Dalian, China (Asia, 2015)

This is a second time I am in Dalian and this time I am left to my own devices for two days before all the work begins. The good news is I get a few days to adjust to the new time zone (just change AM to PM and you’re good). The bad news—the only bad news as far as I am concerned—is that I am stuck here with severely limited internet. I VPN back to the office to avoid Google restriction here [it’s blocked in China, as far as I can tell and thus so is my email access]; but the VPN connection seems to slow everything to a crawl. My email to mom of “Hey, I got here fine.” takes about 10 minutes to send, and I am not exaggerating here. I also have no idea how to configure VPN on my iPhone or iPad so I got nothing on either of those devices: I can only browse non-google and non-facebook websites. Amazingly, google is just about all I do these days (besides writing).

I didn’t drive anywhere, just walked around, so here are the photos and videos of a typical Dalian, a few miles from my hotel in every direction I could walk in.

View from my window—typical China as I see it.  Mix of modern with, well,… China.

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You see, here is what I think of this place.  I remember this, growing up: new buildings are being built for the elusive “new rich” who are rarely to be seen; while the rest of the place is in decay.  Russia did recover from this stage and is doing better now, Ukraine is not doing so well but is OK, while China is rapidly advancing towards the brighter future.  Mix of dirty and old with shiny and new.

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Typical local transportation.  Looks broken but I bet there is an owner who will, in a few weeks, months, or years, come over and get this thing moving again.

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Lots of greenery and flowers everywhere—one of the reasons I really like China now.

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See what I mean?  The air is getting cleaner and cleaner, year by year.

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Flyers for hookers are, still, all over the place though.

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Mmmm.

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Very nice here, with new running tracks, etc.  I really think China is on the rise and the US really has some real catching up to do here.

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Manhole covers have this nice pattern—lovely.

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And just so much green here!

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Construction is all over the place.  I think I am in the newer part of the city and just about on every block you wound find something going on with bricks and mortar.

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Hidden status of Juba the Hutt, I suppose.

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Wait, why are all the trees covered in rope like this?  Didn’t notice this before and have no idea what is happening here.

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Well-covered old electric boxes.  You can see the old one on the left and new one on the right.  Progress, my friends.

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New construction.

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Most of the buildings fading into the horizon here are empty.  Still, I think China is doing fabulously with all the construction efforts.

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  1. See how many high-rises?!
  2. The focus of this photo is the fake-wood-but-really-concrete thing here.  Why is it that Asia covers up concrete railings by painting and texturing them to look like wood?  Is this an esthetics issue?  Anyone has any ideas?

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Soon, I bet, this will be prime waterfront property.  Soon…

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But, for now, it’s not even a parking lot.

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Well, … sort-of.

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This is a fishing “village”.  Just a few huts are not enough to qualify as a village, I don’t think, but what else am I to call them?

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I love this place and stand here for a while every time I get a chance.  I think three times during my last visit here and twice this time.  The smell of fish, all over, is nauseating but the view is somehow serene.

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Oh, these dogs are everywhere.  I think I need to organize a shipment of strays from Dalian to USA and sell them here.

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Rather typical landscape here, for an off-the-main-street street.

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And this is more like the main street type-of landscape.

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This would be an absolutely amazing house to live in, don’t you think?

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Where are we going, indeed?

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Ah, to the marble bus stop bench.

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Hmm, a nice concrete stairway to…

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… to this… oh, how typical of this place—I am beginning to see a pattern here.

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Quite nice here, still.  Never mind the smell and the trash.

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See the dog there?  See what I mean about them being everywhere, like we have squirrels?

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Government funds at work.  Perhaps USA needs to spend a little more of the federal and state money on the parks.

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This view sure beats almost anything I can find in Philly.  And I bet typical American thinks that China is all dirty, right?  What do you think?

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Oh, look, more stairs?  Don’t mind if I do…

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And the closer to the beach the dirtier.

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But the views are always nice.

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What’s this?

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Oh, like $0.05, if memory serves me right.

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Gorgeous color schemes here.

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I had to lift the camera up just a bit because there is a pile of shit right there in front of me.  Looks human.  Plus you might notice some broken glass right there in the middle.  Otherwise this place is great!

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Seriously, just think what this place would be like once it’s made just a tiny bit cleaner… Heaven!

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Speaking of…

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Oh, I finally made it to the livable part of the landscape.

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Notice the abrupt interrupts.  I think the construction workers were paid for a certain length of the boardwalk and then done.  Just like that.

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This is pretty early in the morning so I suppose janitors are still working on yesterday’s garbage.

