Dalian

This place…  China…  I was amazed at the way people behave and hold themselves.  I was transformed back to the country which my family fled almost 20 years ago…  I was mesmerized by the people and the culture here, still so much like my childhood in Soviet Union…  Starting from the red Pioneer ties I grew up with, to the censorship, to the statues, to the stench, to the poor and the hungry, so eagerly neglected.  To the dozens of empty skyscrapers drowning in the industry’s smog, for the Giants of Tomorrowloand.  Sigh.  This place is nothing short of a great surprise.  Beautiful and picturesque, China definitely has a unique character only visible here when you are together with it (somehow the locals loose the bad attitude when they travel outside of China).

I cannot help but keep remember one of my favorite books…

A beginning is a very delicate time. Know then, that it is the year 10191. The known universe is ruled by the Padisha Emperor Shaddam IV, my father. In this time, the most precious substance in the Universe is the spice melange. The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel. The Spacing Guild and its navigators, who the spice has mutated over four-thousand years, use the orange spice gas, which gives them the ability to fold space. That is, travel to any part of the Universe without moving. Oh yes, I forget to tell you. The spice exists on only one planet in the entire Universe. A desolate, dry planet with vast deserts. Hidden away within the rocks of these deserts are a people known as the Fremen, who have long held a prophecy, that a man would come, a messiah, who would lead them to true freedom. The planet is Arrakis. Also known as Dune.
– Dune

This place…

After landing I was immediately transported to an absolutely darling hotel-like setup.  Fenced-in, we have security guards all over the place, running paths and a creek running through our compound.  So-far-so-good.

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A selfie after all the flights.  Going downstairs for a smoke.

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Here’s a video of my room in this place.  Very impressive, compared to my other hotels in China (sorry, no videos—I simply forgot).

The smog in the air is obvious in this photo.  The place reeks, too.  Matter of fact, the smells are something else here…

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Ah, it’s so nice to be States-side and have google and Wikipedia to lookup a little information about Mao.  Can you imagine a week without Facebook, Google, Wiki, etc.

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Interestingly, they write “Ze Dong” while we write “Zedong”.

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Panorama of my hotel.  This is apparently a center for government officials and otherwise important people.  They spend their time in this compound during visits to Dalian.

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Ah, sunrise :).  You know, I went for a run here nearly every day.  Every day, except the one day when it rained.  Every morning I would see the city covered in smog.  Only once there was enough sun to call the day cloudy…  This gave me a strange overall feeling…  Being in a cloud of smoke at all times.

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Ran in a straight line but very quickly the road was done and I’m surrounded by rubble and garbage.  There is a little hut a few feet away from where I am standing but the eyes looking at me are not exactly friendly so I retire.

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Not gonna go there…

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All the electric lines are brand new.  Reminds me of music note paper…  Whatever that paper is called…  Let me look it up for you.  Hmm.  It’s simply called “music paper”.  I though something Mozart used to compose would have a fancy name but then again, we use a paintbrush to write “Alice is a whore” on a wall and Picasso used a paintbrush to create his masterpieces.  Matters not the tool but the result, I suppose.

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New buildings and new roads, newly-dug construction sites and we still have a handmade hut smack in the middle of it.  And guess where people live?!

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Oh, wow…  I’ve been running through the Dalian University of Technology.  Would have never guessed…

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I think these are the University’s dorms behind these sales huts (?).

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Typical morning in Dalian University of Technology [at least I did not notice leaving it…].

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A lot of brand new sleeping quarters.  Clean and sterile.  Tasteless.  Reminds me of Mother Russia when I was there.

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Construction is everywhere here.

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Newly-planted trees as well.  More than half of the place seems new, like completely new.

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Made it to the water.  Today’s running was planned 2 miles to the water and then back.

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Here’s a video about this place.  Smells here are atrociously awfully terribly horrific.

People live here, you know…  And they are starting to wake up… I’m getting very interested looks from some of them so I get my ass in gear and run…

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Gorgeous here, in its own way.

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Keep in mind, this is around 6:30am local time.

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Ah, I remember such places all-too-well, growing up.

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Ah, the smell of this dried-up creek is unbearably unbelievable.  SPLEH!  This place is the smell-highlight of my trip.

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Barf!

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Closer to 7am, the city is pretty much awake and ready.

