AsiaChinaQingdao

Pick up Dad

Qingdao Travel Blog

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Dad and Tracy in front of the hotel.

  Tracy and I embark to the bus station and jumped on one as it was rolling out of the service area.  We leave at 9:00 and with dad's flight arriving in Qingdao at 11am it was just enough time.  As usual, I doze off immediately on the bus (too excited the night previous) but Tracy is wide-eyed awake... nervous.  I relay again how gregarious and affable dear ol' dad is, she doesn't believe me.

  Two hours later, on the highway near the airport, we jump off and snag a taxi to Liuting, Qingdao Airport.  Once there, potty breaks settled, we go to the arrivals floor and start looking at the boards.  A little jump start of the heart after reading the 2nd of 3 boards and not seeing dad's flight.

Tai Chi in the Kite Square.
  My mind spins as I try to recall dad's itenerary. Questions arise to the surface: "It IS Beijing time, right?  Or is it Pacific Standard?  Has he been waiting here a long time already?  Are we hours late?  Or are we way too early?"

  Tracy beckons me to the third display and points out dad's flight.  Landed, on time, no worries.  11:10am, dad should be coming out of customs...  Tracy: "Matt your father's coming!"  Haha, he made it!

  After some hugs and (long overdue?) introductions we set out to head back to Weifang.  Tracy decides rather than going all the way into downtown Qingdao just to take a bus and backtrack in the same direction to Weifang, we should hitch a ride on the side of the highway, hoping a bus on its way to Weifang can give us lift.

Tai-Chi in Kite Square.
  We give it a try.

  A funny feeling it is when a relative comes to visit and the first thing you do upon their arrival is attempt to hitch a bus ride.  There we are standing on the side of the highway, the three of us waiting for busses to go by.  Some time elapses, Tracy and dad and myself, chatting.  First bus is too full, no empty seats.  Second bus is a long distance one, not to Weifang.  Suddenly feeling skeptical of this plan of action, a clean, comfortable, new minivan stops for us with room for just 3 more people.  And it just happens to be going to Weifang. 

  An hour and a half later we are checking into the hotel nearby my apartment.  I forgot my passport though and the Chinese clerks won't check us in without first seeing it.

Dad and Matt watching the action.
  No problem since the apartment is just down the street, maybe 10 minutes.  Unfortunetly the former president of China, Jiang Zi Ming, is staying at the 5 star hotel nearby and the roads are blocked... by Chinese policemen... police vehicles... cones, ropes... and the army!  After walking in a mad circle to my apartment, retrieve my passport and return to the hotel, took about 40 minutes to check into that thing.  Argh.

  We then take a journey out to the bank so dad can change some money.  We notice the new Kite Square opened across the street and decide to take a look.  An impressive site it turned out to be.  Newly opened, the square had vivid, gorgeous flowers and trees, a river meandering through the back side and an enormous, elaborate fountain in the center.

The fountain in the square.
  Locals were out kite flying, children shouting and playing, the older folks getting some sun, talking their game.  We walk, look around (have my picture taken with some locals) and wouldn't you know it if there wasn't a gathering of Tai-Chi players out there! 

  Dressed in traditional silky whitish/gray garbs, others in blue and yet a few more in red.  It was such a contradiction of forces coming together at one moment in time.  Dad all the way from CA comes to a crowded community square in Weifang where action and activity and loud noise is abundant.  Locals whooping, children scampering, dad and I getting all kinds of attention from gawks to guffaws: points, stares, smiles.  And in the middle of this mad house, here are these elaborately-dressed Tai-Chi'ers going through their motions with surgeonesque precision and focus, seemingly unaware of their surroundings.

One of the many old men at the Kite Square.
  It was mezmerizing.  That moment in dad's trip was (and the memory of it still is) down right inspirational.  Ancient Chinese practices, medicine, Tai-Chi, accupuncture is so fascinating, great to experience it with Tracy and pop.

  Unexpectedly, whilst basking in the spirit of the Tai-Chi folk, a sonic boom erupts from the gargantuian speakers nearby in the form of obnoxious cartoony-sounding music.  The overgrown fountain flanking us starts spewing water 25 feet into the air.  Some run away from the water, but a multitude more actually run toward it.  The locals (mostly younger generation) play, splash, run around, push and pull, taunt and joke each other and the water.  All to music Tom And Jerry would appreciate.

Flowers.
   

  After the inspiriting scene of Tai-Chi players and then the goofy one starring Weifang locals, we decide to see the Kite Musuem, located (conviently) in the Kite Square.  When we three arrive to the entrance it is quartered off with police and cones and rope and at that moment was being overseen to by a mob of Chinese folk.  Our old buddy, Mr. Jiang, former President of China was inside... whatta guy!  

  With the Kite Museum closed, the three of us cruised around Weifang, had a nice lunch of local Yunnan (where Tracy is from) food and even went to 'The DVD Shop' and the McDonald's (for a sit, for the fun of it).  The three of us got to talk a bunch and Tracy and dad got very aquainted as well.

River and apartments by the square.
  This whole day was a shock to the senses: dad was really in Weifang!  The reality of it was a long time coming to set in.  Dad brought good luck, good weather and smiles to everyone around.  When dad comes, he doesn't mess around, just plays and plays.  A big kid, just ask Tracy.  Right pop?    
 

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Dad and Tracy in front of the hote…
Dad and Tracy in front of the hot…
Tai Chi in the Kite Square.
Tai Chi in the Kite Square.
Tai-Chi in Kite Square.
Tai-Chi in Kite Square.
Dad and Matt watching the action.
Dad and Matt watching the action.
The fountain in the square.
The fountain in the square.
One of the many old men at the Kit…
One of the many old men at the Ki…
Flowers.
Flowers.
River and apartments by the square.
River and apartments by the square.
132 km (82 miles) traveled
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photo by: aleksflower