On Saturday, Intern China Qingdao organized a painting class for all the interns in Qingdao including their host families. A famous painting teacher taught us how to paint flowers and it seemed surprisingly easy, however, it was more difficult than expected. The whole painting class lasted about 1-2 hours and we sure had a great time and as you can see by these pictures taken during the painting class, everyone was busy with their paintings. Some even turned out to have some hidden talent… and unfortunately some not. The painting class was a culture activity that we hoped to bring the interns to get to know the host families. Altogether, it was a nice experience and we could even bring home our paintings to keep it as a memory.
This is Stefan from Internchina Qingdao blogging. Some news to update you: Internchina Qingdao office is proud to present its first Bar Tour on February 11th! It was an amazing pub crawl well organized by Franzi for her very last weekend in Qingdao as an Internchina intern 🙁 Thank you so much for everything!
Back to topic: 15 participants divided in groups of 3 people (with at least one girl in each group to keep fair conditions) tried their best to be the first group in the last bar, in order to get the prize of free beer. We had quite a lot new arrivals these days so it totally made sense to let them get to know Qingdao’s nightlife and the new intern community. Despite the competitive character, the atmosphere was relaxed and – for sure – everybody had great times. Altogether 6 Bars were involved and had great offers of 7 drinks and snacks. For every Bar each participant got his Bar Visa stamped to make sure, no one skips a Bar to be the first group. Although there was not really a danger of people skipping drinks, which they would get for special offer . We started at Diner22 with a cocktail of our choice and some snacks to be prepared for the evening. The route for the next stops (Terrazzo, Old Jack’s, Charlie’s Bar and LPG) could be chosen by every group itself. However, except one group we all took the same ways, enjoying the drinks together. The variety of drinks we got in every Bar ranged from Cocktails, over beer, shots, wine and Long drinks. That night’s destination that had to be reached safely and with full stamp card, was Carnegie’s in Zhonglian Plaza. Oh and… well, guess who’s team won? I had loved to drink my winner beer but someone stole it!… The destination Zhonglian Plaza was of course also well chosen, since it is well known party area in Qingdao. For those who still didn’t had enough after 6 Bars and at least 7 drinks, there is Ye Chao Club right next door of Carnegie’s. Fortunately, everybody made it to the final stop without any bigger incidents.
The next Bar Tour will be in March, the exact date will be announced soon! Hard to top that pub crawl but we are working hard on it 🙂
Hopefully see you on the next tour then!
Stefan – Bar Tour Champion February 2012
It’s Christmas time! Even in China! For all of us who couldn’t get in Christmas mood yet with plastic trees and decoration, we (Internchina Team Qingdao) went to Christmas dinner together.
In the small but really nice restaurant “Café Roland” in Badaguan, we had our private little Internchina table. Although the restaurant’s name sounds German, they offer Mediterranean food, mainly Italien and Spanish. After delicious entries from salad, over pizza-bread to scallops, we had pizza, noodles and paella. Together with some fancy drinks and a nice and cozy atmosphere it was a great start into Christmas time in China. A huge “Thank You!” to Yifan and Frank who invited us all this evening 🙂
We wish everyone a happy Christmas time and if you feel like a cup of “Glühwein” or some Christmas cookies, feel free to drop by and we celebrate together 🙂
Hello and ni hao everyone!
I’m Stefan, the new intern at Internchina’s office in Qingdao. First, I’d like to share my first impressions and thoughts as well as my knowledge about the city with you. Welcome to my short excursion 🙂
As you might know, Qingdao is a city located at the east coast of China. It’s harbour is the third biggest all over Mainland China (right after the mega cities Hong Kong and Shanghai). This cosmopolitan city has experienced a lot of changes during the last century. Therefore its impact in history is quite interesting – especially for me as a German.
