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!
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 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.
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.
¡Hola a todos! Parece que llego el momento de irse, y me han dicho que escriba un blog para despedirme y contar mi experiencia pero, ¿ Cómo resumir 6 meses de tú vida en un blog? Pues no tengo ni idea, pero lo voy a intentar.
Antes de nada, he de dar las gracias a Internchina porque sin ellos no habría podido tener esta experiencia. En estos 6 meses he tenido la oportunidad de conocer a casi todo el equipo, de trabajar con todos ellos, ya que estuvo la mayoría en la oficina de Qingdao al mismo tiempo. Esa semana fue estresante por la cantidad de trabajo que había y que no cogía ni un alfiler, pero también la más divertida, y por suerte nos coincidió con Halloween. Trabajando con ellos he aprendido a moverme en campos y materias que jamás pensé que lo haría, como con el programa Photoshop, al pobre de Jack lo tenía estresado; o trabajar como Comercial con mi compañera Cecily (cosa que nunca he conseguido llevar a cabo, pero con ella todo se hizo más fácil o llevadero); o ir a reuniones con Clare donde poco a poco ella ha conseguido que fuese yo la que empezase las reuniones o trabajar con Frank, el fundador, que consiguió que dejase de hacer apuntes en mi libreta y lo pusiese todo en el programa. Pero lo que más he aprendido ha sido a lidiar con toda clase de acentos en inglés, desde el mío español, hasta con el del norte de Irlanda.
Creo que lo peor llevé al principio fue el tema de la comida. Yo esperaba que todo fuese como los restaurantes chinos europeos, con tu arroz a las tres delicias, pollo al limón, pero he de decir que ni por asomo lo vas a encontrar aquí. Es todo totalmente diferente. Muchas verduras semi-crudas, arroz para todo, nuddels de todo tipo, pero sobretodo picante, le echan picante a absolutamente todo… y lo de comer con cubiertos ve olvidándote, todo es con palillos. Pero he de decir que ahora soy aficionada a la comida de aquí y tengo mis platos preferidos como las berenjenas crujientes, el pollo con salsa dulce, las patatas que siempre siempre se pide Cecily, vayamos a donde vayamos, y el 肉夹馍. Dos logros que he conseguido en este tema son, comer comida picante aunque sigo diciendo “sin mucho picante, por favor” y comer nuddles con palillos! Que cuando los ves a ellos te parece algo sencillo, pero de eso nada, necesitas tres batallas con los fideos y los palillos, más tus camisetas manchadas de comida…consejo, si pensais pedir nuddles, no lleveis nada de color claro haha.
Llegué en pleno verano, que ní en Almería hace tanta calor, y coincidí con gente con la que me he reído muchísimo, hicieron que mi primer mes fuese más llevadero entre sus locuras y su caluroso recibimiento. Más tarde se fueron ellos y prácticamente se llevaron el verano pero con el invierno llegó más gente y nuevas experiencias.
Aquí dejo a personas que han llegado a convertirse en amigas, a gente con la que me he divertido, aprendido y con las que he crecido como persona. Pero me llevo recuerdos muy buenos, como cuando Amber intentaba enseñarme palabras en chino, o la cara de sorpresa de Yifan cuando dije que la comida estaba picante (sí, el primer día para mi lo estaba, pero a día de hoy…eso no es nada haha) o la conversación de Pirat-Parrot entre mi amigo de Manchester y mi compañera Rosey que es del Norte de Irlanda, con sus acentos y su forma de decir las palabras (que para mi casi que suenan igual pero no tienen nada que ver) o el haber conocido a gente española en la otra parte del mundo, que son muy pocos los que se atreven a venir. Pero el tiempo pasa y toca volver a casa, pero eso no quiere decir que no vaya a volver a Qingdao
Bueno ya sólo quedar decir, Gracias al equipo de Internchina por la oportunidad, gracias a la gente por sus buenos momentos, y por las que llegaron en el momento que menos lo esperaba, y por hacer que sea más llevadero las navidades fuera de casa. Hasta luego Qingdao!!!
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So you’ve just arrived in Qingdao, you’re here for two days… where to begin? In a city with 8 million people there’s no shortage of places to eat, sleep or entertain yourself so let’s take a look at what you could get up to in just 48 hours!
