Praktikum in China

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Discover Chinese culture, Events in Qingdao, Qingdao Blogs, Qingdao Nightlife

Electronic Underground: UNITT in Qingdao

Picture yourself sitting in a restaurant and overhearing a conversation of two random people sitting next to you. You are bored and alone and so you can’t help but listen. They are right now talking about an underground club they were in yesterday until 3 o´clock in the morning. They are talking about the music they heard, the people they saw, and about the cool location.
You will ask yourself: “why does he mention that?” Two people having a conversation about a night out in an underground club. Nothing remarkable about this!

But as I am describing you this image, I just showed you a small part of it. Like a zoomed-in shot in a movie. Let’s zoom out a little, and suddenly we realise the two people speaking, are Chinese. You will once again say: “Ok, but still why is he telling us this?” There is nothing special about it. So we zoom out a little more and notice we are in a Chinese restaurant in a Chinese city, Qingdao. Suddenly you notice that it is kind of special in any imaginable way.

Music in China

Let us be gentle and say that the underground scene in China is kind of underdeveloped. At least in comparison to the underground subculture in Europe or USA. And regarding electronic music, you don’t usually find a location playing EDM in China. And I don’t mean the type of club where the “DJ” is just some random guy fading one song out and the other in, while hopping around as if he has hurt his foot. You know the kind of guy, wearing his headphone only over one ear, and one hand is constantly waving as if he wants to scare away an imaginary fly that only he can see.

We are talking right now about the real deal. I mean a location where the guy or girl behind the turntables is actually mixing music. A club where you just go to dance and have a good time, and not for showing around the nice outfit you bought yesterday. A club where you’ll find like-minded people all there for the same purpose, gaining mental energy by getting lost of the physical one. All of that, in Qingdao? Of course in Qingdao!

UNITT Qingdao

The location I am talking about is literally an underground club, called: “UNITT”. As far as you can already tell by my plaidoyer for EDM you may not be surprised that I am an electronic music enthusiast. If the location is underground I prefer it even more. I got to know about it and the location from a fellow student.

I went there with her on a Saturday night to check it out. The first encounter is always the most important one. In this case it was magical. You arrive at the given address and first you see… nothing! The club is located in the suburbs of Qingdao, so you will find yourself in front of some closed shops and an entrance to an underground car park near a stadium.

My Experience

My fellow student was pointing at the entrance of the underground car park and told me to listen closely. I heard, very softly, the beat of a rhythm coming from beneath the surface. So, we went into the car park. The sound grew louder and suddenly we were standing in front of the characteristic UNITT sign, a stylized Chinese socket.

Standing in front of the UNITT Qingdao nightclub sign

The sound and the beat was even louder, and I suddenly noticed I was craving the beat. We went through the door, made from a cargo container -door, and suddenly we were inside the music. On that night, I had several “first-times”. First time seeing Chinese people dancing in this particular way, first time seeing people being there only for fun and first time seeing a real DJ in China. The whole location with its painted black walls, the small room with the big DJ-desk and the small lights on the table.

All together with the compatible soundtrack, it was a wonderful experience. I was so happy with that whole night and once again with the decision to come to Qingdao. When I left the club, with all my clothes fully sweated and the beat still inside my body I knew I would return. Qingdao has always the ability to surprise you.

The crowd in UNITT nightclub in Qingdao

Internship Experience, Qingdao Blogs, Things To Do in Qingdao

Alfred’s New Experiences in Qingdao

Do you know these moments in your life, when you are leaning against a railing in a harbour, looking at the waves without really looking? Smelling the salty sea scent and listening to the seagulls screeching, but you don’t listen and smell actively?
In these kind of moments, you will have a talk with yourself and ask in your head with a tremulous voice: “what the heck am I doing here?” At least it was like this in my case.

About Me

I am a 29-year-old German. I worked as a bank clerk for 6 years in Germany. And now after studying two and a half years I landed in Qingdao. How come?

Am I a romantic enthusiast that practiced traditional “fan-tai-chi”? Am I a lover of Chinese poetry? Did I watch too much Kung Fu Panda? Or do I just like to castigate myself learning all the Chinese characters?

Chinese women practicing fan tai chi

No, is the answer to all these questions, it was a reason wedding. But as history shows this can have quite good outcome (not that I recommend this style of marriage). In my case it pumped up the numbers quite high. While I used to ask myself the “what the heck?” question in quite unromantic places, now I can do this on the breath-taking coast of Qingdao.

