Last weekend, some friends and I accomplished something that had been on our bucket list for a while: we camped on the beach.
Shilaoren is the nicest beach in Qingdao, and often thronged with people during the day. We had seen people with tents in the evening and wondered if we could do that too. We found a guy who rented a “6-8” person tent to us for cheap, and he came and set it up for us and everything. Of course, it turned out to be more like a 3-4 person tent, so out of the seven of us, 4 slept out on the beach in the elements, under the smog.
The later it got, the more deserted the beach became, and it was relaxing hearing the crash of the waves against the sand as we chatted and enjoyed each other’s company.
Of course, the bathrooms on the beach closed at 11, so we had to get a little creative after that…luckily, this is China, and people kind of just go all over the place anyway, so we didn’t get arrested or anything.
I finally snuggled into my sleeping bag after midnight, made myself a sand pillow, and managed to sleep for a few hours until the sun rose at 4am, because China is one giant timezone, and communism. It was strange waking up at 4:30 and seeing people already on the beach, walking, running, doing yoga, and even swimming. At one point, a Chinese man was circling us, just staring at the crazy laowai 老外 (foreigners) sleeping in the sand.
We finally sat up around 5:30 to a beach shrouded in fog and mist, grabbed some coffee and muffins from the coffee shop across the street, and enjoyed the morning beach atmosphere, as well as the stares of the village people on vacation to Qingdao who have never seen foreigners before.
While I slept terribly, it was a unique experience, and something I can cross off my bucket list, as well as a bonding time with good friends in my last weeks in this crazy country.