This morning the haze seemed to have faded away leaving a mostly blue sky with fluffy white clouds. It was perfect weather as we watched endless cornfields pass by on our way to Qingdao.
I am very excited to see that the city has finally started construction on the subway system it’s been talking about since before the 2008 Olympics and it has gone green by adding new electric buses. All the more important as the number of cars seems to have tripled since I left making it almost impossible to drive or ride a taxi. Qingdao has never been a city I would want to drive in, and it’s not exactly bicycle friendly either, but now it seems to really have outgrown its parking and roads. It is a sign of growing prosperity as more people are able to afford cars.
More signs of the city growing are with more 24 restaurants and more access to Wifi. The KFC and McDonald’s by my old apartment are now both 24 hours with free wifi, which would have been nice when I still lived here and struggled to find coffee at 6 am. Before the fast food, my old street used to be deserted by 10pm when the night market closed.
It is so nostalgic walking by my old apartment. I can still navigate my way around and it looks the same, people still remember me, but it’s not the same. I don’t really belong there anymore.
For more feelings of nostalgia, we had dinner at my favorite hot pot restaurant with some of our old friends. The food and company was great and almost surreal. It felt so normal. Hot pot is normal as it should be a regular part of anyone’s diet as it is so delicious, I wonder how I survived without it. Then the conversations felt like it had only been 3 weeks since I had last seen my friends and not three years. My friends’ two-year-old children were probably the only real marker of time having passed.