Qingdao Weather

I am here now since February this year. So, I could witness the change in weather and environment in Qingdao. I was freezing my “lower area of the back” off due to the famous “Qingdao-wind” in winter time. In summer time “Mediterranean” heat let me sweat Niagara Falls out of my body. A big thanks to the inventors of heaters and air conditioners!

Experiences in Qingdao

Although this may sound like advertisement for Air-con, Heaters and Qingdao, it is my utmost honest view of Qingdao. I am now looking forward on all the cool things that I will see and experience here. Why am I telling you this? The reason why is, that from now on, I will try to keep you guys updated and informed about these experiences. Don’t worry, I will not share the hilarious story of how I bought a bus ticket or the tremendously fascinating day when I was doing absolutely nothing.

Alfred standing on a boat in the Qingdao sea

The goal of my articles, blogging and scribbling will be to give you interesting insights in daily life here in Qingdao. As well as providing you with interesting news and hidden highlights.

I hope that the reading will give you an image of China, maybe inspire you or at least will make you sit in front of the screen smirking.

Qingdao Blogs

Qingdao- Grab a Tsingtao Beer at the night market

When you first come to China and Qingdao you will notice many things that are different in comparison to the so called Western. Important in my opinion are the small things. Already while arriving at the Chinese airport you will learn that the Chinese way of standing in line or as it is called here, “pai dui” differs from the more or less passive aggressive way back home. Here you will have to use your whole body and stand your ground and protect your position. That small nice looking Chinese grandma behind you, that will not hesitate to get into the ten centimetres gap that you left unattended to your predecessor in line.
You may start getting angry but suddenly you made it out of the airport and find a cab to get you into the city. But all of a sudden you will have a conversation with the cabdriver, and after he asks you the magical question where you are from, he will smile and give you a short introduction in your country´s shared history with China, it is their way of politeness

When I first arrived in Qingdao I was disappointed, where were all the pagodas? Where were all the dragon dancers, the fireworks and the traditional Chinese clothing, the typical old guy in the commie outfit smoking his cigarette sitting on a small chair in front of his apartment.

A view of the beach, with rocks and stairs down to the coastline
Beach view Qingdao

Qingdao just seemed to be one of those „small“  Chinese cities inhabited by only a „couple“ of million people. Skyscrapers everywhere and Western clothed people running busy in the streets or driving their European cars to work stuck in the traffic on their way to work. You end up asking yourself “what to do in Qingdao?”.

But then you get to know the city and the people better, day by day, walking through the streets, eating your first street food chatting with the Chinese, who really are friendly and kind and very helpful. For example, I once was on the bus and it was crowded, then a woman went inside in the back of the bus, and she gave her wallet to the people who passed it on to the front of the bus for paying and after that back again. This was done so naturally and left me speechless. In Germany I would never dare to give my wallet to someone that I don’t know.

You will walk under the shadow of old trees along the small alleys of Old Town, and you will find a couple of old folks sitting around drinking tea, smoking and playing Chinese Chess or Cards. All outside and together, laughing and always with that one guy standing behind the players with the expression of unlimited knowledge about the game on his face. Then you head to a small restaurant on a street corner, and on impulse, you order beer in a bag. Yes, I am talking about a plastic bag, full of fresh and cool draft beer!

Waffles filled with ice-cream
Tasty ice-cream waffles with bubbles on the night market

You will hear people talking about the night market, as you did back in Europe and think of it as a magical place. Finally, you will get there and see everything, match your expectations, there are the red lanterns, there is the huge variety of different foods you heard of. Strolling around while eating a delicious lamp-kebab you find yourself asking the only question that matters: “Will I have ice-cream waffles after that?”. You will find things of high skilled craftsmanship, like beautiful carved combs, or if you are looking for it, a new case for your phone or sheets and blankets for your bed and a fan for the heat of the summer.

steam kitchen on the night market
Typical night market kitchen on Taidong

After that you will find yourself thirsty again leading up to the purchase of another bag of fresh draft beer, which you then carry around like your shopping purchases. You will head to the Beach near Lu Xun-Park with its beautiful small pavilions and wonderful trees, which is located right at the picturesque coast and its oddly shaped, reddish coloured plane rocks, where white crowned waves play around the cliffs.

Beer in see-through plastic bags
Plastic bags filled with beer, challenging to master, but rewarding with good taste

I was so satisfied with the city, with the people and also the weather. I walked my bag of beer around the city blocks always on my way to the coast. Finally, on the way there I saw him, the old Chinese man with the white small beard and hair, sitting on his small chair in front of his apartment, wizened but wise, wearing a blue hat with a red star on it, barely looking at me as I was walking by, smoking his cigarette, as he does every day.