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And the carnival place is still sleeping.

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Although… slowly waking up.

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Occupy the beach!

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And build some lights [for the evening?—not sure].

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Lots of lame sculptures here; but I bet children love this place.

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Aww.  Some girl lost her hairpin.

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OMG!!!  These things have got to be so much fun!  Ahem.  I mean for the children, you know.  Yeah.  The children.

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And everything here is so clean and green.  I do wonder how the city manages to keep the riff-raff out of here…

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And I’m at the edge of the boardwalk.  Back to trash again.  But I’ll head back into the city again.

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A lot of planting going on, did you notice?  I did.

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You realize that those skyscrapers are half-empty, right?  I wonder what this place will be like in a few years…

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But I’m heading towards the boy-on-the-bull [or trying to].

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Drones are here!

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Nice views of the city.

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These red decorations are everywhere.  One day I’ll get an English-speaking guide and ask what all these are about.

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WOW!  I think this is the first time I saw some text in English.

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Wedding photos are best made over there…

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Indeed.

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Oh, every day I walk in this park, I find some local artists performing very traditional-sounding songs.  I am not an expert at all but they sound very much authentic to me.

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Wedding preparations…

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Next to a fake lake.

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By the woods.

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With fake giant crabs made of concrete.

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Very typical city street view.

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Nice concrete protectors, letting bikes and wheelchairs get on the sidewalk easily.  I like this design—simple and clean.

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Ah, the shopping district of the city.

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Mickey-D’s made it to every country I’ve been to…  I think even more so than Starbucks.

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And the umbrellas serve as a great cover for all the farmers selling their fresh produce…

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KFC is all over the place here, too.

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Right by the Beer Party [which I keep on missing somehow].

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I just stick to coffee, you know.

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Coffee and watching clowns—both good things to do.

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And there are so-very-many street vendors here.  I think I associate China now with bright lights and street vendors all over the place.

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Shoe repair vendor under a Coca-Cola umbrella—priceless.

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I bet this is some kind of a government building.

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And this is a hotel.  The only hotel in the area that would allow me to take out money from my American bank via ATM.  Beware—finding a US-friendly ATM here is tough.

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Typical sleeping quarters with stores on the first floor and fancy apartments on top.

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And the very organized cabling systems.

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Um…  I, too, have no idea what this is.

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And another huge street market right around the corner.

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Gotta check Facebook status.

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And buy some pillows.

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And drive around in the middle of everything.

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And get matching pink pants and grey shirts.

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And dry some clothes, too.  This I find all over the city—clothes just hanging on a rope between trees.  Nobody even notices them, just walks around or under the ropes.

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Ah, the Communist regime…  I grew up in the place that looked just like this; except the signs were in Russian.

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Store got an order of a few cases of coke, unloaded, and here’s the result: pile of trash right outside the store.

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Right next to a fruit vendor.

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Followed by a wedding photography studio.

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Which has [,the studio,] nice seating in the front which looks to be a combination of a dog house, a bench, and an old-style speaker.

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Ahhh… Memories…  This is just what the entrance to my best friend’s apartment building looked like in the early 90s.

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By the way, the red carpet on the stairs seems to be the style here.  And by “here” I mean everywhere I look.

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And the red strings, too.

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More dogs.

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More trash.

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More doors.  Or is this the same door?!  No, I think a new one.

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Used and broken bikes, but not-yet-trash.

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Ha ha ha!  Oh, boy.  If you can’t fix the place, just put really fancy gates in the front—people would think you’ve got cash!

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And I really am not sure I know what all this is really about.

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But I do see more clothes-on-a-string.

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Some buildings even have built-in drying racks, see?

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Carwash.

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Happy-shiny rainbow.

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And a kid on skates.  To remind myself, I do see a lot more skaters here—inline skaters—than I do in other countries.  Perhaps it is because I’ve been noticing them more lately?  Not really sure.

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YOU SHALL NOT PASS! (c) Gandalph

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Ah, the half-empty skyscrapers.  Here we go!

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Yep, just like that!  Construction but no signs, no workers, no activity.

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But nice benches for tourists to take pics.

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This is the entrance to the building massive.  I think the intent here is to overwhelm you with the awesomeness of the new skyscraper system.

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And here we shall have the cafe, one day; we got the chairs delivered already so we will just put them outside for now.

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This is what construction looks like here.

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Yep, no yellow tape or nothing.

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I do kind-of like this sculpture for some reason; there is a certain charm to it.

