Thursday, May 5, 2011

China Post #11 Aircraft Carrier and Climbing

This story popped up in the google news feed last month from the Taipei Times. A quick summary is the Varyag was built in 1988 by the Soviets, sold to China by the Ukraine in 1998 for $20 million as just a hull, the Chinese started refurbishing it in 2002 in Dalian and it is expected to launch later this year. It is docked just behind the huge Ikea store right at the second to last train stop on your way into downtown. After trying to go to the store called Metro unsuccessfully, since they do not allow children shorter than 1.2m or about 4 feet, we drove around to get a better view than what you can get from the moving train.
This was shot from inside the car and through a construction gate, though we could have gotten a very similar view from the top of the Ikea parking garage. A couple of interesting things. It is a ski jump style carrier, you can see the ramp at the end, as opposed to a catapult take off. It will apparently have better on board defense than an American carrier that relies on other ships for protection. Last, the reported name to be is that of the last admiral from China to take Taiwan, now that has got to go over well with the neighbors. Obviously, since this news is coming from Taipei there is going to be some bias to it.

Monday was a holiday, Labor's Day, so we got a one of the high school girls that lives in the building to babysit Dylan and we headed back up to Daiheishan to get some exercise. We had intended to try and make our way up quickly and possibly multiple times, nothing like 1300 steps to get your heart rate up. Of course we were thwarted by the holiday crowds. Again we had to be dropped off well below the trail head and make our way past hundreds of stationary cars to get to the gate. We were making our way up and had not gone too far when I heard a very familiar noise that made me stop in my tracks. It was the sound of a power drill on rock echoing off the cliffs. I found the guy about a third of the way up a cliff that looks to be 200-250 feet. Linda and I headed off in the direction of the cliff and found a group not too far from the cliff that was with the guy drilling. They turned out to be a group from Dalian that tries to get out most weekends and on Wednesdays at an indoor wall. They invited us to climb with them on Wednesday and to run a lap on the route they had just put the anchor in. After that we finished up Daiheishan and headed back to Shama looking forward to climbing on Wednesday.

With a little emailing we got directions to the climbing wall which is in fitness center in the basement of a hotel. We took a very crowded train ride into town on Wednesday at caught a taxi to the hotel. The wall was small but the people we psyched to be climbing and having a good time. We had fun climbing, meeting people and trying to figure out future climbing plans. We left a bit after 8 and caught a cab back to the train station only to find that the trains stop running at 8. So we had to catch another taxi back to the DDA which was quite a bit more expensive than taking the train 8 yuan vs. 60 yuan. Dylan was being watched by one of the Ayi's that works for another family in the building while we were out.

Here is a video of Dylan during the Wednesday morning Mommy's group that meets at the Shama playroom. He reminds me of that game where the gophers pop out of the holes and you have to whack them.
Now we are getting ready for our weekend trip to Beijing.

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