Then I arrived at the former teahouse, with its pagoda-like ancient architecture, in Lu Xun-park and sat down on a bench near a small square where couples were dancing to Chinese music and children were running around. In front of me the ocean of the Yellow Sea in my hand the bag of cool Tsingtao draft beer, on my mind the fresh impressions of the night market, while listening to the music of the dancers. And then I realised that although Qingdao is far away from home, it really isn’t that different from what I’d imagined it to be. It is the small things that matter and that I started to like and which I am happy for being able to discover, here in Qingdao.

Lu Xun Park address:
鲁迅公园  莱阳路  25 号
Lu Xun gong yuan  lai yang lu 25 hao
Lu Xun park laiyang road no. 25

TaiDong : 
台东夜市, 台东一路
tai dong liu shi, tai dong yi lu
Taidong night market taidong-one road

Restaurant:
萃岛酒家,琴屿路
Cuidao jiujia Qinyu lu
Cuidao restaurant Qinyu road

 

Uncategorised

When it’s time to move on…

When I arrived in January, I wrote my first blog in French. It may have been easier to write my farewells in my mother tongue but I’m happily taking the risk to use my English skills to reach most of you.
The more I’m growing up, the more I find time hard to capture. I still remember the first day I entered the office, my first impressions, my first time using Mandarin or the first noodles I tasted, but I would have never imagined that I will be sitting here, trying to do a recap of the past 6 months I lived.

6 months is a long time but still, it passed in a blink of an eye. I have seen a lot of people leave, and now my turn has come!

The view from our balcony

To cut a long story short, my experience can be split with the seasons: Winter and Summer.

Winter in Chengdu was cold, with only a few interns in the city: a small group with big hearts, we all quickly became friends, fighting the coldness of the streets by getting to know each other in the warm and smoky bars of Chengdu. When they left, winter left with them, and was replaced by a fiery Spring/Summer, along with more than 50 interns. Now we are fighting the heat and humidity, and because there are so many people, it’s harder to develop true bounds, even though their hearts are as big.

Spending 6 months working for InternChina was a professional experience far more than enriching: I’ve learned how to adapt to so many different situations that I feel I’m able to move mountains if I want to. We like to call our company a family, and it is! Even though I haven’t met most of my colleagues (spread in China or in Europe), we’re all connected and we can all count on each other.

I was lucky enough to have such an amazing team in Chengdu (Paul, Cassie, Lucy, Tamara, Henry, Joe, Miya and Rainie), a hard-working team always happy to go beyond what is expected of them. I have learned a lot from their undying energy.

InternChina offers to every participant an incredible social network, composed of very different individuals who would probably have never known each other, even if some are from the same countries. A great cultural melting-pot of open-minded people trying to learn as much as they can from Chinese culture.

I have struggled myself, I’m still struggling when I try to use the little mandarin I know, and most of the time my mind is blown away by the contrasts of this country. I love how China can be such a huge mess that works so well. I love how I got to know my Chinese friends and other foreign friends better and how I could learn from their perspective, their vision. I love how I improved myself by getting so much from other people, and give back as much as I could.

I needed to go to China by hook or by crook to see with my own eyes how this great country is moving forward, I’m happy to say that I found more than what I was looking for.

It is still hard to believe that my time here is over, but there is no place for sadness or sorrow, as I’m moving forward with great memories and a lot of stories to tell and to remember. InternChina gave me the push I needed to feel more confident with my own strength: ‘move forward’, ‘get out of your comfort zone’, ‘challenge yourself’!

I truly hope it would be the same for you.

Start your adventure, apply now!

 

Discover Chinese culture, Featured Internships, Homestay Experience, Internship Experience, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs

Engineering Internship and Homestay Experience

InternChina Qingdao dress up costumes
My name is Ingo, I am a student from Germany majoring in Business Administration & Engineering. Since mid-February I have been working as an intern at a British company in Qingdao. The company provides solutions for environmental protection using their purge and pressurization units to prevent dust, corrosives and other non-hazardous gases from contaminating electrical equipment installed in enclosures close to process applications. My task is to elaborate new functions in the enterprise resource planning system, elaborate and installing a shop-floor information system and support the factory supervisor. I am well integrated in the team and I am glad to have the chance to do an internship in Qingdao and in this company.

