Today we scheduled an excursion called ’scenic Dalian’ – this was designed to be a Sunday sightseeing bus ride around this growing and wealthy city of 6 million or so.
On a ship of 2500 passengers 400 or so were going on this excursion (DLC-290) in 11 buses. So how is it that yours truly is sitting blissful in an empty bus – bus A1 if you must know.
The answer is, for all you cruisers to be, Jay’s technique. You get to the collecting point a bit early (wheelhouse Bar at 8.15am for 8.30am in this case). They call the tour. You stand in line a get your sticker (see it on my t-shirt). Then, rather than wait for them to take you to the bus you tell them you need to go to the bathroom, take off the sticker, head to the gangplank, find the bus (which is usually pretty well marked) and there you are.
Dalian, as is the case for so many strategic cities in this part of the world, had a rough 20th century. It is located on a peninsula and has two excellent deep sea ports. The Japanese occupied it in the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895. Czarist Russia forced Japan to cede Dalian in the treaty that followed; and soon after restored it by lease to China. In the years that followed, Russia helped link Dalian to the Trans Siberian Railway and opened the area up for rapid economic development. In 1904, the Japanese struck back sinking the Russian Pacific Fleet in Port Arthur (their military base in Dalian) and by the end of the Russo-Japanese War had reoccupied Dalian – which they did until 1945. The development of Dalian as a port continued under the Japanese who used the area to stage their Manchurian invasion in 1931. Russia regained control of Dalian after World War II and restored it to Chinese rule in 1953.
Today Dalian is a big, busy city. Construction is ongoing everywhere you look. A new metro system prevented our visit to Zhongshan Square which was to be our first stop. We drove around it and saw all the elegant European-style buildings that now house commercial and financial businesses. Modern skyscrapers line the streets. Shops have the global brand names – Armani, Prada, LV etc etc. The cars are my metric. Mercedes and BMWs aplenty but lots of Audis, Jags, Hummers(?), and a very orange Lamborghini (sad color choice babe)
On to the Green Hill Platform to see the view. Greenery-check; Hill-check; Platform – check; view in front, telecommunications tower above, cableway to hilltop check; on our way.
Then went to Peoples Square. Liked this better. Flower Sellers Store across the way doing a brisk business.
Kite sellers in the park selling their colorful wares – note the lady covered up to avoid any hint of sun.
Joke!! it was so overcast the sun barely had a look in
Locals on the bench amazed by these crazy tourists taking pics of locals looking at crazy tourists.
Next stop was Xinghai Park. Its at the coast and is a huge open expanse of grass, monuments and statuary.
The main column commemorates the return of Hong Kong to China. In the background you can see the Dalian International Convention Center – the convention was on High Pressure Liquid Separation Techniques (been there done that). You can also see the huge Apartment buildings – many have a design and scale that would not be out of place in Vegas
The statues, I have now realized, are excuses for a ‘photo op’. everyone here loooooves a photo.
Take a pic of me skateboarding.
Take one of me next to (but not on) the lady traffic cop’s horse
And on and on
They also love a wedding. This crowd used an ambulance as the wedding transportation. Groom a bit nervous, smoking, will need the real thing if he doesn’t give up.
Then drove along the Ocean, between the mountains and the Yellow Sea. Rugged coastline seen from the North Bridge – you walk across it with your dearly beloved to signify togetherness.
Penultimate stop was at the Tiger Statue – a fun stop.
They were selling sunflower seeds roasted in butter and pistachios done the same way. Man is shelling the sunflower seeds (we think)
Also a gent selling these long multiple kites did a brisk business – note the US$ notes in hand.
Final stop – at the Duty Free (Friendship Store) – which wasn’t cheap and didn’t get our attention.
Back on board for an early departure and an early arrival at Beijing – our disembarkation.