Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dalian Dalliance

Music: Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys - Danube Wave Waltz (if Japanese surf-guitar bands covering the classics is your kind of thing, you should check this out)
Air Quality in Liaoning today: Dusty, with an alluring hint of gasoline.

So, at the moment it is National Day Holiday in China. National Day holiday, naturally, lasts a week, and incorporates the mid-autumn festival, which is all about mooncakes and whatnot.

I spent last weekend in Dalian, its the big touristy part of Liaoning Province, about 4 hours by bus. There's a LOT of money in Dalian, (amongst the usual grinding poverty) as illustrated by the million dollar seaside apartments, the flashy western stores, and the brand new full size Bavarian Castle:

The first night in town was okay, after some great Indian food (Dalian's draw is pretty international) we went to an Irish pub, drank expensive guinness (45 RMB a pint, about what you're average Chinese person makes in a day) and talked to a few of the resident drunken old Irish guys (I think they import them with the Guinness and those barrels and flags that all Irish pubs have) but they were more interested in the Chinese ladies of negotiable affection so I retreated early.

Determined not to leave town without meeting some amiable english speakers who shared my favoured vices of booze and music, I tried again on Saturday, heading to a bar called 'noahs'. Not a bad place, if Tom and Jerry cartoons and live accordian are your thing. What the bar did have however, was that most reliable of good times, CANADIANS. Many Gan Bai's of Japanese beer later, I staggered down to a place called JDs (the bar that most westerners will tell you to steer clear of) with a Canadian guy called Rob, and a mad Swedish Giant who's name I don't recall. JD's is your classic dingy nightclub, full of smoke, sweat, sticky floors, overpriced watery drinks and, in this case anyways, Russians, Chinese, Koreans and a handful of other foreigners. The music was okay, the Borboun and Sprites (blame the Canadian)were going down fine, and I woke up in the morning in the correct bed, in the correct hotel, with all of my belongings and organs, as well as a bunch of contacts for next time I head to the city. So all in all, mission accomplished.

The rest of the time was spent wandering the town, eating things on sticks, looking at various monumenty things and going to the beach. So here's a bunch of photos. If you simply can't get enough, there's a whole lot more here.

Dalian has been occupied by both the Russians and the Japanese in the past, so some of the architecture deviates from the patented Chinese drabness. Anyway, nothing says 'clash of old and new, socialism and capitalism' than this:

Old building, new tenants

I preferred to stick to eating the street food, which was tasty and cheap, even if a little gigeresque:

Squid on a stick

So this is a typical Dalian skyline:

Onward and Upward

Friendship Park, Dalian

This is typical Dalian traffic:

Traffic, China Style

This is one of the bits you're not supposed to look at:

The bits you're not supposed to look at.

This is something that leads me to believe I may have been missing something about the whole toilet experience:

The greatest toilet ad ever

And, continuing on that theme, using a urinal in China is apparently comparable to the discovery of writing, the wheel, and placing a man on the moon:

One giant leap for civilisation

By the way, in China, as in most of the world, taking out your camera in a crowded public restroom is going to win you a few odd looks.

Here I am chillaxing in Zhongshan Square (I think)


And here's me hanging with Adam and Eve, who are according to the Chinese, 9 foot tall overweight Martians, with goofy grins and, in Adams case, a golden wang.

Adam, Eve, and Me.

This is getting really long now, so I'll leave you with one of Dalian's Icons, the big sphere of something or ratherness.

Dalian sphere thing

I'd like to think that if you committed some particularly dastardly crime in China (like promoting democracy) you'd be imprisoned in here for a 1000 years.

Of course, in reality, they just execute you and sell your organs.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I have a sudden craving for squid on a stick.

Anonymous said...

that thing on the stick looks delicious. I want a full report on flavour, consistency and texture. and dude adam HAD to have a golden wang

Reggie Fucken Arcade said...

The squid looks like a Grey. (The big grey aliens that are responsible for most abductions. Apparently they are all clones and - get this - may have evolved from dolphins).

Be sure to advise once you have eaten the 'Christopher Robin'.

Ben said...

Yeah the squid was tasty, but squid being what it is (pretty bland and rubbery) that was probably more to do with what was on it.

I'm of the opinion that almost anything is edible, enjoyable even, if barbequed then slathered with copious amounts of chilli sauce.

Anonymous said...

Damn! Dalian aye. My only experience of Dalian until this point was liberating it of the pesky PLA as the mighty US Army in Battlefield 2. So what can I say - enlightening to be sure.

Anonymous said...

I think what the Chinese are missing from the toilet experience is 1) cleanliness, 2)you dont always get to sit down [never in public, unless your are a little kid sitting on some old man's lap pissing on the street] and 3)well just about everything you get to experience in a clean Western bathroom.

Maybe they equate that with earth shattering orgasms.

Anonymous said...

Dibs on the Dalian traffic pic....I need to add that to The China Drivers Exam :}{

Ben said...

The picture's all yours. Nice site by the way.