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Smog is going strong :-).

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I don’t post as many photos as I took and I keep noticing more and more garbage.  Garbage everywhere…

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So are bees…  This is a bee farm… Right on the old train tracks in the middle of the city…

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Our residence halls are drowning in flowers while, well, you’ve seen the rest of the place.  Smells good here.

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Most of the trees are freshly planted so they have all those supports.  All over the place.  I’ll be mentioning supports throughout this trip.

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Most posters are similar to your typical anime cartoons.  No, I have not seen girls like this here.

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This is a bus stop bench.  Enough dust for you, OVERNIGHT?!

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Typical city landscape.

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And the typical mode of transportation.

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Typical living quarters.

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Speaking of cobwebs everywhere…

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People live here, don’t forget.  The elderly just chill on the benches.

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Parking, too, it’s free-for-all.

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So is trash day [which is almost a week from now…].

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I am most impressed with the manhole covers here.

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And trash.  Trash takes a new dimension here.

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Ah, a street market.  Shall we?

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Whatever is in season you will find here.  Amish are smoking nervously in the corner.

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Typically selling whatever they have to sell.

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This view so much reminds me of a trip my parents and I took to the sea in Russia when I was ~6 or 7……  Looked just like this…

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Yes, just like this.

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No comment here.

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Yummy, right?

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Nothing beats the hand protections while you ride :).

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Many families setup a small harden for themselves.  My host setup a big garden.

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Beautiful, ain’t it?

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Well, this I found interesting.  Postal deliveries are just piled on the steps of the building…  I suppose nobody steals here?

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Here is another one…

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And more mail here, right by the entrance.

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By the way, some of the doors here are quite elaborate.

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Some entrances are less elaborate.  I suppose the previous one is some kind of a government building and this is private (the two are right next to each other as I am taking photos as I walk).

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Very typical “landscape” here: something broken, something closed, something open, something for sale, a dog, and a satellite dish.

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Lots of dogs here.  As I look through the photos now, for some reason I don’t see as many dogs in the photos as there were in real live.  Very many!  And almost none on a leash or some kind of a restraint.

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Disregarding the smells, it is quite nice here, don’t you agree?

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And getting closer to the university the world changes completely in just a few steps…  I suppose this is what it was like for foreigners to visit Russia in the 60s.

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They are selling cherries everywhere.

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And learning software :-).

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Again, brand new trees.

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And a Neusoft bumper :-)

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Landscapes…

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A different design for a manhole.  Interesting, isn’t it?

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Orange you glad I didn’t say “Banana”?!

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By the way, the smog is a lot better today since it rained a little bit.  After the rain, all the sales are up.

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Why?!  This is at the entrance to a major university…

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… um…?

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Chinese sure like to decorate their cars with seemingly subtle things that are not so much so subtle.

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At first I though “homeless”.  Nope!  Just eating :-)

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And again with the parking here…

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Ah, Mikkey D’s.

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And here is a typical mix of three different styles on one wall :).

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A typical sidewalk.  I am glad I did not bring my skates with me…  I would have been in trouble here.

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Sooooo, what do you think this is?  Guess, don’t scroll! :-)

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You were right!  It’s yet another support for yet another tree… :)

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And here we have some electrical wiring.  Ha-ha!  It’s going underground!  Very nice!  :-)

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Aaaand there is a family living underneath it.  Beehives and all.

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The sidewalk is getting to be close to non-existent.

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Oh, by the way, the police here is quite plentiful but they never touch me, never talk to me.

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Many of the fountains (even the ones turned off) have the “No Playing” signs.  Well, hun, I wasn’t going to!

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Yet another manhole cover design.

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Yay, sleeping quarters :-)

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My sidewalk narrows…….

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Look at the bushes above and my feet below…  I don’t have much space here…

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Typical landscape.  Something old, something new, something falling, something …

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Traffic cop.  Pretty awesome to watch him work, actually.  Wish you were here.

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Stop!

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Sidewalks are completely ignored.  If you own a car you are far superior to humans walking.  You can park anywhere you want and do whatever you like.  Enjoy your power!

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I like the color contrast here with the white flower, yellow pieces of trash, and white piece of the wall.  Classic!

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My childhood living quarters.  I remember this vividly now and remember it being loads of fun.  I suppose childhood is fun anywhere you are.

