Tuesday, May 31, 2011

China Post #23 Random

Dylan and I have started taking the bus to get to school, it shortens the walk by quite a bit and he really likes the idea of taking the bus
Some of the drivers are really courteous and will wait for people running for the bus and others almost seem as though they are trying to keep people fro getting on. Many of the buses seem to be in desperate need of new clutches as they grind and lurch to get going.

Here is one of my favorite stores...
They sell everything, well not quite... It is mostly an athletic wear company, but the logo is the same. On another note, you can buy Nike shoes branded as Xero at some shops for about 30% of the price, I'd be willing to bet they are made in the same factory as everything looks the same.

Interesting caption on this poster,
"Dream will become your fingertips"?

Cleaning trees?
Really not sure what there were doing watering, knocking leaves off, cleaning the sidewalk, spraying pesticides on the leaves? Who knows.

A crowded train ride into Dalian.
With all the walking around we get to a fair bit of people watching. In the winter everyone was wearing kind of drab colors lots of grey, brown, dark blue, faded greens, black. Now that spring has sprung and there are leaves on the trees HOT PINK is in. Through the first month or so we were here you would see the occasional woman in the pink jogging suit, but now you can't go out without seeing hot pink shirts on guys and girls alike.
It is hard to not find the hot pink "playboy" polo shirts with the collars turned up kind of humorous. Another popular thing that becomes more apparent in spring is the couples wearing matching tops, be it hot pink or just poorly translated english.

Last, like the "mullet" in Spain, the "man purse" is huge here.
Some are more "masculine" than others and other times they are truly purses. Most are other miniaturized messenger bag variety such as this. Maybe this is more Euro than I'm used to, like the pink too?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

China Post #22 Dandong Part 2

Our trip to Dandong included a visit to the museum commemorating The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. Once you realize that this tower that stands on top of a prominent hill in town is part of the museum it is pretty easy to find.
Just below the museum is this nice looking park.
Though we did not get a chance to visit it because we were running short on time and wanted to be able to make it to the Great Wall as well as the driver needing to be back in Dalian by 9pm. There was also a field with several war planes and military vehicles that you could climb around on and explore that we did not get a chance to check out.

The museum is interesting in that you can't really say that there was a "winner" of the Korean War or The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, and since history is generally written by the victors there are now two different takes on the war. In the museum I did not see a mention that the US was trying to stop North Korea from taking over the South, though in US history the aid to South Korea comes after the North invaded the South.

The museum has a whole host of pretty cool and well done sculptures. The first you see upon entering the museum is this one of Mao and his North Korean counterpart along with the tourist imitating the pose.
A plaque describing the reasons for the war and ending with the Chinese and DPRK victory over the "inferior" US.
There were 2 really incredible dioramas in the museum. The first was relatively small and behind glass, though still maybe 15 feet by 6 feet. There was tons of detail and it was difficult to tell where the wall in back started.
The second was at the top of a long spiral staircase that lead up to a round platform in the middle of a larger round room. Again, a ton of detail. This time though there was a photographer up there with military uniforms so you could have your photo taken as one of the soldiers in front of the diorama.
There was a ton of information through out the museum and with Dylan I did not get to read through very much of it. I kind of wish I could get a Chinese history of the war in english so I could read through their take on the war more completely. There were a few things that I found interesting like this grainy photo of a POW showing that the US "forced" prisoners to get tattoos, apparently in Chinese?
Many of the photos presented as "proof" of claims were very grainy though. Then there were the shots of single dead insects to show that the US was using biological warfare. A claim that was rejected by the World Heath Organization but later supported by China's own investigation that may have included the confession of airmen that had been tortured.

One last thing towards the end of the museum. This map, it shows the Korean peninsula with a line at the 38th parallel and in pink, the land gained by the North and in blue, land gained by the South along with the number of square kilometers that it represents. To me, it looks like the numbers may have been fudged a bit if the map is actually to scale.
The museum is certainly worth a visit, probably 2-3 hour to get through it and actually get a real feel for the Chinese and North Korean view of the war, then some additional time to check out the grounds with the military vehicles.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

China Post #21 Dandong Part 1

Last Saturday we managed to get a driver for the day. We took the opportunity to head out to Dandong which is a city right on the North Korean boarder. Dandong is interesting because of the history involving it in the Korean war. It is said that the winners of war write the history, but what happens when there is no winner?

We started the day by visiting the Yula River Broken Bridge Park. You can see Ian (pronounced "eye"an), one of Linda's co-workers who is in China for just one month. It was interesting because Ian looks much more American than we do and as such, numerous people grabbed him and pulled him into their photos.
The bridge was bombed by the USA in the Korean war to try and cut off Chinese aid to the North Koreans. Now the bridge is open to the public, here Linda and Dylan walk out the bridge.
Here is the end with some bent steel, though I would bet that there was more damage originally. You can see North Korea in the distance with the vacant concrete pillars that used to support the rest of the bridge.
You can see a ferris wheel in the distance, apparently much of what you can see at the boarder is put on like a hollywood set. Just shells and paint, nothing works, it is just to make it look appealing. You can also see a newer bridge that was later built later.

