cutout lintel is at about 6' even.

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0315. Old yeast systems.

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0316. Original yeast recovery.

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0317. Fermentation tanks.

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0318. Old-school open-tank fermenting.

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0319. Original lagering barrels.

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0320. Modern steel tanks.

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0321. It's official, it's a health food.

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0322. World beer wall; of the distinct beers here (there are a lot of Bud and Macau Beer repeats), I have drunk and collected about half.  I didn't stand around and do a tally, but by eye it might be as low as 40% or as high as 60%.

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0323. First taste.  This is unfiltered, and as a consequence a little more sweet-and-sour than 青啤 usually is; this is probably the result of putting rice in the mash (and not controlling hard enough for fructivorans), because Reinheitsgebot-compliant beers don't do this when unfiltered.

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0324. Old filtering gear.

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0325. The modern filtration room.

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0326. More of the pipes and tanks.

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0327. Кириллица 不是 Latin; it's hard to tell them apart sometimes, but you still need to pick exactly one.

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0328. Old packaging.

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0329. More of the keg end.

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0330. Early communist labels and packaging.

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0331. Tops of the tanks outside.

v16. Bottlers at work.

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0332. Awarded treasures.

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0333. A glass of 'klarer'.  Much better; if you put weird things in your mash, you fucking better filter it.

At the gift shop, I got a bunch of work souvenirs and two caps I didn't have yet.

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0334. Outside of the Wine Museum; there's no tradition worth speaking of, but as per Macau four years ago, wine has status in China and beer doesn't.

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0335. Nice greenery on the Wine Street.

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0336. A look up into the mountain.

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0337. Greenery going downhill.

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0338. TV tower over a first-class parking lot by the zoo.

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0339. Another, wider, view.

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0340. Urban forest and fence.

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0341. Off to a high Western-style house.

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0342. Other side of the parkland.

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0343. Down at the beach.

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0344. Hilltop temple.

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0345. Dolphins on the beach.

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0346. Along the east point.

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0347. Pines and a pavilion. Eastern Qingdao is really reminiscent of western Japan.

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0348. A neat rock formation by the water.

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0349. Graphic, but probably necessary.

PLA Navy Naval Museum

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0350. Anchor and screws out front.  There was an interior exhibit of photos from the history of the building of the PLA Navy, including a lot of minor naval engagements against Taiwanese and allied (frequently US) forces, but there were No Photo signs, and when you're an American on Chinese military property, you respect those unless you've got no major attachment to 1) the rest of your pictures and 2) spending the next 6 to 18 hours not getting yelled at by guys in blue suits.

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0351. A cool spiral staircase on a neighboring house.

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0352. Naval aviation.  These were free for pictures, because seriously, what is the risk?  Foreign militaries may get an idea of what outmoded equipment has been retired from active Chinese service?

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0353. Back end of a huge flying boat.

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0354. Some marine gear as well.

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0355. One of the first to wear the PLA star.

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0356. Sting in a recce bomber's tail.

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0357. Landed patrol boat.

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0358. Line astern.

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0359. Antiship artillery.

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0360. Business end.

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0361. Armed landing craft.

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0362. Under the nose of the flying boat.

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0363. Mothballed ships and skyline.

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0364. Destroyer and a harbor island.

Museum over, I stopped in at a small family restaurant for lunch.

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0365. Lunch; hot stirfried sea snails.  As the oceans get exhausted, this may be coming to a plate near you.

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0366. Bonus; not a snail, but a hermit crab fry.  I got two of these, but couldn't extract the other from the shell.

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0367. Backup pantry.  I didn't notice this in time to instead point and say 请给我那条银色的鱼,红烧.

Lunch over -- I ate all the snails I could extract, and all the non-chili-pepper other stuff on the plate -- it was up the road to the German prison museum.

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0368. Carcass/1984 style.

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0369. Secure corridor.

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0370. Martyrs of the May 4 uprising that eventually pushed out the Japanese (well, until the war started).

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0371. Prisoners packed into the cells.

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0372. German warden's office.

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0373. Map and imperial eagle.

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0374. Solidity, but style, descending.

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0375. In the underground torture cells, put in or at least built out by the Japanese.

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0376. Interrogation chair.

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0377. Brutality backlit.

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0378. The rack and the hot iron.

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0379. Stringing frame with whips and chains.

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0380. Outside the prison, headed away.

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0381. Front of the Tien Hou temple.

0382. (DNCO).

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0383. The famous pavilion.  It was packed, I didn't bother hiking out.

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0384. Rail station and apartment blocks.

I haven't had beer out of a bag yet -- and that's more of a summer thing, so it may not happen -- but in all other ways I'm pretty satisfied with this visit to Qingdao.  I'll try to get a bag beer this evening, then eat a bowl of Lanzhou lamian on the street or something.

Got 'em both, and plenty of time to rest up for tomorrow's early start.

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0385. Catholic cathedral at sunset.

0386. (picture superseded) Bag beer GET.  The Wikitravel directions are unduly specific, but poke around the Sifang Road market, and sooner or later you'll find someone minding a keg with bags next to it.

The Sifang Road market is worth a visit even without the beer.  It's the only wet market I've ever seen live chickens at, let alone the scallops snapping in the air, every imaginable kind of vegetable, butchers smoking as they chop, and old women who point and laugh not at the giant foreigner, but at the immense cloggers on his feet.  There are probably market streets like this all along the coast (and with fewer fish inland), but this is the one in Qingdao, and it rules pretty hard.

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0387. Another view of the cathedral.  Qingdao has a reputation as a romantic city, with the unspoiled coastline and large numbers of well-preserved Imperial German buildings, so it's not surprising to see scads of brides getting their wedding pictures done in the cathedral square.  There were other concessions, but the Germans built their churches in severe and durable stone, with restrained lines that probably helped them survive the more iconoclastic times.

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0388. A better shot of the beer bag.  I did not save this, because at the end, it was a flimsy plastic bag full of beer foam.

The best way to drink this is to tie off the mouth of the bag, tip it to pour the beer into one corner, and bite a hole in the corner that doesn't have beer in it.  You can now drink from it at leisure like an improvised wineskin.

I mastered beer in a bag,  but I still don't know what the other seven strangenesses of Qingdao are.

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0389. Lanzhou lamian (pulled noodles).  There were originally a few more flakes of beef in the bowl, but I got hungry.  This is a big dinner for a hard-working fisherman or 工人, but still drops in at a wallet-friendly 9元.  Yes, $1.50.  You could maybe make it for $3 in the US and rake it in, but we don't have enough Lanzhou Muslim dudes to run the shops.

I also picked up a couple beers and a half-yuan note; I'll stay up and drink some, then save the rest for the train.

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