The plan was to check out the TV Tower and have a nice dinner at the revolving restaurant. I figured we could stroll down Hong Kong Road and catch a cab at Yan An Road. Boy was I mistaken. There are truly no cabs to be found in certain places at certain hours of the day!
We finally hopped on a bus and got ourselves to the Zhong Shan Park stop, with the help of some friendly people next to us. When I saw a cab unexpectedly come our way, I was like MOM... RUN... !
Now this cab driver had a FOUL mouth! He kept screaming at other drivers, Mom refused to translate, the odor in his car was just awful, and he was driving like a maniac. I started to wonder if we were going to make it out of this alive!
But when we got towards the entrance, the cab driver did two things that really surprised us. First, he offered to wait for us to tour the tower and drive us back down the mountain. Second, he was adamant that we not purchase dinner tickets and even walked up to the ticket counter to make sure that we didn't. He insisted that the food was terrible and that if we really wanted good food, he could take us to other places that were much better and less pricy than here.
We were too stunned to know otherwise - plus why is he so BENT on helping us? But we reluctantly agreed and went up.
The tower was well... run down. The glass around the lookout really needed to be cleaned. The revolving restaurant had been closed for years. All that remained was a small coffee/gift shop. And the 'bonus' section at the very top of the tower was a haunted house.
Earlier Mom and I had both agreed that Qingdao has a ways to go before it can be considered a first-tier city in China. I would still move here in a heartbeat for this very reason! But the TV Tower needs some work if it is to be touted as a must-see tourist attraction. We didn't stay very long and thanked the cab driver profusely for his help.
We also did in fact ask him to take us to what he considers one of the best local restaurants in town. He dropped us off on a street with several local restaurants right along the water, and we quite enjoyed ourselves for the rest of the evening.
Afterwards we walked up the street to the promenade that lines the beach for a very long stretch.
I regret not taking a picture of the actual sidewalk but you can kind of see it in this picture. It just goes on and on for miles. The ocean is on the right, just beyond the trees, and residents were out and about on their evening walks. We took our time getting back to the hotel and walked along the beach as well.
Now THIS is what Qingdao should be promoting.
It was stunning.
Actually the Qingdao Tourism Bureau should HIRE me to promote this city! On the other hand, I don't necessarily want a ton of tourists to flood this place.
There is something very special about Qingdao, just the way it is.