InternChina china qingdao building expo

For the duration of my stay in China I am living at a homestay family. It is a small Chinese family with a little child. The home of the family is in Shuan Shan area near a big mall and well connected to public transport. The latter is very important for me due to my daily commute to work. I get breakfast and dinner at the family. The breakfast is most of the time a Chinese kind of porridge, boiled eggs and fried bread. For dinner, I am mostly at the parents of my guest mother. There I get all varieties of Chinese food – her father is an excellent cook. Occasionally, my homestay family invites me to meet their friends or to go on a trip. Also, my guest family speaks very good English – to the detriment that my Chinese knowledge is still stagnating on a low level.

Qingdao is regarded as a holiday paradise. The city is located directly by the sea and has several beaches. Near the city, the Lao Shan Mountain is located, from which– depending on weather – a wide view over the whole region is possible.

I do not regret my decision to do an internship in China and I am looking forward to my four remaining months in Qingdao!

 

Chinese Traditions, Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, Food, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs, Understanding Chinese culture

HAISHEN – A PORTRAIT OF QINGDAO’S MOST TREASURED SEA CREATURE

Hello hello!
So one thing that has caught my attention in the two weeks I have been living in the beautiful city of Qingdao are the large numbers of shops selling 海参 haishen – or sea cucumbers. Their English name is somewhat misleading, since sea cucumbers are certainly not cucumbers, let alone plants! In fact, they are animals that live in the Deep Seas and spend most of their day making their way slowly across the sea floor. So why are they so sought after here, and why would anyone pay up to 400RMB (around 60 Euros) for one single haishen?

Filled with curiosity, I recently ventured into one of the many shops specialised in selling haishen and was fortunate enough to meet Ms Qin, a sea cucumber expert who works at a store called “Di Yi Ming” (帝一铭). She was so kind as to enlighten me on several fascinating facts regarding haishen and also gave me the permission to take photos of the store and its products.

“Di Yi Ming” – which cleverly sounds like the expression for “number one” in Chinese, but is written with different characters – is located on Ningxia Lu in the southern part of Qingdao. Beautifully furnished with carved wooden shelves and a large Chinese style tea table in the middle of the room, it altogether feels more like a jewellery boutique than a shop selling sea cucumbers. But that is because here in Qingdao, sea cucumbers are regarded as treasures, with prices starting from 1800RMB (around 250 Euros) per jin (1 Chinese jin equals 500g) for the least expensive, and up to 11’800RMB (around 1600 Euros) for 1 jin of the most costly haishen.

Put differently, for the crème-de-la-crème, the price for one single haishen can go up to 400RMB (around 60 Euros). However, it is possible to get ones starting from a mere 10RMB per haishen. The price depends on which type of species the haishen in question is, and whether it was caught in the ocean or came from a farm.

The high wooden shelves are all filled with large glass jars – which in turn are all filled to the brim with dried haishen, waiting to be sold. Their appearance is somewhat underwhelming, at first sight it may be rather hard to understand why these small, dry, dark little knobbly sausages are in such high demand around here. However, after learning about the wide range of benefits that eating haishen can bring, I realized that they are not to be scoffed at. In fact, the medical benefits of haishen are mentioned in the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国药典), an official compendium of drugs that covers Traditional Chinese and western medicines, as well as in the Chinese Journal of Marine Drugs (中国海洋药物).

 

Here is just a small selection of the health benefits that eating haishen can provide:

  1. Enhances immunity, prevent colds, helps staying in good shape and not become tired easily
  2. Helps heal wounds quickly
  3. Helps with all kinds of stomach problems
  4. Helps lower high blood pressure
  5. Is good for the skin, as it helps keep it smooth and prevents wrinkles
  6. Enables better sleep
  7. Relieves back problems
  8. Keeps brain cells active and enhances faculty of memory

 

Ms Qin told me that she recommends her customers to eat one haishen per day and that on average, customers buy 1-2 jin (500g-1kg) of haishen per purchase. I asked her whether the store sells live sea cucumbers, but she told me that all haishen sold here are dried, because this way, their nutrition value is fully preserved, and they can be kept for a much longer time than if they were not dried. In fact, according to Ms Qin, in this dried state, the haishen can be kept for 3-5 years! A dry sea cucumber is approximately the size of your thumb, but before it is caught, it is actually rather large, about the size of your hand. When buying dried sea cucumbers, one needs to first let them soak in water for about 3-5 days before preparing them for eating.

 

Finally, I asked Ms Qin for her favourite haishen-recipes.