In response to a German delegate’s murder and the Boxer Rebellion in the late Qing-Dynasty (1616-1911) which primarily was against any foreign influences, the prior German emperor ‘Kaiser Wilhelm II’ declared Qingdao in his famous ‘Hunnenrede’ (Huns speech) to be a German flagship colony in 1900. Hence, you still can see some German-style architecture here (at least it’s supposed to be western-style). The architecture differs a lot from all the prefabricated buildings and skyscrapers which can be found in every other Chinese city like Beijing, Shanghai and so on. I guess that’s one of many points why I already like Qingdao so much! Back to the western influences: best example for this might be the brewery where the famous Qingdao Beer (or Tsingtao Beer) has its origins. Btw, it’s the most drunken beer all over Asia! For that reason, Dengzhou Road – the street with the brewery – is called Beer Street and has countless bars and restaurants. It honestly spoken is comparable with a Disney World theme park with beer as main attraction. Even the bench seats at the roadside are bottle formed. That’s really impressive!
Besides this I enjoy the really expensive seafood here. Further, there are a lot of spots that totally deserve to be visited. Just pick one of plenty activities to create your weekend. The nightlife is in no way inferior to Beijing’s. I think, I’ll go to watch a Qingdao Double Star basketball game next weekend.
I’m really glad to have the opportunity to stay here for six months. It definitely will be an interesting time for me.
I hope my first blog post wasn’t too lame 😉
You’ll get some updates soon,
Like prima-ballerinas we were hovering over the ice, with triple loop jumps and artistic figures, impressing the young Chinese audience with an outstanding performance.
Well, at least kind of… It was more polishing the ice with our bottoms than moving like ice-princesses.
Looking a little insecure with blades under the feet most of us where stuck to the walls of the ice rink or anyone still standing when our skating event started. After a few careful steps most of us were able to make their first slow rounds through the rink, except our 2 Chinese ladies who already had a few ice-booty contacts trying to get away from the wall.
Only real pro was Dima, who was impressing the ladies with a racy and powerful free skate, 10 points for that!
But back to those still trying… After a few rounds where everyone had taken Rita’s hand trying to explain the best way not to fall, she finally found her master. 7 year old Chinese boy, judging from his equipment of helmet and full-body protectors obviously familiar with ice-body contact, was patient enough to tease out Rita’s hidden talent.
Winged by our success on the ice (and not distracted by green and blue bottoms), we will definitely improve our skills next time. Feel free to join us! 🙂
After a great night at the pool party, few of us had a wine tasting at our intern-apartment. With Terry from Maui (www.maui.com.cn) who import food and wine from New Zealand and which is, compared to Chinese wine, not only drinkable, but really enjoyable!
After a short presentation about the regions where the wine is grown we tasted 4 different wines: first 2 white wines (with which you usually start because they have a lighter taste than red-wine) followed by 2 red wines. Unlike professional wine-taster we didn’t spit out the wine we tasted, because when do you have the chance to drink such good wine in China?
Tasting wine follows three steps: At first you take a look at the wine, check the colour if its very light and clear or rather dark. After that, you smell the flavors of the wine. We were basically only able to decide between fruity and not fruity, but Terry was a real pro. When he was smelling a new wine he noticed the aroma of strawberries, or oak, or whatever came into his nose. After three bottles, everything somehow smelled and tasted the same. But we were still able to decide between white and red wine.
Winners of this night were a white Sauvignon Blanc (the first wine we tasted when all senses still worked), which was very fruity and made us dream of a warm summer night, and the last red wine, a Merlot (don’t really remember why).
So if you are interested in tasting really good wine and getting it for special price, I can only recommend a relaxed and nice atmosphere with Amber Wines and Terry.
‘Bring Back Summer’ was Saturday nights party slogan at Hilton Hotel, Qingdao. And they definitely brought back summer! In their 28 degree hot indoor-pool area with palms, cocktail-bar and free snacks all night you could escape freezing Qingdao winds for one night.
Picked up by a shuttle bus at Jusco, and equipped with the first bottle(s) of beer, the way to the hotel felt a little like back in the old days on a school trip with 15.
With a warm welcome form the Hotel Manager in shorts and a cocktail in his hands, we were led to the pool area where we had our welcome drinks and got ready to jump into the cool water. The water wasn’t exactly cool, but still refreshing; you could play water-volleyball or just drift away with a cocktail on an inflatable mattress. For the bikini figure, the party organizers provided mini-hotdogs and pizza for free all night. With a constant temperature of 28 degree, they kept all of us thirsty the whole night. Which later at night led to more and more people becoming victims of a mixture of too many cocktails, the urge to move their bodies to the music and a slippery ground…
With nice summer-music in relaxed atmosphere and cool cocktails it was the perfect escape on a freezing November day. Sweating while everyone is shivering outside just feels great!
