Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Sitting in the Japanese restaurant at the Dalian Hotel. Dalian, known to history as "Port Arthur," is situated on a peninsula jutting out from the coast of Manchuria (Dongbei). This hotel was built a hundred years ago by the Japanese, and was used in the filming of The Last Emperor.

The strategic importance of this unique piece of real estate has long been recognized, and it was alternately controlled by the Russians and Japanese before coming, once again, under the domain of China after World War II. Foreign interest in this area is understandable. The Liaoning Peninsula, on which Dalian is situated, is blessed with some 2000 kilometers of coastline. It has a phenomenal natural harbor, and the most casual glance at a map of China would show the strategic value it's location.

One of the things that attracts people to Dalian today is the pristine sea air. I tried to get a train ticket, but was unable to, so I ended up flying. I always ask for an aisle seat, because I like to be able to get up and walk around, but this is one time I should have sat by the window. This place is really pretty from the air. Dalian has another interesting feature I have not seen other places in China. The policemen are women. Men need not apply. Dalian wants to project a friendly atmosphere to visitors.

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