Asia 2008:
Day 8 - Dalian, China


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Asia 2008: [Day 1 - Tokyo] [Day 2 - Kyoto] [Day 3 - Kobe] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Nagasaki] [Day 6 - Busan] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Dalian] [Day 9 - Beijing] [Day 10 - Beijing] [Day 11 - At Sea] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Shanghai] [Day 14 - Shanghai] [Day 15 - At Sea] [Day 16 - At Sea] [Day 17 - Hong Kong]

Monday, March 31: The sun was rising for our approach to Dalian, China. China is Debbie's 41st country, and Tom's 40th. Maybe someday Tom will make it to Belgium and catch up.
It was a clear, sunny day when we reached our berth in the Dalian harbor.
Chinese police and officials were waiting to greet us at the dock.
We headed out for our half-day tour of Dalian. If you're looking for "Place For Smoke," look no further than right next door to Pizza King.
Dalian has a large circle in the middle of the downtown area, called Zhongshan Square. It has a roundabout circling it, and buildings of many different architectural styles surrounding it.
Dalian is a clean, large, modern city, with pretty touches all over.
Our first visit was to the Dalian Radio & TV Tower, located at the top of a hill. Our stay was very short, so we got this shot as we were driving away. Yes, dear reader, sometimes we rearrange the order of photos in order to tell the story better, so please pretend that we are driving up to the tower in this shot.
Here's the view from the top of the tower looking toward the downtown area and a pretty park.
This view is of a series of neighborhoods of brand new homes that were surprisingly large for China.
This park had large pathways, with huge sculptures at various lookout points. You could easily spend a couple of days exploring this city.
This is a view of the container port area. At this point, we frantically searched for 1 yuan coins to feed the telescope, because we spotted a ship with familiar blue and red colors in the distance.
Score! It's a Maersk ship!
Back on the ground, our tour continued through the city of Dalian, past a flower shop, ...
... the government center, ...
... and a stadium featuring the Olympic rings.
Our next stop was a brand new area of Dalian where every apartment, bridge, and park looks like it was built within the past few years.
We got out and walked down the boulevard toward the sea and a very large structure that rose up on both sides. We'll see it up close in just a moment.
During our stroll, we encountered this happy sight: vending machines in China! We bought four cans of Royal Milk Tea, although in China, it's just Milk Tea. They cost 4 yuan each, about 65 cents, which was cheaper than $1.20 we paid in Japan, which tells us that it costs 55 cents to make it Royal.
The park had several white sculptures depicting various sporting events. Here is crewing for your viewing. Yes, we're poets.
This sculpture was in the middle and lowest point of a very long structure that rose up on both sides. You can see it from afar a few photos back.
Just beyond the structure was a large promenade area along the sea. Local vendors offered souvenirs and fast food. It was still fairly chilly this time of year, but we could tell that this would be a popular place in the summer.
This cool suspension bridge on the right was a small pedestrian bridge crossing a small river and connecting to even more waterfront walkways.
Back up the street where the buses were waiting, there was a large circle with a decorated pole in the center, and decorated street lamp poles along the edges.
When we returned to the bus, we photographed the ancient technology of the soda can pull tab, still practiced by local canning artisans in China. No modern pop tops for the Chinese, no sir!
We passed this brand new castle, which is actually the Dalian Shell Museum. Seriously.
Our tour continued along the coastline, which is a popular vacation destination. This is the entrance to the zoo. Note the animal sculptures on the right.
Our next stop was picturesque Beida Bridge. Here's the bus station sign -- bummer for you if you can't read Chinese.
Here's the bridge itself, ...
... and here's the view looking down toward the sea from the bridge.
Here's the view from the bus stop. There were several sets of brides and grooms being photographed on the beach below.
We saw many more tourist attractions, including amusement parks and a Sea World-style attraction, commemorated here in the highway decoration.
Welcome to Roast Meat W. O. R. L. D.
Our tour bus passed this circle for the second time on our way back to the harbor. This boat is a fountain in warmer weather, with hundreds of small water spigots representing the ocean surrounding it. We used our imaginations to picture it.
After our tour, we got onto the ship-sponsored shuttle bus to the Friendship Store near the main circle.
The Friendship Store consisted of 8 - 10 floors, split up like a typical department store, except that every single area had 4 - 6 sales people poised to strike. We rode the escalators up and down, then left quickly, since any attempts to slow down and actually look at merchandise ended in ambush.

It was still sunny and beautiful when we departed later that afternoon. Next up: Beijing!

Day 9 >


Asia 2008: [Day 1 - Tokyo] [Day 2 - Kyoto] [Day 3 - Kobe] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Nagasaki] [Day 6 - Busan] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Dalian] [Day 9 - Beijing] [Day 10 - Beijing] [Day 11 - At Sea] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Shanghai] [Day 14 - Shanghai] [Day 15 - At Sea] [Day 16 - At Sea] [Day 17 - Hong Kong]

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