Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Escape to the Oceanside

Alright, well, I lied. I said I was only going to have one more post of my experiences in China. But, there's absolutely NO WAY that is going to happen. Y'all who know me know that I often have a lot to say. Since I'll be traveling to three places, I have three adventure stories to share, which means three more blogs

I have never realized how much I've missed the blue skies until I finally went without it. Even living in the Seattle area my whole life, I saw more of the sun and sky there than I do here in Zibo. I was grateful for the chance to head east over to Qingdao, which is on the ocean (technically, it's the China East Sea). 

It was about a 3hr drive to the beach. Naturally, I slept most of the way because 1) it was not a short car ride... and 2) I was in a car with Chinese speakers, of which I couldn't really communicate nor understand the conversations that were happening. I figured sleep was the best alternative. Anyways, once we finally got to Qingdao, we headed straight to the beach. Unfortunately, it was raining hard and the sun wasn't shining. However, it was still quite warm outside and the beach was still crowded with people. So, we figured, why not? Off we went into the sea with the pouring down rain. I think eventually it let up, but I didn't even notice. It was such a fun time. 

Coco had only ever been to the water one time, and it was years ago. She doesn't know how to swim and she was slightly (okay, incredibly) scared to get passed her knees in the water. In time, I encouraged her to get out more, but what really did the trick was that her husband bought us a couple of tubes to float in. With that, we headed into the deep and let the waves crash down on us. She was like a little kid on Christmas morning. I really enjoyed my time mainly because she was having such a blast. After a bit, I taught her how to float. It took some time, but soon she was able to float on her back all on her own. It made the idea how being in the water less scary knowing that she could float. 

That night, we got together with the rest of Coco's family and had dinner together. Sooooo much food! I tried something. It was nasty. But I tried it. And I'm proud of myself. So, first of all, I'm definitely not a seafood eater and I know nothing about it. But you know how you eat clams? Apparently, people eat mussels, too. Coco gave it to me, and I ate it. Yea, definitely NOT a fan. Never again. But hey, I tried it. Success.

The next day, we spent the entire morning and afternoon at the Polar Ocean World. It truly was incredible. We saw penguins, polar bears, and dolphins... Oh my! I had never seen a polar bear before. It was cute; it was swimming back and forth up against the glass that we were looking through. The weather was insanely hot today. The sun was out and we were baking. We wished that the two days were switched (hot on the beach day and rainy on the park day). But it was still fun, even though we were outside in the hot hot sun hours on end.

Which leads into... We went to animal shows! We saw the dolphins perform and they were the cutest thing! Anyone who knows me knows that my greatest wish is to swim with dolphins; I was loving every second of it. They were jumping and flipping and hula hooping, and it was amazing. There was also a beluga whale that performed. He was a smart one. Then we went to see the sea lions, who were just hilarious. They really do do the clapping of their fins and laughing sound. They were bouncing around and catching hoops. Lastly, the walrus came out and was just a lazy bum. All of the shows were in Chinese and so I didn't fully understand what was happening, but from how the walrus was responding,  I knew it was something funny. 

After the park, we drove back to Zibo. Remember how it was only 3hrs getting to Qingdao? It tooks nearly 7hrs to get back home. It was a LONG drive. I slept for most of it (of course). It was definitely a fun trip to Qingdao! 

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