China Diary

Day 63: The Bare-Footed Kid


The cold sea water is splashing to my knees, as I slowly and tediously walk barefooted on the slippery rocks and seashells that crunch under my feet. I have to stop every ten steps, for my feet hurt so bad, but I can’t fall down: that would be the end of my cellphone, wallet, not to mention my clothes. I’m cursing, in Finnish. Someone made a bad miscalculation on when the high tide would arrive, and that’s the reason I’m standing here, seawater up soon reaching my waist and far away from any shore.

We had been dragged out of our beds early, early in the morning to take a two-and-a-half-hour ride to the location on the island that’s covered under tide water for the most part of the day. Our plan is to go there to start our tech recce, to lay down the plans, but whoever calculated the schedule screwed it up completely, and after the long ride and max half an hour on the island blocking the scenes, one of the production people screams that the tide is coming, that we have to get off the island or be swept away by the seawater.

Already it was too late: the water had covered the land bridge that leads to the shore, so the only question remained: would I like to ruin my brand new shoes I had just bought, or risk the unknown and walk the 300 meters stretch barefoot.

Barefoot it is.

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Leaving the location can sometimes be challenging…

Back on the shore, I curse to Lei the dumbness of the decision. Such a long ride, just few minutes on the island and even then we get sealocked. My feet are soaking wet the whole day, and we have a full day of location scouting ahead of us. It’s not turning into my favorite days, I can tell.

Mika is not happy, either. On top of that, his back has snapped yesterday when hauling the luggage, so we have to book a masseuse to unlock it. By the time we finish our day and get to the massaeuse, it’s already evening. The old Qingdao has reached its’ peak hour: bright neon signs light the night amidst the charmingly crumbling buildings and streets. The fish restaurants are packed, every corner is full of little stands selling freshest of the fresh seafood. While Mika is being brutalized, I decide to take a little walk around the neighborhood.

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Qingdao alleys have some character in them.

The production managers seem a bit worried, so they wade after me. We, of course, can’t speak anything to each other, so I just peek in and out of different shops and alleys, finding amazing little nooks and establishments everywhere. The overland electric wires in jumbled mess above me, the sickly yellow street signs, it’s all perfectly untouristy and right up my alley as a travel experience.

 

 

There’s a little joint selling beer straight from the barrels, Qingdao style: in a plastic bag. I get a bag and wander back to see if Mika is done – he is. We head for an amazing seafood dinner (again), and on the way home engage in a lengthy discussion with one of our production guys who speaks good English about politics, the kids in China

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Bag of beer, please!

and the whole system the country operates on. It’s interesting, and quite rare – it seems people don’t seem to be talking too much about these topics, but to him – having lived in the states for quite a while – it’s a natural topic. Our talks criss-cross between Mao, Trump and Kim Jong-Un.

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