We also decided to take a trip to Hainan, an island in the south that is referred to as the Hawaii of China. We went to several travel agencies to ask for ticket prices, and in one of them they had a giant world map which very accurately depicted the hilarious “Florida Expansion” phenomenon:
Later in the week we ventured to yet another famous, and very cheap, market, Jimo. It is indoors, unlike Taidong, and very large. It is about five stories tall (some underground) and much like a maze.
Every time you turn there is a hallway or a nook of stores . . . it seems endless! We found a lot of great souvenirs and clothes there, even real Qingdao pearls for great prices! This place is highly recommended. Be prepared for a slew of nonstop “Hello!” and “Come, look-a look-a!” from the friendly salespeople.
We also went to the movie theater in the top floor of a large department store called Mykal. Since we had some time before the movie, Transformers 2, began, we went to a tea house next door. While looking at the menu we found another funny translation:
We didn’t “get hit by a fruit dish” but we shared a pot of lovely chrysanthemum tea. After the movie we went to dinner at a place called HBR Music Kitchen. The food is phenomenal, as is the service, and there is a person playing the piano near the tables.
Then on Friday, at long last, my 25th birthday!!! We returned to Pho 08, the delicious Vietnamese restaurant, for dinner. Then we went to sing karaoke. Karaoke in China is no ordinary karaoke night at a bar…it is a BIG deal. Here, there are places called KTVs, freestanding buildings dedicated solely to karaoke (and there are as many of them as Starbucks in the US). They have private rooms where you don’t have to wait for other people to sing, it’s just you and your friends! There are servers, bars, and they have as many songs in English as they do in Chinese. It’s a fantastic experience. After that, we went to Le Bang and Corner Jazz Club, two dance clubs we frequent and love. We danced until well after the sun was up…it was a great birthday celebration!
View all articles by Deborah Zinn.