Kiwi Cafe is popular for a taste of Western cooking- the chef Danny cooks every dish himself and it shows in the quality of the food. For a quick breakfast or a lazy morning, this is definitely the place to go for some eggs, bacon and pancakes to start your day off- it’s also the perfect place to go if you spent the night before in one of Qingdao’s many bars!
Address: No 127 ZhangZhou 2nd Road
If you are feeling energetic, a great way to start your morning in Qingdao is with a hike up the mountain, FuShan. If you are particularly eager, you could ensure you are at the top in time for sunrise… you can see the entire city so it’s worth missing a few hours of sleep! It will take you a few hours to reach the top but there are so many paths and trails to follow that you could easily spend your entire day here.
Address: 190 Chongqing Bei Lu 地址：青岛市崂山区重庆北路190
If you want to eat good, inexpensive Chinese food consider visiting the underground food court on Xin Pu Lu. With an atmosphere reminiscent of a mall food court it is busy and you’ll be spoiled for choice. You can have dumplings, kebabs, noodles, soup… if you can think of it, this food court has it! It’s important to remember that you don’t pay by cash- at the entrance, you give whatever amount of money you want and top up a card which is used to pay inside. 30RMBis more than enough to buy your lunch and you’ll get change back at the end!
Address: Xin Pu Lu 新浦路
After lunch, you can get the bus to Jimo Lu Market. Otherwise known as Qingdao’s ‘fake market’, this indoor market is a bewildering maze of clothing, electronics, jewellery and souvenirs. Just like any other market, there are bargains to be found if you take your time and try to haggle- if you aren’t successful, the experience is still fun! The market sprawls over several floors, so take your time to explore everywhere.
Address: 45 Liaochang Lu, Shibei District, Qingdao
Dinner & Drinks:
While in Qingdao you should visit Mei Da Er at least once. Our interns have affectionately nicknamed this restaurant the Magic Eggplant, for reasons that will become clear once you arrive. You can order seafood, pork, beef, rice… but you have to order the eggplant! If you want to go off menu, you can visit the seafood market behind the restaurant and buy your favourite seafood then ask the restaurant staff to cook it for you. They are more than happy to do so, and it lets you create your perfect dinner!
Address: Mei Da Er (美达尔) Dayao 3rd Rd 大尧三路
If you want to experience some of Qingdao’s history, the Old Observatory Youth Hostel will be perfect for you- this observatory was the first in China! Originally built in 1904 and converted in 2010, the observatory gives you some of the best views of the Old Town areas in the city. With some of the rooms costing as little as 30RMB per night it’s great value for the chance to stay in a piece of China’s history. So if you want a relaxed evening you can sit on the rooftop bar, Sunset Cafe, with a Tsingtao beer and watch the sunset over the beautiful historic views.
Address: No 21 Guanxiang Er Road
So yesterday morning you had a Western breakfast, today will have to be Chinese! If you don’t feel like sitting down to breakfast, you can grab a quick one from a street vendor- including the delicious jian bing (煎饼) which can be found anywhere in the city.
If you feel like moving at a slower pace in the morning, you could take a walk along the many beaches in Qingdao. If you begin at the popular Beach #2 and walk towards the Old Town, you can spend a few hours getting to know this area of the city and see the most famous landmarks, including Zhanqiao Pier (the inspiration for the Tsingtao Beer logo!) You can continue walking right into Old Town and spend the morning exploring the German architecture and historical buildings here.
Pichai Yuan is one of Qingdao’s worst kept secrets- the alleys are filled with traditional Chinese charm and amazing fresh food. The street is packed with stalls and restaurants offering Qingdao’s famous seafood and for the more adventurous, some insects and scorpions! Grab yourself something delicious and sit down to enjoy the fast paced atmosphere of this Old Town treasure.
Address: Zhongshan Lu
Visiting the TV Tower is the perfect way get a bird’s eye view of the city. The tower itself has an Olympic museum, as well as a revolving restaurant. If you don’t think you can manage the climb up TaiPing hill there is the option to take a cable car up, so you can sit back and enjoy the view! The tower is close to ZhongShan Park, and ZhanShan temple so there’s no shortage of things to see.