This sunday 4 braves (me, Franzi, Rita and Benjamin) decided to try out the Chinese mantis kung fu. The Northern Praying Mantis is a style of Chinese martial arts. It was created by Wang Lang and named after the praying mantis insect. The reason therefore is the similar hand posture. So we met the kung fu teacher Mr Pan with his pupil Mr Xin near the beach for one and a half hours hard Bruce Lee training.
First of all Mr Pan showed us the moves we would learn (or should learn) and it was absolutely impressive to see a 58 years old, 1,60 meters small Chinese guy doing these powerful exercises. After that it was our turn and I think we did it pretty well for the first time, mainly because of Rita who always translated for us. After practicing alone for a while everybody got an opposer and it was time to ‘fight’. It was an absolutely effective self-defence-training. After an hour we stopped the training as the grils really destroyed our wrists… no seriously, when you practice the whole time how to break ones bones and wrists you need a break. So Mr Pan and Mr Xin showed us further close combat techniques and different kung fu-styles.
All in all it was really interesting to get a look into the Chinese martial arts and we’ll definitely train again!
To all “Yùndòngyuán“ ( 运动员 ),
I want to dedicate this blog entry to a mysterious, hidden but at the same time fantastic place…
The “Fight Club” (Bó Jī Jù Lè Bù – 搏击俱乐部)!!!
Maybe first some background information: Jenny used to train long time ago with a wise, old and peculiar Chinese Kong-Fu/Kick-Boxing teacher, “Lǎoshī“ (老师), which dedicated plenty years of his glorious life to different kinds of fighting sports. One day, he disappeared without a trace– no one knew where he has gone and why he left unannounced.
Some days after my arrival, after getting to know the Qingdao-guys, Jenny told me about her ambition for fighting sports (what I would never believe to be honest :)) and that she plans to revive this ambition by having work-outs on a regular basis, when finding the suitable location. Because I am also interested in these martial arts, we arranged to search for a “Fight Club”, which suits our needs. So we started consulting different people, visited different gyms and finally entered THE glorious “Fight Club”. By entering it – the place is just 5 Minutes away from our office, inconspicuously based on the third floor of a random building, you sense the atmosphere of freedom and peace. The place is not especially clean and well-equipped but looks more like a basement or underground “club”, a place for initiated; people who just want to escape the big-city-feeling and the routine working life. And guess who we met there, sitting on one of the nicely suiting sofas, immerged in the special atmosphere of the “Fight Club”? The mysterious, wise “Lǎoshī“(老师) or master “Guànjūn” (冠军)!!! Please don’t ask why he is there and how he managed to be invisible for such a long time (2 years!) – We simply don’t have a clue but we are pretty sure that this is miracle! 🙂 Because he knew Jenny from earlier times, he welcomed us all (the two of us and two other “fighting friends”) with the words: “ Finally you made it, I waited for YOU for a long time” ( Ok fine, he didn’t say it, he just speaks Chinese, that’s what I understood or would like to hear… -.- ) He introduced us to some (unwritten) rules, e.g. that by entering the place, you should forget the daily problems you are struggling around with – during the workout-time neither problems, nor sorrows exist. And it helps – to train there is like a “therapy”; not important with what mood you enter the “Fight Club”, you are always leaving this place with a positive attitude and in a much better mood!
But what is it exactly making this place so special?
First of all, it’s the “underground” style itself – it looks like someone just said he wants to use a floor and opened a club, probably without having a license but the necessary connection. So you have a big floor, which is divided into separate “parts”, which altogether harmonize like different kinds of plants and trees in a forest. You have an area with punching bags, an area with a small boxing ring, an area functioning as a gym with some basic appliances, second area with mats and punching bags and an area which is not developed yet, also called the “black zone”, leading to a staircase, which brings you to a dancing place, where different kinds of dances are practiced (ranges from traditional dances to belly dancing :)). This area is occupied by (hot) Chinese girls, girls who also want to feel the magical atmosphere of the “Fight Club”.
