Steve's China Blog

Thursday, July 28, 2005

More tour pictures

I thought I would add a bunch of pictures from around Dalian. Enjoy!



This is a picture of some billboards in an area of Dalian called Peace Modern Town (hehe) which is a shopping area and has a really nice shopping mall. Cities here are divided into districts which are then divided up into residential areas, commercial areas, etc... and are given some name such as this-or-that town or this-and-that square. I am not sure what the name of this area is in Chinese, but it was translated into Peace Modern Town (hahaha... sorry, this name makes me laugh. Hehe).



This is a statue at Rhyme of the Sea Square. At first, I thought it was dragons, but they are really waves with seagulls.



Here's a man-made waterfall at Rhyme of the Sea Square.



Here's a great big turtle statue at Rhyme of the Sea Square.



Along the road leaving Rhyme of the Sea Square are these huge statues of aquatic life...



... and death.



A closer view of the tiger statue at Tiger beach that was in the previous post.



Here are some horsey rides for the kids you can rent.



There's not much of a beach here at Tiger Beach since there isn't much sand. You can take a sightseeing trip aboard a boat, but it was a bit hazy this day.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Touring Dalian



We have a couple of visiting US IBMer's who are here for a few weeks to provide training to some of our teams, and on Saturday a couple of us from the office took them on a little tour of Dalian. Most of the trip was along the scenic Binhai Road which winds along the coast. We stopped at a few beaches, such as Tiger Beach (see picture) and then had lunch in town at a typical Chinese restaurant. After lunch we visited the Olympic Square electronic market and bought some DVDs and computer game CDs. It was a pretty enjoyable day.

I had a lot of trouble sleeping Saturday night though, and as Sunday dawned I realized I had both a sunburn and a cold. I think I got the cold from the sitting by the air conditioner in the van we were in the day before. I spent most of Sunday trying to sleep. There was not much else to do since my ISP was down and the game CDs I had bought the previous day were no good (darn pirated junk). I'm feelin much better today.

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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Dinner break



Just a quick picture from one of the streets behing our office where we go for dinner often. The large building is apartment housing for nearby college students, and the shops are mostly restaurants. They are mostly dives, but the food is good and college student priced (aka cheap).

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Good News

I've been adding new links along the right side of the blog lately. One to note is a blog from an Australian named Chrenkoff who puts together good news stories from Afghanistan and Iraq. He puts these out every once in awhile, so I'll try to keep an up-to-date link to the latest good news. A bunch of "reporters" that never leave their hotels in Kabul and Baghdad don't want you to read these. So, if you get tired of hearing the depressing mainstream media version of the news that is disseminated in such a way as to make you think nothing is going right in the war on terror, feel free to have a look at them. NOTE: There is so much good news from Afghanistan and Iraq that these can take awhile to read, but they are definitely worth reading.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Faith

I haven’t posted anything in awhile since not too has been going besides work the last few weeks, and Saturday I ate or drank something that has made me sick so I haven’t been doing too much besides work.

A few weeks ago I went to a place near where I live to have dinner, and I was sitting at a able where I could watch the people outside as they walked down the sidewalk outside. A group of Americans walked by, and seeing me in this restaurant, they decided to try it out. They were two families originally from Ohio who were working here as English teachers. One of the wives, even though she was obviously an American from her voice, had family from this area and her mother was with them. It was kind of interesting to hear the children speak English to their parents and Chinese to their grandmother. After the food arrived they did something I have not seen anyone do over here... they said a prayer.

This got me to thinking that I haven't talked about what religion is like here. This is just my opinions, so I'll apologize ahead of time for any mistakes I make. Since this is a communist country (and has been for a long time) most people do not belong to any religion. Leftist doctrine is that the masses should worship the state, and until 1977 it was against the law to practice any religion here. The law now says that citizens here can worship only government-approved religions. Most people here that do practice an approved religion are Buddhists and Taoists. There are not many Chinese Christians... maybe about 2 million (I have heard Hong Kong has the most), and the Muslim population here is at about 4 million (mostly in the southwest of China). There are a few here who worship religions that are not approved and do so in hiding since they are considered a threat to the state.

