Lushun, Sandy Tigers & Crazily Angry Tour Girl
Trip Start Jan 01, 2005
756Trip End Ongoing
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Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,
Have you ever had one of those places that after hearing about you always hoped that one day you would get a chance to sample the local beer, yet almost from the very moment you arrived the place and the people just didn’t seem to fit the destination offered and created in your own mind. I know it has only been two nights and a single day but so far Dalian has in no way blown my hair back. In fact I’ve found only a small handful of 'nice’ people, the others I am more than happy to slot into the very rude, selfish and greedy category who have done everything possible to rape my wallet and rob me blind.
This doesn’t just include the tourist industry as last night I asked a small group of people for directions and they wanted me to pay them.
There are no small hotels that have permission to accept foreigners that I could find so I had to settle for a large hotel at twice the price I normally like to pay and I only settled for that hotel because the lady at reception treated me like a human being and not a wallet. After chatting for some time she told me that she believed I was being treated the way I was because everyone thinks I am Russian. We then got to talking and she asked what I wanted to see in Dalian. Actually for me Dalian has always supposedly been about relaxation and beaches and when I mentioned beaches she nearly fell off her chair laughing as Dalian’s beaches can in no way be compared to even one of the worst sandy beaches back in Australia.
She then rang a friend and we haggled over the cost for him to drive me around the following day and I then headed out in search of Beer N Noodles. Today though ended up being one of the worst days I’ve had in China.
The first several minutes were ok as I met my driver down stairs at seven and he then showed me a picture of his car which had been backed into by a large tour bus thankfully last evening and not this morning. Even though he was without a car he was so apologetic and started calling people to see if he could borrow a car for the day which I put a stop to and told him that dealing with his car was much more important.
I figured as I had planned a day being driven around why not just join a tour group.
A VERY BAD MISTAKE!
When the tour bus arrived and the tour guide saw I was a foreigner her face turned into one of the most amazing scowls I have ever seen. She had a total disliked me from the moment she laid eyes on me and went about doing her best to make my day very un-enjoyable. It then took three hours to drive the twenty six kilometers to Lushun due to collecting people from different hotels, all of whom were well over twenty minutes late. At several of the sites Angry Tour Girl had the driver stop and she then told me that I had no ticket for the site and had to leave the bus until they returned.
I simply then went directly to the ticket office, showed my tour ticket and was shown through the gate and this made her extra spiteful.
When we arrived at the Wetlands Site she did the same and quickly ran across to the ticket office and back to the bus and off they went on the Wild Wetlands bus adventure. After showing Angry Tour Guides friend my ticket I was told that it didn’t include this site, so I grabbed a seat, a bottle of cold water and kicked back listening to music for the next half an hour. When they arrived back the rest of the group was shown into the park and Crazy Tour Guide went across and began chatting to other Tour Guides.
Soon after she was pointing to me and obviously arguing with one of them.
The other Tour Guide then came over and asked if I was from Russia and after telling her I was from Australia she went to my bus, grabbed my things, put them on her bus and after yelling something at Crazy Tour Girl, who I happily waved good bye to as she stood wide eyed like a stunned owl, we sped off in the direction of Dalian.
I thought that Nice & Happy Tour Girl was being my knight in little shorts and sneakers, saving me from the green dragon and was going to drop me off at my hotel.
Thankfully I was wrong and we were soon winding our way along Binhai Lu which offers tremendous views of the cliffs and sea as it zig zags its way through the hills and along the coast. We spent several hours at Tiger Beach visiting the bird aviary, chilling out and we then slowly headed back to Dalian. After waving a cheery thankful good bye to Lovely Tour Girl and Group I began walking around the city and stumbled across the Russian Tourist Street which was a nice find as it brought back some memories from 2000 when I took both the Trans Mongolian and Trans Siberian all the way to St Petersburg and stayed with families at Lake Baikal and Moscow.
Besides Russian architecture the tourist street doesn’t really offer much that is Russian.
Instead it offers the same Chinese tourist ‘stuff’ that is found everywhere else in China.
Lushun (Port Arthur)
Lushun is not completely open to foreign tourists and we are required to obtain special permission from the local Lushun Police Bureau for entry in advance otherwise we will be refused….or like me, join a tour group and hope you don’t get Crazy Angry Tour Girl!
