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Qingdao- “ Blue Island”

Qingdao(Tsingtao)means “blue island” in Chinese. Originally the name of a little blue island off the coast of the Shandong(Shantung)Peninsula, it later became the name of a small fishing village located on shore Today Qingdao is one of China’s finest deep-water ports, a summer resort and an industrial center.

Surrounded on three sides by water, this city of one and a half million faces Huang Hal(the Yellow Sea)to the south and east and a large bay to the west. Cold ocean currents from the north provide cooler temperatures in the summer than normally found for this altitude. The city is loved for its clear fresh air, the blue sea, the green hills, the red tile roofs of its houses and the trees and flowers everywhere. The beauty of Qingdao is especially to be found along the five kilometers of beaches and around a number of small bays.

Oianhai Pier, actually an extension of the city’s main thor Oughfare, Zhongshan Road, is a favorite spot. This cement pier was first built in l891 and served as a dock before the present Dagang dock was built. The pier has since then been expanded and renovated several times so that today it protrudes 440 meters out into the sea. A semi-circular breakwater and a traditional-style, octagonal pavilion have been added at its southern end where it is almost completely surrounded by the sea. Turning back towards land you see the waves washing the shore and the city sprawled out on the slopes of the hill. A never ending flow of strollers come to watch the tide to feel the mood of the sea and to enjoy the fairyland atmosphere of the evening when the myriad stars twinkle as though in communication with the glittering city lights. Out on the sea, the lights of the buoys and boats create a milky way on earth.

And in the morning? At the crack of dawn come to the sea and to a different world. Oblivious to the rolling waves lashing against the shore, old people shadow-box or stroll on the beach while young people are jogging along on the street above. The sun, rising at about six, is incomparably resplendent.

Just east of the pier is Lu Xun(Lu Hsun) Park, named after the famous revolutionary writer and thinker of the 1930’s. Here are winding mountain paths and a view of the sea; perfect for strolling. To the east is the aquarium, the oldest in China. Today, a center for research and education, here one can learn about coastal marine life, resources and marine science with the aid of electrical charts, models and exhibits. The aquarium has many live exhibits if rare species.

Furhter along is the attractive white building of the Qingdao Navigation Club, the first of its kind in China. Thousands of young workers and students come here to study navigation, diving and signalling contests.

The beach itself is broad, with soft, fine sand. Sloping very gently down to the water’s edge, it is ideal for sea and sun bathing. Altogether Qingdao has seven bathing beaches, each equipped with runs fresh-water showers and cabanas. The swimming season runs from July to September, the water in August averaging a temperature of 24 degrees C. Every summer thousands come to the beaches, thousands of swimmers.

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