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Ah, the up-n-coming sleeping quarters…  I think I prefer the smaller buildings with stores on the first floor and red carpets.

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Cool!  Actual wooden structure made out of actual wood, like the trees, not the processed wood.

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It’s not really supporting anything, just standing there… Fence?  I don’t think so…  Not sure.

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And another park.  See, skaters!

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China Unicom manages most of the electric boxes I’ve seen here (the ones that are marked).

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Half of the buildings look half-abandoned.

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But the fancy fence are nice.

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I mean really nice.

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I wonder: did the Sex Shop go out of business or did the censors close it?

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Nice job covering their tracks on China Unicom’s part.

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I really appreciate flowers all over the place here; especially in completely random places off-the-beaten-path.

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Ah, the fire department!

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You see, I think the Departments here—in a Communist regime—have far more funding than we can possibly imagine in the USA.  I think it’s actually good as I would prefer better fire protection, I think.

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This isn’t connected to anything so the birds next there.  Or is this some kind of a sculpture or something?  No Idea.

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Another park.  It’s getting really dark already so I’m sunning the camera in “night mode” (ISO way up, 2.0 f-stop, etc).

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Nice, right?

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I mean really nice, right?

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More highrises.

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And the local tourists.

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Zodiac signs, I suppose?

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Oh, look, another park!

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And a police car.  Gosh, that siren is bigger than the freaking car!

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Skating rink…  And I saw the usual suspects: Powerslide and SEBA skates.  How come they don’t get bored going around in circles?

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I think these are some kind of artists?  The seem to be offering me to draw some of those Chinese symbols…  Dang, I should have gotten a native-speaker for a guide!

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Some interesting sculptures; a bit unusual.

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Oh, yes yes yes!  It’s night so all the light are out!  Yay!

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This is some side street and it’s still pretty amazing here.

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See all the smoke?  That’s from all the cooking, again courtesy of the street vendors.

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All those beers are just two guys…  Nice, right?

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And my snack consisted of seven or eight different kinds of meat that I pointed at.  Not even entirely sure what I’m having.  Well, I’m actually pretty sure since we communicated by gestures and sounds; except I don’t really want to say here that I had fried dog and cat.  Whoops.

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Oh, this is brilliant!  take a used tire and embed it into the concrete.  Very nice.

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Great idea—cheap and quite simple to install.

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Beautiful here at night.  I wish I wasn’t so jet lagged and spent more time walking the night streets.

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Can even see the moon.

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Peaceful here, and quiet.

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Ha ha ha!  This is for all the whores wondering the floors and offering you “massage”.  Every night I’d get 2-3 calls and 1-2 knocks on the door.  You just ignore them and they go away after a short while.

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Oh, I really want this sofa for me place!  I like this style of furniture and keep looking for it.  Any ideas for me where I can find some?

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More morning sculptures.  Or sculptures in the morning.  Actually, if you disregard signs in Chinese, this could be somewhere in Pennsylvania.  You see what I mean when I say that China is not nearly as far “behind” as some Americans seem to believe.

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Why is it that I find flyers for hookers only in the morning?

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Oh, this must be some rich neighborhood.  I bet I can spot a few Ferraris here.

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Cleaning crew.  They really do work mostly in the mornings, I suppose.

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I love the way nature, cities, bushes, and everything else looks in the morning.  In Asia, I tend to get up around 5 in the morning and I’m out walking by 7am.  Always so nice and uncrowded.

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Back to the same park but this time I’m intent on finding the path to the bull.

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Oh, I have not been in a standing-only toilet in a million years!!  I just how you’re not eating as you’re scrolling through these pics.

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Trash cans, too, are all over the place.  I think the wealthier areas of China are starting to clean up and clean up fast.

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I still don’t know what all these signs that I keep finding in the woods really mean but no matter.  They just add to the overall character of the place.

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My-oh-my would you look at the lineup.  I think China is gearing up to move from the villages to the cities, creating for powerful middle-class workforce.  World, watch out!

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Yay!  Found the bull.  I wonder how often they have to climb up and clean/polish the boy?

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Again, the stairs into nowhere—they just end.  Plans plans plans.

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Nice chess/checkers table, huh?  Wait…  Too many squares so it must be some other game.  No matter, still nice.

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Zen.

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Yesterday night was all fireworks and such.  Here are some leftovers.  I suppose I know where the party was.

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Lots and lots of fireworks, see?

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Leftovers, I suppose.

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View from top.  I suppose this was some kind of a hut or something.

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Fishermen live here.

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Breathtaking, right?  I’m telling you, China is where it’s at!

