Tuesday September 23 2014

Last time we visited Qingdao we had discovered the commodity market, a big indoor market that took up three floors of a large building. We’d arrived there an hour before closing time, which was not nearly enough time to fully explore the shopping possibilities, in my opinion anyways. Today I wanted to get some real shopping in. Feeling rushed by the deadline set by our train’s departure time (we were stopping in Weifang for kite shopping on our way home), I woke both Nate and I up early, and rushed us out the the market. I had to apologize to my sleepy and slightly grumpy fiance for the rush when I realized the market wasn’t even open yet!

The commodity market was a semi success. We had hoped to buy a backpacking bag for Nate there, but there was nothing appropriate for a good price. The pearls however were a different story. I got some good deals when I asked to buy multiple pearls, and the sneaky salesman kept adding in more good deals on top! I had to hand him my money and get out before he sold me the whole store! Got a feeling we both walked away happy from that transaction.

Next stop was Weifang, which we had been told was the kite capital of China. We wanted to buy a kite as a souvenir, and thought Weifang would be the place to find a good one. We didn’t have to go far, right next to the train station was a big underground market full of kites! We browsed for a while before deciding on a 3D eagle and a dragon with a ridiculously long tail.

I was tired, Nate was sick, and we still had a while to kill before our train left for Jinan. We bought a map at a convenience store and headed towards the nearest park, hoping to find some sort of tea house. No luck on the tea house, but there were some benches in the park that we were able to lie down on and close our eyes.

We were right by the river near a swampy alcove. There was a building looking down on us that would have made the perfect tea house. We lay down listening to the trees and the river and soon both of us dozed off. I woke to someone moving the big travel bag that I had leaning against my foot. “HEY!” I sat up startled. There was a man, wearing a blue coat, who started rattling on in Chinese about our bags. “Ting bu dong,” (I don’t understand) I told him, and eventually he went away. Every time we lay back down, that man would come back! I wasn’t sure what to think of it, it was very common to nap in parks in Shandong province, so I thought it was odd that anyone would even give us a second glance. Anyways we weren’t getting any sleep, so we decided to just move on.

We walked along the river, where groups of people were getting photos taken. One woman was in a wedding dress that was spread around her on the ground. The dress was so big that at first I didn’t’ notice that there was a woman in it at all!

In the end we went to the McDonald’s in the train station for tea. High above us, as we walked through the station, was a giant dragon kite that stretched across the ceiling, with flags from all over the world hanging from it.

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