Cruise Report # Fourteen – Day 20 – Thursday, October 11, 2007

In Port – Dalian, Peoples Republic of China

From the ship’s Navigator

Today we will embark the local pilot at 6:00 am. Thereafter we will sail on a westerly course heading towards our berth at Dalian, China. The weather forecast for today calls for an outside temperature of 62 degrees and a moderate breeze blowing from the northwest at a force of 4.

Dalian, PRC

Dalian is one of the most heavily developed industrial areas of China and is located west of the Yellow Sea and east of Bohai Sea roughly in the middle of the Liaodong?liaotung peninsula at its narrowest point. It is south-southwest of the Yalu River, and its harbor entrance forms a sub-bay known as Dalian Bay. The area was occupied by the British in 1858, returned to the Chinese in the 1890s when the Chinese government constructed bridges and fortifications with built-in cannons, setup mining camps and made it a small town. Dalian was then occupied by Japan in 1895 during the first Sino-Japanese War. In 1898, the Russian Empire leased the peninsula from the Quing Dynasty, and a modern city was laid out with the name of Dalny. Linked to the Trans-Siberian Railway, Dalny became Russia’s primary port city of Asia. Japan took it again during WW II but when Japan surrendered in August of 1945, Dalian passed to the Soviets, who had taken possession of the city in advance of the end of hostilities and remained in the city until 1955. After the departure of the Soviets, China made Dalian into a major shipbuilding center. A new harbor for oil tankers was completed in 1976 making Dalian the largest petroleum port in China, and the 3rd largest pot overall.

Our Visit

The first thing I noticed when I went up on deck this morning, when we just 4 miles from the city, was a smell of what I thought was “stack gas” coming from our ship. However I soon realized that it was coming from the petroleum refining area. It was a hazy morning so it was hard to tell if the haze was fog or pollution – probably smog.

I noticed several small fishing boats in the vicinity and as I reached the Crow’s Nest, the Captain let go with one long blast of the ships horn. My view through the forward facing windows gave me my first clue to what was happening – we were bearing down on one of the fishing boats that had set his nets directly over our heading. It soon became obvious that he was not moving so the Captain let go with three successive short blasts to indicate that the ship was starting to reverse its engines, at the same time I suspect he gave the order to turn slightly to starboard. As we got closer to the fishing boat it was obvious that he was attempting to haul up his nets and get out of the way. We passed close by on our port side without further incident.

For this port we had purchased a three hour tour that would take us through the main section of the city, passing by several large traffic circles and public squares. Then we would drive along the coast eventually stopping at a couple of viewpoints. Then we could come back into the city, stop at a park and fly some kites. We knew at once that the best part of this excursion was going to come from our college age tour guide. Her name was Connie (her English name), and she has a twin sister going to college in Shanghai. She was so excited to be given the opportunity to use her English, and she had such enthusiasm for what she was doing and saying that it immediately made everyone love her. She sang to us, played “finger” games with us, showed us how to count the Chinese way with her hand and fingers, told us stories, and answered our silly questions, and oh yes – shared her wealth of knowledge about Dalian. She was such a delightful young lady. As we enter the gates of the port, she asked us if we knew the words to a song, and she started humming the melody to “Auld Lang Syne” (SP) soon the whole bus was singing the words. She bid us goodbye once more with words of hope for the future.

We reboarded our floating hotel, ate a quick lunch, and caught the free shuttle bus back into the city. It was only a ten minute ride this time to the “Freedom and Friendship Store” This was an eight story plus two basement floor shoppers dream – if the shopper had a lot of Yaun, or $. It was very expensive, similar to a downtown Seattle department store. There were about three clerks for every shopper, all smartly dressed young women, with their calculators at the ready, but they did not move on the listed prices. Barbara managed to find a few bargains, but the prices were nothing to write home about. We hear the prices are much better in Hong Kong, and we will be there for two days.

I did try out the words for Hello and thank you, and was answered with “Hi”.

I see we are arriving at our next port which is where we will start our journey inland to Beijing. It will be a couple of days before I write again.

Till then, we send our regards from Communist China,

Jack and Barbara

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