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Seemingly-wild roses…  My oh my.

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Why would one not want to settle here?

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This is some hotel.

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Fish are drying.  Mmmmm.  In Russia we used to call this “taran’ka”; no idea what they call this here or in the US, otherwise I’d ask for it in the restaurant.

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Gorgeous view, right?  I mean, think about this for a second, are you saying life in your tiny apartment in the USA is sooooo much better than the life here?  I think it’s pretty nice here.  Like really nice here…  What do you think?

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What is this was your view?

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Or this?

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Your kids could be playing here…

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Beautiful, right?

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Carpeted bikes and all.

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Still, the place is not full finished.  These buildings look mostly empty and the landscaping, clearly, needs quite a bit of work.

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Lots of trash everywhere, too.

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See this little stream?  It’s brown and smells like shit.  I mean literally.  Smells like shit and looks like shit.  I wonder what this really is…  But I will avoid it!

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Lots of these here.

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But look at the views!  By the way, please note the smog—it’s everywhere.

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Again, drying towels outside.

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Some local sculpture.

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Sleeping quarters here.  Not bad, right?

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Construction is everywhere.  This tells me that the economy is definitely on the rise.  No matter what you do, if the money is being dumped into new construction there will be new jobs.

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And more fireworks!!

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See these red things on the road?  I think these are leftovers from the party yesterday.  Must be nice :)

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Some red papers.  No idea what they actually are.

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Oh, look at this cute little garden.

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Or this one :)

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Or this shopping mall (with yet another bank that doesn’t let me us my ATM card).

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Roads are… well, in need of some work, for sure.

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Oh, and what about these rocks?  No clue!  But there must be some kind of a reason for them.

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See, they are all over the place.

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And more sleeping quarters.  Are these soon much worse than where you live?  I think not.

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See what I mean?

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Nice here.

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And the government buildings are gorgeous.  Reminds me of the USSR.

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Like a really modernized USSR.

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With the body on the bull.

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And everyone drying their clothes outside.  Is this really better than a normal dryer?

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Some kind of sculpture / bus stop?

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Still, a lot of manual labor here.

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OMG, look at the World of Warcraft ads!!

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And the colors.  This is so very much Ukraine :-)

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Bridges look pretty solid.

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And the random sculptures are pretty decent.

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Ah, the tribute to Gaudy.  Very nice work here!  Alice in Wonderland, for sure!

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See?  See?

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Yeah?

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You know what I mean?

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Oh, my.

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Yep.

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Yep yep.  This is Art Village, I think.

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Interesting pictograms for male and females.

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Oh, and the public bike thing is pretty cool here.  We have these all over Philly now, not sure about your town.

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There, I fixed it.

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Interesting electric box labeling system.

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Or the random sculpture.

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Nice, right?

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Very cool here!

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Oh, wow!  So, Communists are OK with sex?  Not the country I grew up in… Nope.

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Focus, bitches!

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Shit’s about to go down!

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Random art is always a plus, but always out of place here, don’t you agree?

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And in the store…

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WOW!  Russian chocolate…!!  Awesome!

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And the paper airplane from my childhood!  Why do kids don’t make these anymore?

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Still, the old China is still here.

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With full-body tattoos.

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And nice Zodiac gardens.

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And dogs.  Dogs are still all over the place.

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What’s a USA GEP Laundry?  What’s GEP?

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Just your typical construction.

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Ah… 1978 is when I was born.  Too bad I’m not hungry.

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CEO club :-)

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And the street across from the CEO club.

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And the building on the corner from the CEO club.

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And the Health Club next to the CEO club.

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And the huge mall nearby the CEO club.

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Nice, right?

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And the credit is pretty easy to get here.

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The credit that will take you into the ideal world.

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World full of ads.

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Nice parking lot, right?  Keep in mind, I’m in the middle of the downtown of a major city.

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Oh, there’s a row of fixers.  Clothes, shoes, probably other things.

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And fake iPhones.

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And nice fountains.

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Something-electricity-something.

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Are these job ads?

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And the make-shift balconies, too.

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And the toy characters that everyone seems to love over here.  I think I’d be happy here.

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Look at all the colors!

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And the little Police box.

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Nice chairs, right?

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Here’s me right before giving a lecture.  I’m smoking inside of a University building… it is, apparently, allowed.  I remember 20+ years ago in Russia, we’d smoke right in the building, too.  Ah, the nice times!

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Great city.  I think my favorite so-far in China.  Lovely.  Can’t wait to return here in a few years.