We’ve crossed the Gulf of Hai on an easterly course and entered the port of Dalian. Dalian, formerly known as Luda or Darian is a modern commercial and industrial city and its deep water port is facilitated to handle almost any kind of cargo. The amount of cranes emptying and filling up ships in the harbour is extraordinary. It’s obvious this city doesn’t sleep at night.
When the Russians took the lease of the Liaotung Peninsula in 1898, they not only built up the existing Chinese naval base at Port Arthur as the ice-free headquarters of their Pacific Fleet but also selected a minor fishing village called Ch’ing-ni-wa to be developed as a major commercial port, which they called Dalny, connected by rails with the Chinese Eastern Railway of Harbin. They laid out a spacious Western-style city and dredged the harbour and constructed wharves, piers and breakwaters. Only the first stage was completed at the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. After the war the Treaty of Portsmouth transferred control of the Liaotung Peninsula to Japan. They renamed the port Dairen and completed the Russian plan, developing a fine modern city and an efficient modern port. By 1931 Darien was a major Chinese port, exceeded in its volume of trade only by Shanghai. The city which was occupied by the Soviet Union in the period immediately after WWII was less seriously damaged and looted than most of the Manchurian cities. It has since been vigorously developed both as a port and as an industrial centre. In 1984 Lu-ta was designated one of China’s “open” cities in the new open-door policy inviting foreign investment.
Dalian is an extremely easy city to manoeuvre. It’s shape reminds me of a spiders web with Zhongshan Square being the centre and everything comes out from there as spokes. Again, the city is just spotless. We visited the People’s Square, once named “Stalin Square” during the Soviet occupation. Families and friends meet here and just enjoy the surroundings. We noticed a group of army fellows doing exercises in the square and other couples lay on the granite walkways reading or having conversations. We then drove to meet and spend some time with local children at a nursery school – these kids were just marvellous. Many are gifted and can play instruments and sing and they are only 4 or 5 year olds. 2 little girls took to Gert and it was fun watching them trying to get him to dance with them.
We then drove to Beida Bridge, also called Lovers Road as many young people walk here. There is also a lovely beach area where many young married couples come to have their photos taken. Yesterday and today is a “good day” (26th of the month) to marry and we see many cars (red) honking horns and releasing doves to mark the occasion. Our final stop is a look out point called Labor Park. It’s the largest public park in the city and here we were able to enjoy panoramic views of Dalian. It’s just an awesome city.
Looking at this and other Chinese cities we’ve visited I have to say we are both extremely impressed by the development and the obvious pride the Chinese have in their country. Everyone appears to have a job. Every community has to have designated cleaners and everyone pays a small portion of their wages to encourage cleaning. The country has developed into “a” or should I say “the” world leader. I think many western countries could and should learn from the Chinese. Their work ethic and personal ethic is un-compromised and upheld to the highest degree. The pride is shown in everything they do. We have both been so impressed by China and it’s a country we’d like to learn more about and visit again.
Tonight we’ll sail a south easterly course through the Yellow Sea, which will allow us to pass south of South Korea towards our next port of call Cheju, South Korea.