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This lighter here deserves a story.  I walked into a Quick-Mart or whatever.  I have smokes, I have water, I have everything I need and/or want; but they took my lighter away at the airport and I am running dangerously low on matches.  Walk into this mark and ask for a lighter (using gestures, of course).  She tells me they don’t sell them but hands to me hers.  I try to pay…  Nope.  I try to return it back to her after lighting up…  Nope.  It’s mine now.  I mean this is far less than a dollar here but still…  As a weary traveler I would have paid a few dollars for a lighter and I end up paying exactly zero.  Thus-far I have not spent any money in this country at all…

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Right outside the lighter store there is a magazine-sales stand.  Hmm…  Yeah…  I haven’t seen something like this since I left Russia almost 20 years ago.

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LOL.  Cute.

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Safe!  This is next to the children’s toy….  Nice.  Liability lawsuits, anyone?  I think they have never heard of that here at all…

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The mailboxes are pretty.  I plan to start sending myself postcards from where-ever I travel but I am yet to start this habit.

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This dude’s chill.  Good times, bro :-)

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Ah, cool, we have metal supports for the trees.

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Back alleys here.

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School tour.  I am remembering our school’s uniforms… :-)

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Nifty.

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Nice sign, yo!

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Hey, you, yes, you…  Wanna buy some… socks?

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Erm.  What English?  Also, the fuck is with the cross-eyed duck?

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LMFAO.  Construction…  Safe!

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I suppose I walked into the avenue of metal shops.  They are eating now [it’s lunch time], drinking, smoking, and cutting metal—all at the same time.  Safe!

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I suppose trash pickups are quite rare, actually.

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More supports.

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And colorful buildings.

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Don’t even fucking think about parking here, douchebag ass fuck motherfucker!

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If it wasn’t for the smell, this place would have been somewhere I would consider stopping to get a break from the unseen sun and sticky humidity…

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Construction here as well…

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Engrish?  What you mean, boy?!

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Nice sidewalks, by the way, right?

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I’ve been asking what the heck these red ribbons mean and nobody understands me…

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Chillin’

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So, this dude explains.  It’s something like “red goes with him”.  Me: “huh?”.  “Luck is red.  Red goes with him.  Luck goes with him.”  Me: “Oh…”  Hmm.  My car is red :-)

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For $9 I’d think I’d get a better coffee…  “crap” is an understatement.  I don’t think they are big on coffee here just yet…  Starbucks, darling, here I come!

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Um… yeah…  What?!

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Ace this!

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At the dig :)

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FYI, most of these building are brand new and empty.  The government is just building for the sake of building…

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Marble?  Sure!  What for?  I donno…  Empty, didn’t I tell ya?!

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Construction, construction, and more construction on the horizon.

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Old communisty signage reminds me where I am at.  Thanks!

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Nice wall, yo!

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I am heading toward the ocean, I think.

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Something warm is being exhausted into the water.  This photo does not do the justice to the humongous amount of warm water coming into this river…  Cooling water, perhaps?

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Smog.

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Smog + mist.

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Mostly mist, I suppose.

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Beautiful, huh?

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I mean, really.

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Didn’t Stephen King write about something like this?  “The Mist”, no?  I am waiting for giant something to come and get me.

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Ah, young love.

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I think this might be… a… umm… yeah… A… Ooof…  Yeah…

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You like the skyline view?  LOL

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I was trying to take the fountain photo but I am just reminding myself to tell you about how beautiful the people are here.  NOT.  That was my NOT joke.  Did you get it?  Funny?

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These sculptures are actually quite nice.

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More red ribbons.  Remember those?

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Yeah…. Roads here are not the top best I’ve seen.  It’s good I didn’t bring skates.  I would have killed myself twice already.

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This is the typical city landscape here, or so it seems.

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You know, each one of these is a small shop.  There is stuff there…  All different :-)

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Construction…  Where are the workers?  How come I never see the workers?

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Oh, there is this guy :-)

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Let me zoom in for you.  See, he’s happy to see me :-)

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And these guys are behind a net.

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These little stores can get VERY specialized, like this one.

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Welcome to China.

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Communism…  Look at this and then look around your neighborhood.  You still want communism?

