Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Friday, May 06, 2005

A few years ago, the government of China instituted the "Golden Week" holidays. With these additions, there are now three official vacation periods for Chinese workers. The first begins with May Day. The second begins with the October 1st National Day (birthday of New China). The third, of course, is Spring Festival, which varies according to the lunar calendar. These holidays are supposed to be a great boon to the tourism industry, but this business of having all the working people of China take their vacations at the same time does create some problems with travel. I had a tough time getting a low cost room in Dalian, and I could not get train tickets. I decided to go anyway, but I only stayed one night. It was worth it, though, because I think I have figured out how to do this. Next time I will take my laptop with me and just wait out the holiday.

Dalian has a reputation for being a pretty city, and of course it is, but so is Beijing. I didn't go to Dalian to see a nice city. If I want to see a nice city, I can just get on my bike (as I did this morning), ride down to Houhai Park, and get lost among the Hutongs of "old town" Beijing. When it comes to day-to-day living, Beijing is hard to beat. But there is a lot of history in Manchuria. The reason for this is the wealth of resources in Northeast China. Because of this wealth, Manchuria has a very painful history. It has seen a lot of conflict, particularly during the first half of the 20th Century. It's so much different now. China's roaring economy has a lot to do with it. The prosperity of the present is burying the past. The young people bungie-jumping on the beach, and riding hot air balloons along the coast see a very different world than was seen by the people of this city not too many years ago.

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