Address: 1 TaiPingShan Road 青岛电视塔, 太平山路1号
If you have spent the day in Old Town, you should stay for dinner. Visiting Si Fang Lu will mean you can buy the freshest sea food in Qingdao- it’s right beside the port! When you’ve walked around the stalls and decided what you want, take your goods to any of the many restaurants lining the street displaying “加工” and ask them to cook it for you.
Address: Si Fang Lu (四方路)
Drinks and Party:
A trip to Qingdao wouldn’t be complete without a stop to the famous Beer Museum. Located in Old Town, next to the Beer Street, you can learn about the history of Tsingtao, how it’s made and even taste the different varieties.
Address: 青岛啤酒博物馆, 登州路56号
Another place to stay in the Old Town area of Qingdao is the Kaiyue Youth Hostel. This hostel is a converted church, so it’s another piece of Qingdao’s history! They have a bar and areas for socialising with other guests.
Address: 31 Jining Rd青岛凯越国际青年旅馆
The nightlife in Qingdao varies from the relaxing atmosphere of ssLPG and Rocky Bar to clubs like Muse and Pub33. No matter where you decide to go, you’ll meet friendly locals and expats alike. Many of the bars have snooker tables and table football, so there’s more to do than sit and drink your Tsingtao. For the more outgoing among you there is also KTV. One KTV venue even has themed rooms, so you can sing your heart out surrounded by Hello Kitty!
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On April 30th 2015, China’s ninth and the largest MixC shopping mall had its grand opening in Qingdao. The first MixC opened in 2004 in Shenzhen, South China and since then they have opened other branches around China. MixC developer China Resources means “the great land of China, endowed with abundant natural resources”. China Resources Land Limited is one of the most powerful comprehensive real estate developers. The new shopping mall is located on Hong Kong Middle Road, one of the main routes in Qingdao.
So what makes this particular subdivision of MixC in Qingdao so special? Apart from the fact it contains the world’s 3rd JOYPOLIS indoor theme park (other 2 in Tokyo and Dubai), yes a rollercoaster in the middle of a shopping mall! Inside the huge shopping mall, it also includes the most expensive cinema investment in China (with four kinds of special effects rooms including IMAX and 4D) and an Olympic standard size ice skating rink which is going to host the Skate Asia 2015. There are over 400 popular fashion stores, dining restaurants, cafes and entertainment/leisure facilities in this gigantic plaza.
Qingdao is located in East China, Shandong province. It is a small city compared with other Chinese cities. However, the establishment of MixC luxury shopping mall will hopefully help to develop the city even more than it already has in recent years. “We want to build a good public space for Qingdaonese, where people not only come to shop, but can also have a coffee, watch a movie, or even do nothing at all and just stroll around. It will be a good place for leisure and entertainment in Qingdao.”-Dave Chen (General Manager of Qingdao MixC). Ref: Redstar
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Since more and more interns seem to be flooding into China for the summer heat, one main question that they always ask on the drive from the airport seems to be ‘What’s the nightlife like here?’. Indeed, all my British friends back home gleefully rub their hands on Skype and question ‘Can you even go partying in China?’ My reply to the latter question is ‘Yes – be quiet!’ and my reply to the former is ‘The nightlife in China has something for everyone’:To go back to my English friends’ comments; I think many of them fantasize that Chinese people don’t like western music, dancing or drink and imagine the clubs here to be tiny little tea houses with quiet music. The opposite in fact is true; all the nightclubs in Qingdao are packed with Western and Chinese party makers and to be honest, there are only a few major differences between my clubs back home and the clubs in China.
First of all, there is generally less dance area in Chinese clubs, more tables and places to sit which suits me perfectly after 2 or 3 gin and tonics. Secondly, what is rather exciting in Chinese clubs is the real life performance that usually happens around midnight. This involves a ‘celebrity’ act performing on stage and dancing, I enjoy it as it breaks up the evening nicely. Sometimes their outfits are more of an acquired taste, but hey – can you ever dress too jazzy?
Another thing that is pleasant about Chinese bars and clubs is the free alcohol; something that would not economically work for British clubs or work very well for local hospitals in UK student cities, but yes in China, many free drinks are available especially to the ladies. Wednesday nights in Qingdao offer a great break in the week with the InterContinental roof top bar offering a free cocktail followed by Angelina’s bar offering free drinks to girls until midnight. Who can really say no? Well come to think of it, you may need to say no sometimes; Fake alcohol can be a little troublesome and something to be aware of. In Beijing last December, police seized 37,000 bottles of fake booze destined for Sanlitun Bar Street…However, as long as you don’t drink too much you will be okay.