  • Sea cucumber porridge (海参粥)
    Sea cucumber porridge is a very nutritious breakfast. First, boil the rice until it is cooked, then add chopped sea cucumber into the porridge. According to your personal taste add a small amount of salt and sugar, also add a little ginger, then boil for 5 minutes. This way, the nutrition of the sea cucumber is retained, and the porridge is easy to digest.
  • Honey sea cucumber (蜂蜜海参)
    Sea cucumber dipped in honey is a very popular recipe because it is very easy, and best of all, the sea cucumbers nutritional value is very well preserved. Simply steam the sea cucumber and dip it into honey.

 

So, in case you want to experience the taste and health benefits of haishen for yourself, you now know how!

 

PS. Check out “Di Yi Ming” online: www.chinadiyiming.com (totally worth it!)

 

Cultural, Internship Experience, Qingdao Blogs

Alltag in China: Chaos und Ordnung

In den eineinhalb Monaten, die ich nun in China bin, entdecke ich täglich neue Sachen, die mich aufs Neue überraschen, verwundern und faszinieren. In diesem scheinbaren Chaos, scheint doch alles seine Ordnung zu haben und zu funktionieren.

Verkehr in China

Genauso wie in Deutschland herrschen auch in China Verkehrsregeln. Jedoch sind diese zum Teil einfach anders und zum Teil werden sie sehr selektiv umgesetzt.

Beispielsweise dürfen Rechtsabbieger in China IMMER fahren, auch wenn sie theoretisch rot haben und Fußgänger gerade die Straße überqueren.

Familie auf Motorrad in China, Verkehr, Verkehrsregeln, reisen, welt
InternChina – Motorradfahrer in China

Für Motorräder oder -roller scheinen überhaupt keine Verkehrsregeln zu gelten. Diese fahren ohne klar ersichtliche Regelungen, wie, wo und wann immer sie wollen. Man kann oft beobachten, wie Motorradfahrer die rote Ampel ignorieren, im Gegenverkehr oder eben auf dem Gehsteig fahren und dich anhupen, weil du ihnen den Weg abschneidest.

Dadurch kommen sie aber auch unglaublich schnell von A nach B. Aus diesem Grund werden Motorräder oft für Lieferservices verwendet, die dann im Nu vor Ort sind und liefern können.

Der Kampf mit Plastiktüten

Kaffebecher in einer Tüte in China, zum Mitnehmen, Verpackung, reisen, welt, kultur
InternChina – Kaffee zum Mitnehmen

Kurz nachdem ich in Deutschland die Tatsache akzeptiert hatte, dass wir nun überall für Plastiktüten zahlen müssen um unnötige Umweltverschmutzung zu vermeiden, kam ich in China an. Eine Sache, die mich hier täglich überrascht, ist die Vielfalt der Plastiktüten in unterschiedlichen Größen für Funktionen aller Art.

Die Menge an Plastiktüten, die ich in China innerhalb einer Woche von unterschiedlichen Ständen, Restaurants und Läden kriege, kriege ich vermutlich in Deutschland in drei Monaten.

Sei es nun die geröstete Süßkartoffel am Snackstand am Eingang zur Unterführung oder der gekochte Maiskolben vom Straßenstand, beide werden in Plastiktüten verpackt. Die Suppe aus dem Restaurant zum Mitnehmen? Die wird dir ganz ohne zusätzliche Behälter in eine Tüte geschüttet und zugeknotet. Für den Verzehr, kannst du die Suppe im Büro oder daheim (hoffentlich ohne Sauerei) wieder in einen Teller umfüllen. Ein Kaffee oder McFlurry zum Mitnehmen? Ab in die Tüte!

In China sieht man sehr selten Menschen auf der Straße Lebensmittel verzehren. Weder die noch warme Süßkartoffel, der Kaffee oder der McFlurry werden nach dem Kauf sofort verzehrt. Da die Menschen die Lebensmittel meist mit nach Hause oder ins Büro mitnehmen und somit längere Zeit transportieren müssen, scheint die Plastiktüte sich als Lösung eingebürgert zu haben. Aufgrund dessen begegnet man oft, wenn man darauf besteht auf die Tüte zu verzichten, auf verständnislose Blicke.

Straßen in China

Straßen sind nicht nur „Straßen“ in China. Sie dienen als Treffpunkt, als Verkaufsstellen, Postzentren und soviel mehr.

