Day 22 - Dilly-dallying in Dalian

Trip Start Feb 04, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2012

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Flag of China  , Liaoning,
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dalian is one of China's most beautiful cities, with a large harbor and spectacular coastline.  We docked about 7am and it was not a very long day in port, but our friends and we booked a land tour so we could see a bit of this city. 

Our bus took us to Dalian's city center, through an extraordinary network of plazas filled with massive and impressive buildings and monuments.  The tour was promoted with a stop at a kindergarten center, but because it was a weekend day, the center was closed so a substitute stop was made at the Community Center of Civic Culture Activities.  Many groups of all ages entertained us with dances in beautiful costumes.  During one of the dances, bystanders were drawn into the dancing, and several women pulled Peter in for a dance (note the pictures!).  Parents were there with children, and one young girl played her flute for us at the prompting of her mom and dad, who stood proudly by

With the aid of an interpreter, we chatted with a Chinese woman in her home about everyday life and customs.  Her family was not there but she shared with us as we crowded into her small living room/bedroom.  She laid out a table full of snacks and prepared tea for us.  We were able to ask questions - any questions at all - about her life, and she seemed happy to tell us about her life.  A number of buses were taking this tour, so they obviously had many homes lined up.  We felt it was a great opportunity to get a glimpse into a more private setting in the city. 

We stopped at a Farmer's Market, browsed the stalls and enjoyed discovering foods and items in a culturally rich venue.  We also visited a local Friendship Store, which was at least 10 floors of cultural items as well as clothing and home decorator/furnishings.

At one of the city parks where people were flying kites, we walked around to various kite vendors.  We were interested in buying some of the beautifully decorated Chinese kites, but they would have been difficult to transport so I gave up on purchasing any.  Bartering with vendors, speaking with locals who were eager to use their English with us, and just walking around outdoors made for a great stop.

We were back on board the ship by 2:30pm, joined our friends for canasta in the dining area, watched departure from the windows, and had a leisurely afternoon.  We did a bit of packing as well, preparing for the end of our cruise tomorrow in the port city of Tianjin, and then a transfer to Beijing. 
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