Throwback - China 2009

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Throwback Thursday post!

In 2009 my company sent me to China for two weeks to our offices in Qingdao. I am not a linguistics expert but to my ear it is pronounced Ching-tao. I had never heard of this city yet at the time there was a population of 7 million (on par to a NYC).

Fun fact: I quickly learned that the prior year Qingdao's Bay was host to the sailing events during the Beijing Olympics (~340 miles away).

Qingdao has a German colonial past. For this post I learned that in1898 the German government sent troops to occupy Qingdao and forced the Chinese government to pay and grant them a 99-year lease on the bay and the surrounding territory, due to the strategic location of the bay.

In 1903 the Germans started the Tsingtao Brewery, which is the second largest in China. There is a namesake annual international beer festival and I happen to be visiting during the time of the festival, but unfortunately I don't drink beer.

If my memory serves me correctly I stayed at the Shangri-La, which had beautiful accommodations, impeccable customer service, and I received one of the best massages of my LIFE from a masseuse name Stephanie. At work it was explained to me that everyone can personally select an English name.

Over the weekend I flew to Beijing to see the Great Wall and Forbidden city. I wore my nature hair in an afro puff (as you can see from the pictures below and eyes followed me where ever I went. Beijing and Qingdao had an approximate combined population of 25 million people, yet during my visit I encountered a African-America family at the Forbidden City and saw one Black man at dinner in Qingdao. The mother of a little girl prompted her to ask to take a picture with me and my tour guide did ask to touch my hair. Stephanie the masseuse even commented that she loved the way my hair felt.

Things that make you go hmmm...

  • I didn't recognize this as much but my coworker commented he had never met so many only children.

  • My resource for the assignment said that all children were required to take English.

  • The tour guide explained that outside the touristy areas you could get more exotic meats such as donkey... I was not a full fledge foodie at the time so my culinary adventure level was about a 4.

  • To this day I am still trying to figure out the situation with all of the babies in bottomless onesies and no diaper. Luckily I did not solve that mystery firsthand.

  • Even though I visited Asia previously and witnessed the use of the surgical face masks I was surprised by the number of people wearing them in Beijing. A fellow America on my tour commented he saw a man with a hole in his mask smoking a cigarette. Damn that would have been an amazing meme if only we had smartphones!

Have you been to China? What did you do and see?

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