Here is a view looking south from the end of the bridge. North Korea on the left and Dandong, China on the right.
On the walk back to land I noticed that the steel girders provided nice overhanging faced with bolt head jugs on the edges. Here is Linda attracting some attention from other visitors.
After lunch we noticed this bar across the street.
After lunch we visited the museum to the war which is a whole other topic. Then we headed to the section of the Great Wall that is just out side of Dandong. It was interesting to compare this bit to the section we visited outside of Beijing. While the section near Beijing is definitely maintained, this section had been completely "restored". This just means that it has been built back up, but not necessarily as it would have been. The surface had been built up beyond where it would have been partially obscuring some of the drain and defense ports in the wall. In addition the surface has been repaired with different sized, perfectly smooth and square tiles that just look out of place.

Here is some light through windows in one of the "castles" as Dylan calls them.
Looking back down the wall as Ian comes up towards us.
Looking out from one of Dylan's "castles" at a town on the Chinese side.
Dylan trying to escape.
Dylan, myself and Ian descending very steep steps from the high point on the section of wall to the far end.
Linda and Dylan with a guard on the building that stands at the far end of the wall.
And on the front of the building, this is the far east end of the Great Wall.
and finally a little warning to watch where you go. While there is a river that separates the two countries there are places where there are several different channels and it is not obvious where the boarder is. We were warned by several folks to not go hiking anywhere that it was not entirely obvious that we were still in China, really to not head east of the wall itself.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

China Post #20 Random Stuff

Here are some photos of STUFF and some thought about the shots.

I was pretty excited about the shoes I brought from the US. They seems pretty comfortable and are water proof and quite breathable. I had worn them a few times before coming out to make sure they were OK. Well apparently I did not wear them enough, I experienced quite a bit of heel lift while hiking and wore a hole through the inside of the heal cup. That hole started to tear up my socks, so I had to get some new shoe. Here is Dylan trying them out, he looks like a clown.
Even with wheel barrows and such, you still people carrying thing the old fashioned way.
Here is the front of the building that Dylan's school is in, not exactly traditional Chinese architecture.
There are random holes in the sidewalk.
Here is Dylan being a TURTLE with our laundry basket.
If you have to go to the dentist here you get to be put on display while you are worked on, a little weird.
I urinal.
Here is one of the cargo bikes, if you look the brake is a foot peddle that just presses into one of the front tires.
Here is a new bed that Dylan found, now he can be my alarm clock.
Dylan copying Linda while she ties her shoe, naturally Dylan is tying his velcro.
Not sure what brand of car this is, but I bet you can't get this model in the US.
Next up, Dandong (on the North Korean border) posts.

Friday, May 20, 2011

China Post #19 Labor Park

This past Sunday we headed in to Dalian to check out Labor Park. We'd heard that it was quite pretty and that it actually had walking paths and was not all in your face commercial. We walked to the train station in DDA passing one of these buses along the way.
Linda thinks they are really "cute" and look like some sort of insect with the mirrors being the antennae. She thinks they are so cute she wants to take one home, I'm all for it if I can redo the interior and turn it into a camper and she is willing to "feed" it.

Here we are on the platform waiting for the train, a lot of people headed towards town and not so many the opposite way.
The trains can be quite crowded and it is difficult sometime to even get on resulting in pushing matches.

Once we reached the park after a quick taxi ride we were greeted by another large gathering of people. Notice all the paper posted to the trees?
This is a weekly gathering for parents who are looking for spouses for their kids. At the top of the list is the birth year and month. There may also be job requirements or height, but it is mostly about the persons birth signs.

Then there was another area where there were a bunch of groups sitting playing card games just above a small pond.
Mow Dylan had really wanted to get a boat in Bingyou Gou because he had so much fun on the ferry ride. So we rented a peddle boat and cruised around for a bit, Dylan did some steering.
There were some older men practicing writing on the walk way. I think they were just using water.
There was a long wide walk way headed up from the pond towards a soccer ball shaped restaurant that had all 12 of the Chinese zodiac characters along it. Since nearly everyone was stopping to take photos with their's we did the same. I find it interesting that most of the Chinese seem to have a pose that they strike when they are getting their photo taken. Here is Dylan riding his pig.
After walking around on some paths through the trees, they were still paved, we came upon some fungi. There were 3 of the same type and one fat one. Here is Dylan on the smallest.
Linda on the medium,
and myself on the largest.
There was a pretty large flower garden attached to the park that had loads of lilies? in many different colors. Here are Linda and Dylan in front of some purple, Linda's favorite, and yellow ones.
Some pink and white ones back lit.
Finally we came to another entrance from the one we took and got to see the Labor sculpture.
After the park we headed a few blocks away to an Indian restaurant we had been told about called Abashi. It was not real easy to find since the name was not on the building and the location does not exactly match what comes up on the map when I did a search. Anyway, Dylan loves his Indian food and made every effort to cram as much in as he could.
It was a long day, we probably caught the second to last train back to DDA and Dylan was...
fading fast.