Glad to say that after roughly 28 hours of travelling spread over 3 connecting flights we’ve arrived safe and sound at the hotel in Jinan!
After completing our video blogs in the Students’ Association on Friday morning we took a flight from Glasgow airport to Dubai and then on to Beijing before finishing our journey with a one hour flight from there to Jinan amid a minor delay.
The hotel is lovely and we received a warm welcome from the staff and from Jin and Bei from UIJ. The first thing we saw upon arrival was a neon sign at the front of the hotel which read “Welcome to summer camp of Glasgow Caledonian University” – a pleasant surprise to start our stay.
After a light supper and twenty much-needed showers we’re now heading to bed in anticipation for some sight seeing tomorrow and two-weeks of enjoying Chinese culture.
A 9 am alarm call – well firework call started the first full day in Jinan for the G.C.U. group.
A well earned sleep was enjoyed by all as was the first culinary experience of the trip, the Brunch. An abundance of local delicacies served on what appears to be the worlds best invention – a Lazy Susan – resulted in a meal which was described perfectly by the one infamous musician of the group as ” A Delight” set us all up for a day of sight seeing, shopping and Sampson Akwafou.
The bus dropped us right in the centre of Jinan and a wander right the public park let us see tai chi, kite flying and Chinese game show being filmed outside. The girls managed to get a fiendishly large amount of shopping done in a short space of time whilst the gents strolled around the supermarket pointing at the duck heads, chicken feet, pigs trotter and beef tongue being eagerly offered to “the tourists”.
We all regrouped at one of Jinan’s best hotels before ascending 49 storeys to the Revolving Restaurant at the top of the building. With a brilliant view of the city at night we all tucked in to “Hunners of pure dead brilliant scran”.
Mountains of fresh prawn, scallop, salmon, sushi, local pork and beef dishes along with a multitude of rice, noodles and Happy Faces (Taninio) ended up on out plates and surprisingly most willingly tried the Sea Cucumber which was interesting to say the least.
Our host were fantastically generous, the service was second to none and the experience unforgettable. After saying goodbye to Mr Ghan, Mr Lu, Gin and Nancy the team returned to the hotel to grab some still needed sleep be fore our early start in the morning.
Quingdao tomorrow, the famous costal city of Shandong. I rekon it will be just like going to the beach at Ayr, will let you know.
Day 2 (Full day) and we had a lovely breakfast before catching our bus at 0830 to Qingdao. The first 2 hours… awesome! Good banter and carry on…. last 2 hours… everyone was fading fast! Good old Jin and Melody kept us going though by suggesting karaoke. Melody sang us a lovely song, then Mr Lee read us a poem then Rory, Brian, Nat, Will, Tanino and Kay all sang a wee song for the group! (all filmed and will be available to view)
As we came into Qingdao, we caught sight of the beach and some jetski’s… oh yes!! Arrived at our hotel, quick check in and change before dinner, then noticing some of us were flagging, we came back to hotel pretty soon after.
Us party animals met and headed out to check out the sights, seeing some Tai Chi and dancing in a square to beautiful Chinese music. Then we headed into some market stalls to dig out some bargains and get some more local culture. “Razor” is totally worse than a girl!!!! Tho he got his OK sweatbands so he’s made up!
Got to see a bit more of China tonight because we were out on our own and saw places we wouldn’t normally have! Pretty excited about tomorrow getting to the beach and seeing the Sailing Centre!
Clearly I wrote that last blog in a Chinese beer filled daze…… forgot to mention the fact we went to the Tsingtao brewery!! Was awesome, got a video blog from T and Em!! Got to see how it’s all made and how its different from European breweries!!
Got some samples at the end and also a few jugs to round the day off! Was delicious
Day 4 and were still alive and kicking although one by one were all definitely slowly getting the runs and are almost outta meds -am still waiting!
Its strange yet amazing how all 20 of us have become good friends within such a short space of time, with the feeling like we’ve all known each other for years and have bonded during our 28 hour long journey to China by playing ‘bulshlaka’ in every chance we get.
In just a few days I’ve noticed so many differences culturally between the U.K and China, for example over here you would never use a knife and fork, it’s always chopsticks and the toilets aren’t the same!! There holes in the ground which has caused the team accidents. Nighlife in Jinan is a major clash to Glasgow’s which did initially shock me. People are out at 10pm doing Tai Chi, ballroom dancing, the shop workers play cards on the pavement after closing up to relax and kareoke (KTV) is a huge way of unwinding after a hard days work.