Von Männern in Anzügen, die in der Mittagspause im Kreis Fußfederball spielen bis hin zu älteren Herren, die rund um einen Tisch sitzen und chinesische Brettspiele spielen, auf Chinas Straßen kann man immer wieder Interessantes entdecken. Regelmäßig werden scheinbar planlos Stände mit Büchern, Spielzeugen und Klamotten auf den Straßen auf- und abgebaut.

Pakete und Post auf der Straße in China. Sortierung, Chaos, Ordnung, chinesisch, reisen, Kultur, alltag
InternChina – Post auf der Straße

Post, von Briefen bis zu Riesenpaketen, werden auf dem Bordstein vor den Bürogebäuden verteilt und sortiert. Geschäftige Fußgänger laufen meist mitten durch diese Brief- und Pakethaufen und würdigen diesen keinen zweiten Blick. Die Wäsche, von Unterwäsche bis hin zu Jacken werden zum Trocknen entweder an die Bäume an den Straßenrändern oder auf provisorische Wäscheleinen auf der Straße gehängt.

Wäsche auf der Straße trocknen, china, kultur, reisen, unterschied, alltag, chinesisch
InternChina – Wäsche auf der Straße

Inmitten in diesem Chaos strahlen die Straßen Chinas eine unglaubliche Ruhe, Wärme und Selbstverständlichkeit aus, die an keinem anderen Ort so vorstellbar ist.

Wenn du die Straßen Chinas selbst erleben willst, melde dich hier an!

 

China Business Blogs, Cultural, Internship Experience, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs, Travel, Understanding Chinese culture

Das erste Mal China: Erste Eindrücke

Hi!
Mein Name ist Büsra, 22, Studentin und gebürtige Augsburgerin.

Vor paar Monaten habe ich die Entscheidung getroffen mich raus aus meiner Komfortzone und direkt ins Abenteuer zu stürzen. Und welches Land wäre da interessanter als China? Das Land über das mehr Gerüchte kursieren als Fakten.

Trotz zahlreicher Zweifel von Familienmitgliedern, Verwandten und Freunden („China? Wieso China?“, „Du sprichst doch gar kein Chinesisch?“, „Was willst du da essen?!“, „Sind Chinesen nicht rassistisch/ islamfeindlich/ türkenfeindlich/ kommunistisch…?“ etc.), bin ich vor drei Tagen aufgebrochen, um mein Praktikum in InternChina in Qingdao zu starten. Mein Praktikum wird sechs Monate dauern und ist der letzte Schritt um mein Bachelorstudium in International Business abzuschließen.

Mein Flug dauerte mehr als 14 Stunden und ging über München (MUC), Frankfurt (FRA) bis (endlich!) Qingdao (TAO).

InternChina – Destination: Qingdao

Meinen ersten Oh-oh-Moment hatte ich, als der nette Immigrationspolizist am Flughafen mir auf Chinesisch eine Frage stellte. Als Antwort guckte ich nur leicht benebelt und flüsterte entschuldigend auf Englisch, dass ich kein Chinesisch spreche. Gott sei Dank lachte der Polizist nur und winkte mich durch. Der zweite Oh-oh-Moment ließ nur paar Minuten auf sich warten, als ich am Gepäckband stand, mich umsah und mir dämmerte, dass ich nichts, WIRKLICH NICHTS, hier lesen kann. Natürlich war mir klar, dass in China Schriftzeichen verwendet werden, aber es dann tatsächlich am eigenen Leib zu spüren… Dass man etwas, was man seit dem man das erste Mal Lesen lernte als selbstverständlich annahm, von Schildern bis zu Menüs, nicht mehr kann, war doch etwas schockierend. (Später habe ich erfahren, dass in den meisten Restaurants die Menüs bebildert sind. Also kein Grund zur Panik. Ich muss nicht verhungern. :‘) )

InternChina – Lanzhou Lamian Menu

Clare, die InternChina Branchmanagerin in Qingdao, holte mich vom Flughafen ab, brachte mich in meine WG und begleitete mich anschließend ins Simkartengeschäft, um mich mit einer funktionierenden Handyverbindung und Internet (HALLELUJAH!!) zu versorgen.