Secondly, it’s the people training there, just Chinese people, ranging from very total beginners to very good fighters, from young to old and from pupils/students to business men. It is like a big family, everyone has a personal story to tell (in most cases in Chinese, so not everything is clear) but the sport bands us all together. Furthermore, you can try different sports, such as Chinese Kong Fu, Thai Boxing, Karate and others. You always can get assistance from one of the “Xiǎo Guànjūn´s“.
Last but not least, the place is just next to our office, so it´s really convenient and you can go there every day (!!!), from 10 am – 9pm. Because you know that after finishing work the traffic is horrible, going to our sacred place appears a reasonable alternative to go directly after work – after the work out you feel relaxed and it´s much more agreeable to go home, eating something and falling death on your bed! Moreover, because we represent “foreign faces” and make the place more multifaceted, we paid special prices, e.g. 1200 RMB for 1 year, which is a real gift for what the place offers!
Ok, enough rhapsodized about the “Fight Club”, I’m off for a work out there! We would be happy to welcome you one day to this place and feel the magic which is “hosted” here!
One thing in life is granted – no matter what happened in the past, there is always a next fight waiting for YOU! 😉
Though there are many reasons to still be awake at 6:00am on Saturday, there is only one reason to wake up at that time – a train ride to Taishan. Blurry eyed and longing for a nap on the train or a vat of coffee, our group of interns assembled at the Railway Station at 6:30. By the time we had boarded the train at 6:55, we were already down a man from the original ten who had planned to come on the trip; a solemn text message was all we heard from the intern who had overslept.
After a quick three hour train ride (I was asleep) we arrived in Tai’an, the city nestled at the foot of Taishan, and hailed our taxis to take us to the bottom of the eastern route up the mountain. We paid our entrance fees – 127RMB, or 67RMB with a Student ID- then climbed the first set of stairs on our way to a total 7,200. The first part of the mountain is pretty average; it’s basically like any other stroll in the woods, if those woods were lined with souvenir shops. Taishan is a great place to get little gifts for friends and family back home because there are hundreds of shops selling all manner of “historical” Taoist and Chinese gifts. Unless you’re trying to buy a sword, most gifts can be bought for below 30RMB and many for as little as 2RMB. Souvenirs aren’t expensive on Taishan because the real money is made selling food and water. The closer we got to the top the more expensive subsistence items got; the highest price anyone tried to sell us a bottle of water for was the ridiculous sum of 20RMB for a half liter.
The real hiking on Taishan begins after the Middle Gate – it’s from this point that the peak taunts you, shouting obscenities at you like a crazy football parent. The most ridiculous part of the second half of the hike is that this is where the majority of the Chinese tourists join the game; having taken a fleet of buses up the first part of the mountain. The trail becomes more and more crowded the closer you get to the peak and the rate of requests for ‘pictures with the foreigners’ increases tenfold. It is also on this part of the trail that lazy wealthy women pay 200RMB every 20 meters to be carried up the mountain in a chair so that they can feel like an empress for a day. This is particular disgusting when you realize that the last 30 minutes of the hike are a near vertical ascent up very narrow steps.
We reached the top about 4 and ½ hours after we had started from the bottom, and looked out across the valley of rolling hills and pot-hole lakes with a sense of pride and accomplishment. The beauty of Taishan cannot be fully appreciated until you look out upon the view from the top, it’s one of the most breathtaking sights in all of China, and makes you realize why over 6 million people travel to see it every year. After pausing to take in the views for a couple hours and eating a relatively inexpensive meal at a restaurant in the mountain top village, we made our way to the hotel to turn in for the night so that we would be rested for the sunrise.
Once again, there are many reasons to still be awake at 5:00am on Sunday, but there is only one reason to wake up at that time – the historic Sunrise of Taishan. Along with around a thousand other tourists, most of whom were dressed in lovely green military jackets, we braved the morning wind and tried our best to keep warm until the sun came up. As the sun winked at us for the first time that day camera clicks and howls of joy could be heard from every direction. If the weather grants you a perfect weekend there is no reason to climb Taishan without seeing the sunrise, every tired eye or aching leg is instantly cured once you see it.
The weekend was an excellent break from the urban landscape of Qingdao and provided all of us with a healthy dose of fresh air. If you get the chance to take a trip to Taishan before you leave, I know nine people who would highly recommend it.