Vacation Update #4

Here is the 4th update for Vacation Cruise 2008. This one covers Dalian, China and Busan, South Korea.

Before getting to those, I just want to add one note about Beijing. You may have wondered if we saw anything related to the upcoming Olympics. The only thing we saw were several Olympic 2008 stores selling official souvenirs. There was an American Express tour group that was on the cruise that had been to Beijing before the cruise left and did manage to briefly see some of the sights and the report was that most were not anywhere near being finished (or at least did not appear to be anyway). I heard the same report from the tour people on the ship. Even if you were to go there it is apparently very difficult to see anything. Apparently there is a hotel shaped like an Olympic Torch that is very impressive, but not ready yet.

Ok, enough of Beijing, on to Dalian. Dalian is just an overnight sail from Xingang. The ship docked there at approximately 9:30 A.M. The tour I was on was called Panoramic Dalian. That was me and 500 or so others, 11 busloads in total. Of course they all went to the same places at the same time which of course has (or can have) many problems. The first stop had the problems.

The first stop was the Dalian TV tower, or as they call it the Dalian Sightseeing Tower. By the way Dalian is pronounced Dali-an, just the way it is spelled. Here are some pictures.

The Dalian Sightseeing Tower. It is much longer from front to back than it is wide. There are 3 floors at the top. I think only one is currently being used.

The main entrance with many of the throngs, mostly from the ship, waiting. I do not know who (or what) the big stuffed thing in the middle represents.

The “throngs” from the other direction. More and more kept coming.

If you look at the exterior picture of the tower above and look at the framework around the tower portion you can see this frame. It makes it quite a challenge to get any kind of half decent picture without a least part of the frame in it.

Another challenge was that the exterior side of the glass was very dirty on one side of the tower. More problems for the picture takers like me.

According to our guide, this was a nice clear day in Dalian. It must be quite something when it is not clear.

This is their main sport stadium. This is about as clear as it got while we were at the tower.

There were only 2 elevators. They overloaded one and a number of people were trapped between floors at the top for a brief (10 min.) period. I was at the top and witnessed it. It was not pretty. This was the line at the only remaining elevator trying to get down. The stairs were blocked off for some reason and were not an option (for us at least).

The elevator incident delayed everything but they still managed to give us most of the tour that was planned.

Dalian is a mixture of Chinese, Russian and Japanese architectures, all originating from the various times it has been under their influences. Dalian is a very new city by Chinese standards. Here are some additional pictures in no particular order about Dalian.

All kinds of these flying around. Someone said that Dalian is not too far from the North Korea border.

The most expensive condos in Dalian. Taken from Xinghai Square with was built in 1997 to commemorate the return of Hong Kong to China.

The mandatory Coke machine, right in the middle of the square, all by it self. This is nothing, what until you see them in Japan.

The coastal road with the only beach of any value in the Dalian area.

I forget the exact meaning of this fountain but it had something to do with the city’s seafaring heritage.

Bicycles are still widely used in China but not as much as at one time. Here, the longshoremen are using them to ride between the various places where the ship was tied up.

The pier where the ship was docked. The same pier is used to load coal.

This is an aircraft carrier, which did not appear to be operational at a dock just down from us.

This view as the ship sailed out of Dalian harbor.

This is the last I saw of China on this trip.

It took approximately 36 hours and 568 nautical miles to sail from Dalian to Busan, South Korea. The ship had to sail down the length of the Korean peninsula and around to the south eastern side to get there. The ship docked at 7:38 a.m. on Sunday, April 30th.

The shore excursion today consisted of a visit to another sighting tower, a fish market and what was called the international market which really only sells trinkets of all types to both locals and tourists.

Here is one of the few places so far that I have been able to get a picture of the ship.

The first stop was the Busan Observation Tower. This was a much better managed operation than the one in Dalian. Also, there were only 5 buses and not 11 this time as well. They were very precise about the number of people allowed on their elevators. There were no issues like Dalian’s here. Here are some pictures.

The Busan Observation Tower.

This island has a complex history but I cannot remember it all. The ship was docked on the other side of this island so it cannot be seen from the tower.

The north section (I think) of Busan.

The inner harbor where most of the fishing boats are docked. The next stop is the building with the gull winged roof in the centre right of the picture. That is the Fish Market.

An inside view of the tower.

This nasty looking character is quite important but I do not think I ever got the explanation.

Busan is best known, apparently, for the daily fish market here. It is very unique.  I think you will see why in the pictures that follow:

The entrance is down this street.

Not much spare room here.

Mostly live fish!!!

Don’t ask!!! I have no idea what these are!!!

Yep! That is an octopus!

See the big guy at the back?

These may be squid. They still have lots of legs.

More live octopus.

More octopus, obviously not alive though.

A general view of the outside smelly part of the market. The inside, because almost everything is in water has almost no smell.

The last really unique thing about this is that if you buy any of the live fish (or whatever) they will let you choose the one you want, and then they will take it upstairs and cook it for you so it is ready to eat. Fresh from the sea to the table in just a few hours. If you are into this sort of thing, how much better can it get?

The last stop was this market which was of little interest. It was mainly just local people selling non local things. Here are a couple of pictures taken in this area but not of this.

Anyone for corn on the cob? I am not sure what all else she has there.

Multicolored signs along a shopping street.

The final thing for Busan is that the ship was resupplied with just about everything here, food, fuel etc. About the only thing that did not change was the people. That had to wait until Kobe, Japan yesterday. Here is one picture showing this.

The supplies are shipped in containers from Holland America’s head office in Seattle, Washington.There is bread, Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Strawberries, Watermelons, Cherries, and the like in the group in the foreground.
In the furthest group are things like engine parts and those types of supplies.

We left Busan/Pusan just before 6:00 P.m. for Nagasaki, Japan, just 158 Nautical Miles across the Korean Strait arriving there Monday, morning (tomorrow in this time line).

I hope you enjoy this! More to come soon!!!

Les A.