Die Menschen in Qingdao sind sehr freundlich und hilfsbereit und sie starren dich an und zwar nicht besonders unauffällig. Aber wenn ich bedenke, dass ich in den letzten drei Tagen, abgesehen von meiner Mitbewohnerin und meinen Kollegen nur drei andere „Ausländer“ gesehen habe, ist das verständlich. Auch ist ihr Blick nicht feindselig, sondern meist nur interessiert. Gleich an meinem zweiten Tag hier, rannte ein etwa zehnjähriger chinesischer Junge uns nach, holte auf, stellte sich vor uns hin und fragte „Where are you from?“. Nach meiner leicht verwirrten Antwort „eeeeh… Germany.“, überlegte er kurz sagte „XieXie!“ (=Danke) und rannte wieder davon. Ich vermute, dass ich hier öfter als Englischübungspartner verwendet werde. 😉

Die Stadt ist überhaupt nicht überbevölkert, was ich als leichte Klaustrophobin befürchtet hatte. Allerdings habe ich auch gehört, dass Qingdao im Sommer viel voller ist und es ist momentan Januar. Es fahren jedoch sehr viele Autos auf der Straße und sie fahren etwas wilder, als aus Deutschland gewohnt. Müsste ich die Fahrweise in zwei Wörtern beschreiben, wäre es „no chill“. Dabei dachte ich, ich hätte schon alles an verrückten Fahrstilen in Istanbul gesehen. Außerdem kann man sich den Parkstil in China wie ein Tetrisspiel vorstellen. Man quetscht sich an jede mögliche freie Stelle und berücksichtigt dabei nicht, ob man eventuell jemandem vom wieder herausfahren abhält.

Die Luftqualität und das Wetter waren, wider meine Erwartungen und zu meinem Glück in den letzten Tagen ganz gut. Wir nutzten das gute Wetter aus um entlang des Meers zu spazieren und paar Fotos zu schießen. Das Meer in Qingdao ist einfach wunderschön. Es ist schon länger mein Traum gewesen in einer Stadt am Meer zu wohnen und endlich ist es soweit.

InternChina – Yellow Sea
InternChina – Qingdao Seaside
InternChina – Cakes and Happiness

And last but not least: Das Essen. Traumhaft. Jeder der etwas länger Zeit mit mir verbracht hat, weiß wie wichtig mir gutes Essen ist und hier gibt es mehr als genug davon! Vergisst die Nudelbox mit oder ohne Hühnerfleisch und die Frühlingsrollen! Chinesisches Essen ist so viel mehr! Vor allem ist es so günstig. Eine mehr als sättigende Portion kostet um die 14 RMB (=1,91€) und das sind weniger als zwei Euro. Adieu, Diätpläne… Ich habe vor wirklich jede Chance zu nutzen, alle (nicht allzu verrückten) Arten von chinesischen Gerichten zu probieren.

Generell sollte man so wenig Erwartungen an China haben, wie nur möglich und eigentlich alles, was man je über das Land gehört hat nicht so ernst nehmen. Jeder macht unterschiedliche Erfahrungen, aber ich denke es ist es auf jeden Fall wert das Land mal selber zu sehen und eigene Eindrücke zu sammeln.

Falls du auch Lust hast mal aus deiner Komfortzone rauszukommen und in ein Abenteuer zu stürzen, informiere dich hier!

 

Chengdu Blogs, Cultural, Dalian Blogs, Learn about China, Qingdao Blogs, Travel, Weekend Trips, Zhuhai Blogs

Adventures in Shanghai Disneyland

Last weekend I decided to treat myself to a little weekend trip away. I hadn’t been out of Zhuhai in a while and when a fellow intern asked if I would be interested in checking out the new Shanghai Disneyland with her, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Before I knew it, we had arrived in Shanghai and were as giddy as little children on the night before Christmas as we tried to get some sleep before going to the park the next day. The next morning we got up bright and early to catch the subway and make the journey out to Disneyland. The park just opened this past summer and they extended the subway line to extend all the way to the park, so it is really convenient to get there by public transportation. By the time we arrived at the Disney subway station the cars were absolutely packed and we started to get worried that we were going to spend the whole day packed into the park like sardines. But once we made it out of the subway and through the entrance to the park, the crowd started to disperse. We had finally made it to the “happiest place on Earth!”

Shanghai Disneyland Castle

Our first destination was the souvenir shop so that we could pick our some very important accessories – our Mickey Mouse ears for the day. The shop had a huge selection of different ears, and we probably tried on more than ten pairs each until we finally found the ones we wanted. So with our ears all set, we were ready to go hit the rides.

Chinese Mickey Ears

Ever since the park opened over the summer, there had been a lot of hype over the TRON Lightcycle Power Run – the new rollercoaster that made its debut at the park over the summer, and we made that our first destination. The line was still manageable at that time, and before we knew it we had mounted our TRON Lightcycles and shot off into the sky. When we got off, we both had grins as big as the Cheshire Cat on our faces, and agreed this was the best rollercoaster we had ever been on. So for anyone who is into rollercoasters, this one is not to be missed.