In terms of music, the major clubs play nothing too dissimilar of what would be played in any club in England so you can still move your hips to most of your favorite tunes here. Qingdao also has a large variety of bars where you can do some dancing but mostly chill and hang out. Some of my suggestions are Freeman, LPG and Dubliners; these all offer different vibes and a great place just to be with friends. Qingdao also has the major advantage of being on the coast. This means – beach parties! Last weekend the city held one of it’s first beach parties this summer on beach number three with a view of the evening lights and city-scape of Qingdao. Not only was there great music, free beers, about 45% of InternChina interns present – barbecue food was also available so I would definitely recommend it to anyone when another opportunity rises.
Don’t like bars and not a ‘clubber’? Prefer to drink in solace? This is no problem either. Alcohol is abundant in most convenience stores and big spirit brands are available at average prices in supermarkets such as Carrefour and Aeon. If you have had a particularly heavy week – we could suggest Bai jui which literally translates as ‘white alcohol’ . It is a very strong spirit that is sold everywhere in China. (Generally about 40–60% alcohol by volume (ABV). Bottle prices range from 10RMB TO 1000RMB. Personal tip: Do not mistake a cheap bottle for a bottle of water; it may not refresh you as desired!
If you are a more sophisticated individual, you may prefer to get a bottle of chardonnay in China which at first I thought was impossible but now have found a little hideout near the coffee street called Dongzhou Wine cellar. There you can get 3 bottles of wine for 100RMB (£10 or €11). One last thing to advise is just to be careful and be responsible, you are in a foreign country and need to feel 100% safe at all times. If you are wanting a more relaxed evening without all the loud music and ‘booozing’, I always take a nice walk along the coast in Qingdao at sunset and enjoy the area.
So to conclude Qingdao this summer has a lot to offer in terms of evening activities. Here at InternChina, we recommend a work hard – play hard attitude. We hope you get a lot out of your internship and wish you learn many things to aid your career and also help your host company. But after 6pm – when you finish work, we wish you love the Chinese night atmosphere and make many friends along the way.
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KTV is quite different from traditional western karaoke which is usually just a big screen at the front of the bar and a guy with a crappy computer program running the music and organizing the waiting list of singers.In China, KTV is a more private affair with private rooms, with a big flat screen TV, a fancy entertainment system and couches. It is a place, where Chinese people go to sing and have fun with friends. KTV is usually an evening activity, but many clubs in big cities are open 24 hours. So KTV can really be something to do any time of day or night. Typically, the rooms are booked for a minimum time (for example, 2 or 3 hours). KTV clubs are full-service and you can order a full array of snacks and drinks throughout the evening.
If you are not going to KTV with Chinese friends or Chinese colleagues and you don’t know how to go about making a reservation, I would advise having a local friend, your hotel concierge or your tour agent to help you.
Especially in big cities on weekends, KTV is a popular thing to do. You may be able to walk up and book but you don’t want to plan a big night out only to find the rooms fully booked. Rooms vary in size so you’ll have made the reservation for the appropriate number of people. The rooms are usually big enough for up to 10 people but it can depend. Furthermore there are many different quality levels of KTV – it ranges from quite cheap to extremely expensive.
Advice: It is best to make sure you know the location of your party’s room before you leave to look for the washroom, as the hallway design is quite confusing, and if you’ve already had a few drinks – it may take you a long time to find your party room again!
KTV is a really fun way to spend some hours doing something that millions of locals enjoy doing, so you can consider it an authentic cultural experience.
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If you have lived, studied or worked in China you may have seen Chinese people playing different drinking games in KTVs, bars and clubs. There are lots of different games and they are actually quite fun. If your a foreigner and you go out with a group of people you are not well acquainted with, or perhaps you are a little shy; it’s a kind of Chinese way of breaking the ice. I’d like to list a few and how to play them.
