07 October 2006

Qingdao New Moon

Qingdao is a very eclectic city, what with being occupied by half a dozen different governments over the past century or two. They are very proud of their mixed architectural styles, from German to Japanese to Chinese and even a little Korean. The landscape is hilly by the sea, the food is quite good (sea cucumber soup is much softer than live sea cucumber in Korea), and at least today (New Moon Festival), people are rather friendly and cheerful. There is apparently some custom here of lighting a ring of fire on the ground; maybe it represents the full moon… That full moon is shining above the sea, which is still host to the late night beach walkers. There is a wonderful anonymity of walking alone in the dark on a beach in a foreign country. You are not automatically singled out as different. There is a concern over here of the rumors of an imminent DPRK nuclear test. China really wants things stable in the run up to the 2008 Olympics (thus their change in suddenly deciding that ABE can visit China no problem). A North Korea nuclear test could really mess things up for China. But instead of nuke tests, the explosions outside my window turned out to just be fireworks on the beach. Happy New Moon Festival (or for those in Korea, Happy Chusok).

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