One thing that is starting to annoy me is the paparazzi surrounding us in every direction anywhere we go. Theres should be a limit to it, following us with a camera and video recorder especially when its obvious we aren’t comfortable being shot. Another downside to which i was most looking forward to is the food, breakfast/lunch/dinner – is the practically the same fried heavy food which is nice but is now getting sickening, a nice bowl of frosties wouldn’t go a miss!!
We’ve just returned from Qing Dao today after a missionary journey but it was really nice and different from Jinan. It was more modern and you could see the sky for the first time being blue.
Also gotta add that Gin, Mr Lu, Mr Ghan and Melody have helped us a great deal and we woulda had alota hassle and language barrier without them so thank you!
todays wake-up call at half 6 didnt go down to well after a pretty ridiculous ammount of banter last night with plenty of beer and wine flowing (GAMBI!!!!!!). The first leg of the journey was very quiet with alot of pale faces and tired eyes. However after a few hours kip Jin and Melody were finally able to get us up singing, wisteling and ‘rapping’ into the microphone at the front of the bus. Everybody was forced to have a go, with some dark horses emerging- Emily and Tanino suprising us all with amazing voices. ‘Razor’ from Slippery Pantha made a star apperance giving a very intense blast of Robbie William; Let me entertain you’.
On a more serious note the long bus journey finally gave us a chance to speak to Jin about her personal experiences growing up in China and then moving away to study in the UK and other parts of Europe. She was able to tell us how she personally felt about how Chinese people are often brought up to conform and lead a life where decissions where frequently made for them, she explained that it took moving away from China to allow her to ‘find herself’.
Todays food was quite different from what we have already experienced, lunch consisted of us sitting at a table each with a small pot on a hot plate in which we cooked our own food. This wasnt to everyones taste but others found it fresh, different and quite exciting. Of course the ‘lads’ had to get into the chilli eating competition which Will won easily although Isra gave them all a good run for there moneys!
Sadly after lunch we had to say goodbye to Melody who has been our interpreter for the last few days. She also fulfilled the role of chief entertainer on the bus and pulled out a few cracking renditions of some Celine Dion classics! It wont be the last we speak to her as we’ve exchanged emails and hope to keep in touch.
Got a first glimpse of Jinan university grounds tonight as we stumbled upon its campus with a football in hand and were pretty chuffed to finally find somewhere where ball games are allowed!!
Looking forward to tomorrow and a full day of Tai Chi and Chinese Philosophy – casual.
Here comes the much awaited visit to the Chinese most famous mountain, Mount Tai. We set out, after breakfast to the mountaneous region of Jinan. After passing through a series of rolling mountains, we arrived at the destination, which is seated at 1524m above sea level. It was indeed a site to behold, with lushy green vegetation and spectacular waterfalls. We found it amazing, the construction of motorable pathways to allow shift coaches go mid way through the mountain. There were Taoist temples located at various places along the mountain. History has it that Mount Tai was used to perform religious worship some centuries ago. Many emperors, spanning a period of 3000 years used it to pay homage to the Heaven (on the top) and Earth (at the foot). It was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
After climbing for what seems like ages, that left most of us panting and sweating, we arrived at the tooooop!! (not a mean achievement, considering what we passed through!). The local residents and other visitors were excited having us around and never missed any opportunity of taking pictures with us. Most of us finished late (including my humble self) because we were stopped every here and there for a wee banter and some pictures. It was indeed great seeing men and women of all ages, including the children climbing the mountain with us. The lunch at the top of the mountain was awesome! The food at the ‘Halfway to Heaven’ Restaurant was superb and we were wondering how they got the food up there. After the lunch comes the moment we all have been expecting: The cable car drive to the base of the mountain!
The expectation and excitation turned to fright when we got to the cable car terminal. Yea, we were scared, but we had to join the car! The ride down the mountain turned out to be an unforgettable experience. We felt very relaxed inside the car and the fun lasted throughout the duration of the riding.
We had a very relaxing and well enriched dinner back in the hotel. We also had a guest, Quan Amy Ren, the GCU International Officer, in charge of China and South East Asia. We were all delighted to have her around.
Some members of the team who are majoring in Paediatrics were later taken to the Chinese Paediatrics Centre in Jinan, courtesy of Mr Lu. Lest I forget, they even got massage from the professionals in the centre.
Yea, we made it to the top of Mount Tai! We look forward to the boat ride and the Karaoke Performance (KTV) tomorrow.
Hi Sarah,If it helps, I’ve also seen this brand of Naan in some health food shops anurod London since writing this post. I don’t know where you live, but if you have any local health food shops have a look, maybe they stock them too?