Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dalian, China

Not even three weeks passed back in Seoul before we were packing our bags again and headed back to China.  Because we had obtained a two-visit visa when we traveled to Guilin in the spring, we needed to return to China before October.  Since Bob had business meetings in Dalian the first week of September, we decided that we would take the opportunity to combine that trip with a visit to Beijing, where our friends, the Davis', now live.  Unfortunately for us, they were in the states at that time welcoming a new grand-baby into their family.  What a blessing it was that they let us stay in their beautiful apartment and use their driver, Mr. Ma, to help us see the sights.  Beijing will be the subject of another post.

Dalian is the southernmost city of northeast China and from Seoul is about an hour flight slightly northwest across the yellow sea to the Liaoning peninsula. It was a nice city and is considered one of the most livable places in China and a top tourist destination due to it's beaches and shopping.  When Bob and I arrived on Monday, September 2, we went for a walk and discovered Friendship Square with it's iconic ball sculpture, along with Zhongshan Square surrounded by Russian style financial buildings.

The five-star Intercontinental Hotel where we stayed was much nicer than many places we've been.  Yes, the perks of business travel!  You've gotta love the Lamborghini out front.  I think it fits Bob well, don't you?

For dinner that night we dined on seafood in typical Chinese style.  Seafood was selected from tanks and then cooked and served to the group.  We were grateful that most of the options did not make it onto our table!

The following day, while Bob was in meetings, I walked around the city and came upon a beautiful large park. Asia is known for developing huge parks where the crowds can go to enjoy some "green space" and time in nature.  Labor park featured not only water features, trees and trails, but a big amusement park, a cable car to a tower on top of a mountain, and a sled ride down the hill.  Of course, the cable car and sled couldn't be ignored.  I had to chuckle at the artificial flowers "planted" around the park, as well as the locals picking "weeds" to take to their restaurants as additions to their green salads.  We still have not become accustomed to those bitter leaves they seem to love in Asia.

 The view from the top of the tower provided some fabulous views of Dalian including the coast and shipyard.  The green rolling hills look just like those in Korea.

That afternoon, I got a peek at some additional recreation activities and endless shopping that was available in the city.  I visited an underground fashion market that was the largest in Asia!  Snacks could be purchased at the "Hello Kitty" cafe in a local mall, or from a popular bakery on the streets.  I did purchase a small Mongolian woodcarving as a souvenir.

Mongolian fare was the selected cuisine for dinner our second evening in Dalian.  The cute restaurant featured lots of traditional wood work, and our dining room was no exception.  The presentation of their famous Mongolian beef was quite a sight, and the flavor of the tender cuts were equally impressive!

  (To be continued . . .)

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