Every evening Qingdao’s beaches fill with bathers who wade in the sandy waters, many fully clothed. On shore, muscular old men do squats and stretch, as they have for decades. Back then, this northeastern coastal Chinese town was all low-level seaside resorts, slow-moving bicycles and retirees.
Nowadays, throngs of holiday makers pack the beaches, mucky but clean by Chinese standards, and high-rises tower over what was sand less than two decades ago. They gorge on local seafood and guzzle the namesake Tsingdao beer, made at the brewery established in 1903 by German settlers.