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I like the decorative plants, however.  Hmm…  I think these are cultural and have nothing to do with communism.  I think the door-for-sale [or whatever that is] has everything to do with communism…  Sigh.

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Well, this is certainly colorful :)  Very nice.

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My oh my.  Cop car?  It’s been through hell and back.  Twice.  Isn’t this a Russian car?!  I think it is…  WOW…

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I remember this, growing up…  Thank g*d I’m in America!

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Although, the turtles look tasty.  Oh, pets?  Ah, thank you.  Yes, the turtles look friendly.  Definitely friendly.

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Almost 40 thousand steps today and the day is still young :-).

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Aaaaaaand we are back to the nicer and cleaner part of town.

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With beautiful staircases [I’m too tired at this point, otherwise I would have totally climbed that!].

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Chinese are very creative with putting different-designed buildings…. NOT.  Do you like my NOT jokes?

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Back in my “compound”…  You see the difference now?!

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You see!?

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Finally got these shoes a little dirty and dusty.  They were too pristine before.  Not cool!

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Yawn.  Morning.  This is a great idea!  Plan with water and no soil!  Looks very nice!  I think I need to make something like this at home.  Mental note taken.

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Ah, yes, this is where I was staying: China Business Executives Academy, Dalian.

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Moved to a new hotel now.  More colorful here :-)

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Smoke management is an important issue with lots of cooking going on on the street.  I like this setup—works like a charm.

Fun.  This bill was just a little over $10.  :-)

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Morning!  I’m gonna go for a run, if I can breathe that is…

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Beautiful here.

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Don’t you agree?

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If you forget the smell, of course.

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You see what I mean?  The entire place is a constant contrast between very cheap and very rich.

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Clearly, there is very little, if any, middle class.

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But it’s freaking gorgeous!

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Nearing 7am, there is a group Yoga or whatever that is.

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This is so nostalgic for me…  This was the view from my roof deck back in Moscow.

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Fastfood!!!!  This is $5 fast-food…..

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And this is Wallmart :-)  Nope, nothing like USA.

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Rouge Carpe’

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And sleeping beauties :-)

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Went for a walk in the local park.

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The city skyline is nothing like USA…

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Oh, look, a wedding!

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Trashcan!  Sorry, the wedding has to wait.  I found a cool trashcan :)

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And a birdhouse.

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And…. fucking Under Construction!  What, are you surprised?

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Real lilies.  I wish a girl was with me.  I’d climb down and get her a real live lily.  Alas, I am with a guide.

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Umm… OK

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These guys and gals are funny!!

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Locals “musicians” are having their fun :-)

I suppose they are still working on this place.  Everything is so freaking artificial…

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Including this bright pink feather.  Yeah…

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But the view is nice.

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And so is the bell [which I haven’t heard at all, unfortunately].

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Ah, the freaking aliens landed here, I see.

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Sorry for the blurry photo.  I was walking toward the blocked off road… You see the concrete on the ground?  They put it there because everyone goes there… So nice and clever!

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You see?!

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Og, another wedding.  I think this is the fifth one I see in the last 60 minutes.

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A shot, looking into The Far-Away.

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She is pretty.

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I love you, too, YBXXTYXX

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The warrior kid!

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with his back to the aliens.

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LOL

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I AM CRUSHING YOUR HEAD!  [if you don’t get the joke, please go home and cry, thank you].

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Floor patches :-)

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This is pretty cool.  Old rubber tires are used to make the incline walking soft and smooth.   Very clever.  If someone from US park administration is reading, please take note of this.  Thanks.

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Nice :-)

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I bring a rock from every trip I go on.  This be the China rock.

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Watermelon on a stick?!  Oh, I mean cantaloupe.  Whatever.  But, seriously?  Cool!  :-)

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Guess what this is?  This is one of the very few food pictures I post…  Why do you think I’d do that…  China… Korean restaurant…  Yep, you guessed it :-O

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Oh, right outside, beautiful flowers are growing right out of the ground.

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I will definitely miss this place.

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At the airport they are still selling cherries…

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China…  China…  China?  China!  China!!!!!!

I loved it here.  I definitely need to come back and take a significant chunk of time exploring.  I like the people, I like the culture, I like this place.  I think I can enjoy it here and I definitely recommend for you to visit if you have not yet.

Toodles.

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