Qingdao ALSO has shops. Believe it or not.
We wanted to pick up some Chinese language learning books so went to the largest book store in the city. They didn't have what I was looking for. The same books on Amazon cost $30 each. Bill bought his in Beijing's Wangfujing for $8 each. It seemed so strange to go into a book store and not be able to read a single book! Weird. Some looked really interesting too. Rats.
While I was looking for books in the Chinese Learning section a young student approached me. He said that he's a paid trannslator. He's currently trying to translate a technical business book from Chinese to English but he's having problems with a section on injection molding. He wanted to know if I could help him translate it into proper English. He began a lengthly explanation but I was having a little problem following him. Something about injection molding procedures. After several attempts at explaining a technical paragraph I suggested that he send me the rough translation by email. I'd smooth out the translation and send it back. He seemed very grateful. He says he gets 180 yuen per hour for his translation services. That's about $20 an hour. We parted by exchanging email. I haven't received the text yet. I really hope I can help him out. One thing is for sure, China needs more English translators. Some of the signs I've seen caused me to do a double take, others I simply could not understand even though they were in my language.
I bought a gangbi (fountain pen) while in the book store. I couldn't resist. It cost about $11 U.S. but in the States it would cost about $50 to $100. What a deal. Not as good a deal as in Yangshou where I bought two gangbis for just $2 each. They write just a well. Okay, so they didn't come with a box.
We were tired so headed to the food court to get something to eat. (It's tought out here walking all over the place. I'm so glad I have great shoes. My feet never bothered me a bit.) Yeah, it's true, Qingdao has a modern shopping mall complete with a food court. If you transported yourself to Qingdao and walked in, you'd think you were in any United States shopping mall. Except, of course, for the Chinese signs. Oh, there's one other difference. In the American shopping malls the center isles are filled with chocolate and candy stands. China's "candy" stands offer fish. There are bins and bins of dried fish, shredded fish, shrimp, and sea slugs. Yummy stuff. This gives the place a sort of seashore aroma.
I did manage to find a Starbucks in the mall. It's exactly like any you'd see in the states. Unfortunately they didn't have Mocha Valencia, my favorite. They had mocha coffee and Carmel Macchiato. But those are so last week. I really, really wanted to try a Mocha Valencia in China. Maybe by next visit they'll have it on their picture menu.
Buying lunch is interesting. In the U.S. you order, pay, and go. In Qingdao's food court you select what you want, walk to the center and buy a plastic card with the value encoded on a magnetic strip (looks like a credit card), then go back and order, then pay, then sit down, then wait until your number is called. So there is lots of walking around and by the time you get your meal you ARE hungry. Oh, and they reuse the wooden chopsticks so if you are at all squeamish, bring your own.
I really intended to do a little more sketching on the trip but if I did I'd have taken less pictures and done less on the blog. Nonetheless I was able to do some silly little sketches while waiting for Lynn or Ruth to decide on what they were going to buy.
"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." -Beverly Sills