It is kind of interesting to watch the interaction between China and the Vatican lately. They are still negotiating with each other for recognition. China won't add any religion to its list of approved religions that could potentially have more members than are in the communist party, and the Vatican would love to convert a lot of Chinese. A few weeks ago a Catholic Bishop was arrested here for printing Bibles. I am not sure of all of the details, but I think it has more to do with politics than religion. I would be more inclined to believe the Bishop's side of the story.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Cigars, food, and chinese

I had mentioned in a past post that I had found a tobacco store, but it was closed when I went there. I went there again the other day and they were open! Most of the store sells cartons of cigarettes to other sellers, but they had a small section where individuals could buy cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and cigars. They had a lot of cigars from Cuba and a few from Dominican Republic. They really wanted me to buy their cuban cigars, but I bought some Don Antonio Pellegrino Robusto's from Dominican Republic. After I explained (through a little electronic translation device I had bought a few days earlier) that I thought cuban cigars were over-rated they laughed and nodded knowingly. I think they have a lot of trouble pushing the cuban ones. The Robusto's I bought are really nice. The wrapper burns clean and light with a perfect ash and a sweet vanilla flavor. It has a very smooth draw and a creamy, nutty flavor. I'm going to have to go back and try the Churchill's after I finish these.

I found out the other day that they are going to be opening a Popeye's near where I live! Yeah! Ok, it's not a gourmet resturant, but I am really looking forward to it. I have no idea what is going to be on their menu, but it will be closer than the McDonalds and KFC, and it will be different. I also discovered a nice little resturant run by a family from Turkey. From what I could gather, this guy met a chinese women in Turkey, they fell in love, got married, and moved back to China. The food is a mix of middle eastern and chinese, and the atmosphere is middle eastern. It's really good and they also have the best bread I've had here in Dalian. There's a few muslim resturants in town, but I like this one the best.

We started something new in our chinese language class. We now have to start the class by saying what we have done since the last class in chinese. Unfortunaly, mine always start with "Zoutian wo budebu gongzou dao zaoshang sandian" (yesterday I had to work until 3:00 in the morning). Perhaps I should start doing part of my blog in chinese! That will be strange. I'll have to think about that one.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Murders in London

The cowards of Al Qaeda set off some bombs in London, but I think they'll be disappointed since I don't think the Brits will have the same reaction as the Spaniards. You can find continuing analysis and comments about the attacks here. You can send your support to Tony Blair and the people of London here (Note: This site might be quite busy, so be patient).

Of course, the left is siding with the terrorists (as usual)... George Galloway is blaming Prime Minister Blair for the attacks in Britain, and in the US Tom Hayden is blaming President Bush (be sure to read the comments following Hayden's rant).

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More chinese TV

I was flipping around channels on the TV last night and found a channel showing the movie The Patriot. I don't know if they were showing it because it was the 4th of July or not, but I can make believe they did and think it was nice that they did that. But of course, today they had an old movie on about a chinese army unit twarting the americans in Korea. It was kind of goofy, especially the attempts at makeup to make some of the actors look like americans, and the gear and uniforms were definitely not GI.

The TV channels show a lot of war movies here. Most of them are about ancient battles in China or the victories of the communist armies. I'm not too sure many of the people here care much for the latter since most chinese prefer tragic stories (like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon demonstrates), and these goverment-made war movies always seem to have a happy ending (happy for communist forces and the grateful peasants, that is). The only war movies that I've heard people saying they like here have been Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers (which is in such demand here it's been playing for over a month now on several channels), and a mini-series about a female russian unit during WWII which used russian actors and actresses, but was written, directed, and produced by chinese.

Some of the other chinese shows that seem popular here are chinese soap operas and chinese amuetur-hour type shows. They also have a few game shows, and one is almost exactly like Who Wants to be a Millionaire (including the music). There are a few american TV series shown here, such as Fear Factor, Survivor, and VIP. There are also a few french and russian series also, but I've never watched them.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 4th!

I hope everyone has a great Independence Day this 4th of July!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Some more pictures



The photo above is of the street outside of the front entrance to my apartment building looking left. I have never been up that little street straight ahead. It has a lot of little resturants and street vendors selling food. The overpass running from left to right is for a tram that runs into town. You can click on the pictures to get a better view.



This is the view to the right from the outside of my apartment building. I didn't take a picture of a straight-ahead view since there isn't much to see there (bus stops and little resturants), but might add that later.



This is the front of our new office. It's a pretty interesting design. I work on the 8th floor. It is kind of early, so there are only three cabs waiting out front. We have a lot of people working the late shifts here, so later in the evening there can be twenty or more cabs lined up waiting to take people home.

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