Game 1 – 吹牛
First of all, there is show-off 吹牛, it has many different names but this is the easiest one to remember. This is perhaps the most common game all around China as the standard rules can vary between the provinces and cities and there is no limit to the amount of players at one time. Each person has a plastic cup with 5 dice inside, each number is representative of its real value except for one which is random (anything you want it to be). The aim of the game is to guess the amount of dice that everyone has together by only looking at your own, although you can lie. However you are not allowed to have 5 dice of different values, there must at least be two of a kind. As a quick example, if there are only two people playing (10 dice), and I have a two 1’s, two 4’s and a 3 – I can say four fours as adding in the one I have four fours (as well as the unknown amount in my opponent’s cup). They may not believe that I have that many and can open (開!), but of course they have lost and they must drink. Similarly, if in the same situation I called 5 threes, and they opened as there cup did not have any three’s inside, then I have lost as I only have 3 threes (adding in the one). So, the aim of the game is to guess whether the other person is bluffing and catch them out or to guess the correct collected amount of dice. Although, Here is an OK explanation of the rules as I am sure many people are confused.
There are also some very specialised rules, for example when playing 吹牛, you can say two/three/four/five …. 1’s. Whenever, you say 1, it can no longer be a wild/random dice and it is only one. This rule continues to be in effect until someone doubles the amount of their next call. For example If player 1 calls four 1’s (three players), and the next person says five sixes only (栽)….that means that if player 1 or 3 were to open player 2’s cup, the collected amount of dice must total five sixes discounting one. However, if player 3 believed that five of the 15 die were sixes he could say 7 sixes flying (飛), as the wager has jumped from 5 to 7, they can now include one.
There are also lots of other rules, like reversing the order, playing with dead dice (nothing is the same), not looking at your dice/or only looking once, and jumping the queue but they are hard to explain at most Chinese people play with the standard rules. Another thing to remember is when the club/bar/ktv is noisy many people will use hand signs to denote their wager….
Game 2 – 青蛙青蛙跳
There are so many other games I could talk about – like 十五二十 (15/20), 美女/警察/流氓 (Beautiful woman/Policeman/Vagabond), 蘭州拳 (Lanzhou fist), 007啪 （007bang), 大西瓜/小西瓜 （big/small watermelon), lucky, clapping rock/paper/scissors, 過反 (pass/reverse),….in fact I think I know around 20 different games. However, I’d like to share one I learned recently, its really easy to play. Its called 青蛙青蛙跳 – froggy froggy jump. No matter the amount of players, each person puts one hand palm face down on the table with their fingers flat, whoever decided to call first must say 青蛙青蛙跳 and then raise one of their four fingers on their thumb whilst keeping the others pressed down on the table. If any one else raises the same finger or thumb as the person who called, they lose and must drink. Then it is their turn to call. Easy.
This is just a brief introduction to the thousands of games that are played throughout China, there a lots of different games and some people even mix the games together (for example 大戰遊戲 – big war game). If you learn just a few, you can have a really great time.
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Last Friday, for our weekly event, interns in Qingdao watched Peking Opera at the Qingdao Grand Theatre. Actually, for me, although a Chinese from Qingdao, it was my first time to watch live Peking Opera, and it was special.
Peking Opera, also known as Beijing Opera, is called 京剧(jing ju) in Chinese. It is a traditional Chinese theatre and has a history of more than 200 years. It is an art form that combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics. The works of Peking Opera are mainly based on Chinese history and folklore.
The performance we watched that night was called ‘遇皇后打龙袍’, literally meaning meeting the queen and hitting the dragon robe. The story is from a Chinese classic literature. Bao Zheng is one of the most well-known ancient Chinese government offical in the history, and he met an old lady on his way back to Beijing. The old lady claimed herself as the mother of the emperor and had been set up by others. After verifying the old lady was the queen, Bao helped her to get back to Beijing and she blamed the emperor for all the misery she suffered. She ordered Bao to punish the emperor and Bao hit the dragon robe instead of hiting the emperor to save himself from being punished.
When the opera started, we were amazed by the unique sound made by the musical instruments, as they are quite different from what we heard from an orchestra. The songs have much more variations with stronger beats. They were in perfect cooperation with the singing of the players. Also the costumes the players wore were gorgeous as they have several colours and pattern on each one of them. The players also ‘told’ the story by their movement, for example, a walk around the stage would mean they took a long trip to somewhere. Even though it was kind of hard for us to get used to the music and to follow the story, we are glad that we decided to join the event!
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