TRON Rollercoaster

We continued to make our way through the park, doing all the things one does in Disneyland. We got a picture with Mickey Mouse, ate corndogs and Mickey Mouse pretzels, watched little girls getting their princess makeovers and ended up riding almost every ride in the park. Another highlight was the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride. They added some elements from the new movies and updated the graphics along the whole ride. We had so much fun on that ride that when we got off we saw that the line was really short, we hopped right back in the line and rode it again.

The day ended with the classic Disney light show and firework display, and before we knew it we were on our way back to our hostel with very tired feet, but smiles on our faces. We had just enough energy to grab some street barbecue by our hostel before jumping into bed and getting some hard-earned rest.

Overall we had a really amazing time at Shanghai Disneyland. The park is so big that the crowds are pretty well dispersed, and with a combination of fast track tickets and single rider lines we rarely had to wait very long to get on any rides. All of the classic Disney elements are there, with some Chinese flair thrown in so everyone who goes is sure to have a good time. I would definitely recommend a trip out to Shanghai Disneyland to all Disney fans out there who want to check out the newest park the franchise has to offer.

Park Ticket
Chinese Traditions, Cultural, Discover Chinese culture, Eating Out in Chengdu, Eating out in Zhuhai, Food, Qingdao Eating Out Guide

Using Chopsticks – why I’m a convert!

An estimated 33% of the world’s population (give or take) use chopsticks on a daily basis. For the hungry first time user, guzzling down your meal with two small wooden sticks can be a real challenge. Chopsticks might seem tricky to master and somewhat unnecessary for those of us that grew up with a plastic knife and fork in hand, so why have they come to dominate the culinary habits of much of Asia?
Chopsticks are over 5000 years old, long sticks of bamboo were first used to retrieve morsels of food from cooking pots on the fire. Later on, evidence of chopsticks used as table utensils emerged as far back as 500-400 AD. It’s said the spread of popular chopstick use across China was down to population boom and fuel shortages; food was chopped into smaller pieces in an attempt to make the meagre rations go further (thus eliminating the need for knives at the table). Whatever the reason, people in Japan and Korea soon followed the trend not far behind!

The ultimate legend of Chinese culture Confucius (or debatably perhaps his disciple Mengzi) added his own two cents on the matter too, which always helps. Apparently a firm believer that “the honourable and upright man keeps well away from both slaughterhouse and kitchen, and allows no knives on his table.” 有名望的和正直的人要远离屠场和厨房。

FUN FACT: Did you know that Confucius was a vegetarian?

I’m not ashamed to admit that after 3 years in China, I am a total convert. Using chopsticks makes me appreciate my food more. Whatsmore, the sociable side to Chinese dinning, sharing and array of mouth-watering dishes, picking out tasty tit-bits from any dish at will, never gets old.

So here goes, top facts you should know about different types of chopsticks:

THE CHINESE CHOPSTICK
InternChina - Chinese Chopsticks
Typically unfinished wood, slightly rectangular top with a cylindrical blunt end. Doesn’t roll off the table so easily and more surface area means you’ve got a higher chance or transferring those tasty morsels all the way from the middle of the table right to your bowl!
FUN FACT: It’s a faux-pas to tap your chopsticks on the edge of your bowl, as this is what beggars do to attract attention.

THE JAPANESE CHOPSTICK
InternChina - Japanese Chopsticks
Traditionally lacquered wood or bamboo, with a rounded top and a pointy end that’s perfect for de-boning fish. They’re a little bit smaller than the Chinese equivalent and you often find red pairs for the ladies and black ones for the gents.
FUN FACT: Never stick your chopsticks vertically into your rice bowl, it’s reminiscent of incense sticks at a funeral.

THE KOREAN CHOPSTICK
InternChina - Korean Chopsticks
The shortest model of the three, Korean chopsticks are usually stainless steel and flat or rectangular shaped. Potentially more hygienic but it definitely makes it harder to get a grip on your food!
FUN FACT: The king used pure silver chopsticks which would change colour if they came in contact with certain poisons. The people started using metal chopsticks to emulate him.

InternChina - chopstick inventions

Anyway, hope this can inspire you to pick up a pair of chopsticks and come to China yourself. Even if you struggle to start with new chopstick inventions are coming up every day, so keep your eyes peeled for the latest ‘Chork’ on the market!