Day 15. Zibo to Qingdao
Today we take the high-speed train to Qingdao, the sea-side city where some of the 2000 Olympic events took place.
We had some time this morning to look around Zibo, not too far
mind you, but enough to figure out that the streets just behind our
hotel doubled as brothels; and the ladies working the beat
certainly didn't make a secret of it.
[Zibo - Behind the hotel]
We even had enough time for Bill to do his email.
[Billy doing his mail - kiss kiss Margaret]
By the time we got to the train station, it was clear that the
day would go smoothly. The train station was operated with
military precision - from the ticket purchase, right down to how we
lined up and then entered the train. The train arrived at
11:36, 7 minutes prior to its scheduled departure time of
[High-Speed Bullet Train]
The doors closed on the dot at 11:43 and we began to inch
away. Shortly thereafter the acceleration increased and it
was hard to believe that the train was moving because there were
practically no knocks or bumps; it was as if the world was speeding
past this carnival ride.
It wasn't long before the information panel up above was
scrolling to the top speed, 150 km, 180 km, 210 km and eventually
hitting a top speed of 245 km.
[245km per hour]
When I compare where China is today in respect to its public
transport, and knowing their plans for a massive expansion over the
next 10 years, I'm ashamed that so many western countries shun this
efficient and cost-effective mode of transport.
[My ticket to Qingdao]
One hour and fifty six minutes later we arrived in Qingdao, a
bustling green city on the edge of the sea. We took the bike
receipt and eventually found the cargo office - the bikes survived
without any issues and with our bags back on the rack we were in
search of a place to stay.
Our plan was to stick close to the water, hoping that this would
make getting out of the city easier the following day, but the cost
of hotels in the centre proved to be ridiculous and we pushed on
North-East along the coast.
[Not sure what's stranger, the contraptions or the clothing]
Eventually we came across the remnants of the 2000 Olympic
Games; it was here that the sailing championships took place and
the waterfront did reflect the effort spent, perhaps on par with
Beijing, in order to convey the message that China is a titan once
[Olympic Rings in Qingdao]
The streets were busy and after 16 km of cycling we decided to
check the prices of the hotels. We were lucky, Bill managed
to get friendly with a local woman (Rose) who spoke some
English. She took us to a hotel just off the main road and
opposite a huge bookshop. It wasn't ideal, but it had clean
rooms and a computer with free internet in each room. Having
spent the night before in the stone village, needless to say I was
getting itchy fingers and wanted to fire off some mails - needless
to say I was sold on the room.
The many days on the road take their toll on the body, and I had
spotted a massage shop nearby - the others didn't want to go
thinking that it was a cover for another 2nd floor
establishment that Dave had a run-in with previously. It
looked legitimate from the start, with set fees and it was clear to
see that if elderly women were amongst its clientele it couldn't be
I ordered the full Thai massage and was placed in a room with a
rail over the top - obviously so the masseur could hold on to it
while they walked all over my exhausted body. Shortly
thereafter, a woman half my size appeared at the door, handed me
some pyjamas, and told me to change. She came back two
minutes later with a towel and asked me to lie down.
Conversation didn't go so well because neither could find common
language to communicate with, but as her small hands worked my sore
muscles I let my groans and grunts inform her of where the problem
[In case you need a massage in Qingdao]
As I'd suspected, there was no hanky-panky at this establishment
and I emerged out of there a new man, able to twist and turn and
even touch my toes again - my body soon forgetting the punishing
cycling of days gone by. Needless to say, I slept like a baby