Located to the southwest of Dalian is Lushun, the former military and strategic port colonized by Russia. Today it is a place with museums and historical sites for tourists to learn the history of the city. Also known as 'Port Arthur', it occupies the west end of Dalian City and the south edge of the Liaodong Peninsula, surrounded by sea on three sides. In this advantaged geographical position, it is a beautiful tourist city zone with a long history.
From the time of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), it was of strategic military importance and up until the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), it was known as Shizikou (Lion Port). It was during the Ming Dynasty that it was given its present name 'Lushun', which expresses a wish for 'plain sailing and a favorable voyage.' In 1894 during the Sino-Japanese War the Japanese army captured Lushun and massacred many of its people. The area suffered again in 1904 when it became a major battlefield during the Russo-Japanese War. Lushan then endured Japanese rule for more than forty years following the surrender of the Russian forces. It was not until the Soviet Union disarmed them in 1945, that Lushun was returned to China.
Russo-Japanese War Site
East Crest Hill (Jiguan Hill) was a battlefield during Russo-Japanese War in 1904. It was here that the Russian army established a strong fortress after Lushun became a territory leased to Russia 1898. As the main feature on the hill, it houses the Cultural Relic Protection Unit as well as being the patriotism education base in Dalian. A museum was built in 1997 to display historical materials of the war.
Originally built in 1917, the world-class museum covers an area of 25,000 square meters and is of a stately, elegant European style. Over 100,000 cultural relics are displayed in two themes: historical cultural relics and local cultural relics. Among them, there are bronzes, ancient coins, paintings and calligraphies, mummies, and some foreign relics.
World Peace Park
This seashore park was completed in 2002 with a theme of psalms by world heads of states. In 1998, they each wrote a poem in their mother tongue praying for world peace. These people included the past Chinese President Jiang Zemin and American President Clinton. The bronze statues of 96 heads of state and their poems are carved as the major feature. There are also artworks and fine stamps with the theme of peace presented by world countries.
There has a touching folklore about Tiger Beach and it is a love story about a hunter and a beautiful girl. They fell in love at first sight. A tiger demon lusted after the charming of the girl and possessed her. The hunter vowed to take his lover go back. After the fierce battle, the hunter killed the tiger, but he lost his fair lady forever from the world.
Zhongshan Square, also called 'Nicholas Square' was originally built in the Russian colonial period. This round square is typical of the blending of western styles of Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance with a variety of old European style buildings surrounding an elegant marble circle terrace. Today, government financial institutions are housed in those old buildings and the square becomes a weekend leisure place for local people.
As the first avenue of the city, it was constructed over one hundred years ago when Dalian commenced its construction. Now the street has been renovated to accommodate tourists. The four hundred meter long street consists of twenty Russian and European style buildings. As one of the most dynamic cities in North China, Dalian never fails to invent new attractions and as it epitomizes 19th century Russia it was created to add an exotic touch to the seaside city.
Now For a Bit on Dalian City
Dalian, compared to ancient capital cities such as Beijing, Xian, Nanjing or Luoyang, is a young city with only a one hundred year history. Situated at the tip of China's Liaodong Peninsular, it is a trading and financial center in northeastern Asia and has gained the name the 'Hong Kong of Northern China'.
The old name of Dalian was first used by an official in his memorial to Emperor Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) referring to the present Dalian Gulf. In the early 20th century, the gulf area developed quickly and Dalian expanded into a city of significant size and importance.
After the Opium War in 1840, Dalian was plunged into warfare. At the end of the 1800s, Japanese and Russian invaders successively set their feet on the Chinese mainland here. In 1894, Japan invaded the Peninsular and in 1897 Russian troops occupied Lushun Port (Port Arthur) and imposed upon the Qing government an unfair contract, in which they ceded Lushun as a colony to Russia. Seven years later, Lushun was again transferred to Japanese rule, when the Russians lost in the Japanese-Russian War. From then on Dalian suffered from the colonial rule of Russia and Japan for decades. It was as recently as 1955 that the Chinese government took over sovereignty of Lushun and the hardest times in this city's history ended.
Both the Russian and Japanese colonists dreamed of establishing a city of their own on this land in those colonial periods. A group of Russian architects fascinated with French culture came to Dalian with their construction blueprint of Paris and built all sorts of elegant squares with artistic sculptures, lush lawns and western-style fountains. These formed the architectural basis of the present city - taking squares as the center and radiating outwards.
Beers N Noodles toya…..shane
PS: Tomorrow brings the birth of a new day..a new beginning in Dalian!
The soundtrack to this entry was by Buffalo Tom
The album was ‘Smitten’