A couple of more days in Dalian, China

Business takes me once again to the vibrant, growing city of Dalian, China.  On a northeastern peninsula near North Korea, it's a growing center of high-technology, software development, outsourcing, and heavy manufacturing.

My journey starts by a relatively early-morning trip from Tokyo Station to Narita airport (RJAA) via the Narita Express (N'EX), which only make 1 stop between Tokyo and the airport.  All seats are reserved on this train, but the automated ticket machine, along with helpful JR staff ladies make getting a ticket easy.  Cost: 2800 Yen.

Since the earthquake and tsunami, quite a few power plants have been offline, and the effort to save electricity is widely publicized and public awareness, and compliance, is high.  On the train is an interactive screen which shows, to within the last hour, the results of how much less electricity is currently being used, relative to a baseline or prior forecast.  At the time I took this (sometime after 7AM on September 4), the city was only using 58% of the baseline.  Good job Tokyo!  The stats are available at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) forecast site (in English).  I'm also pretty impressed that the system on the train picks up the data live and updated every 15 minutes during the 55-minute trip. 

The meal on the flight was not bad, there was hot rice in a banana leaf (left), and a set of nine small bites, including such things as potato salad.  Along with a citrus drink and a fruit gelatin dessert.

Since relations with North Korea have not improved, our flight took us well past their claimed airspace before turning toward Dalian.

This wasn't my first trip to Dalian, but last time I didn't notice it's other title: The Romantic City.  Guess the ad agency's not doing their job in spreading the word.

This trip from the airport took us past the shipyards, where they are building some pretty huge ships, mostly container carriers.  Some big cranes abound.

Downtown.  The weather's a lot nicer this year, last year's visit was just after a huge dust storm blew in from the west and made everything grey and dusty.

The New World Hotel is pretty nicely appointed.

Nice lobby, with a bar, lounge, and a good breakfast restaurant.

We went for a walk, and passed by a well-known local department store, called the "Friendship store", which sells pretty much anything you'd think it might.  Some of the city architecture is certainly distinctive, doubly so because you can open the windows even at high floors.  Not so in most high-rises I go to.

We were tired so we stopped at a local Starbucks.  We think it was real. They were selling sweets in the shape of Starbucks logos and bunnies, which correlate to this year in the Chinese Zodiac.

Me and my friend Noriko hanging out in the plaza.

A photo shoot group was walking around the plaza taking shots as well.

Something seems wrong with this logo.  There were some other buildings in the area with similar names to well-known brands, which were also slightly off from the well-known one.

Another view of the shipyard.

Yeah, we're in the PRC.

We had dinner at the in-hotel chinese restaurant, which was quite good.  Some wasabi-coated shrimp tempura, beef and snow peas, and scallion pancake.

Also had their version of Dan-dan mian.  Spicier than some others, good!

Just a shot for those of you who like to locate places on the map.

Saw this bus advertising something Disney-esque, but we weren't sure it was advertising a real Disney property, as there aren't any in China.

Dalian City Hall.

Lunch on our first work day was at a local chinese restaurant, where rice paper wrappers were used to wrap up different dishes, including spicy chicken in a sweet sauce (kind of mu-shu style), green beans and garlice, and shrimp.  The chicken's on the right, and sits on a bed of tofu that has been made into a thick sheet kind of like paper, with a grid texture.  Interesting.

For dinner we went to Wanbao Seafood Restaurant (couldn't find a link, a search will bring up reviews), which we went to last year as well.  As before, we chose our food before they killed and cooked it.  Here's the company gang posing before the tanks of lobsters.


Prawns, which were served alive in a glass bowl with a little water.  You ripped the head off and ate it while it wiggled. Well, they did that.

These are a local Dalian specialty, some sort of sea worm. 

They served fresh scallop (not sure if it was cooked or not) with diced garlic.

Here's the sea worm.  After cooking, it was kind of smoky, like a dry rub barbecue.  Not bad.

The signature dish is the live lobster.  While you can't tell from this photo, the head portion of the lobster is still moving a little bit, and the little wiggly things by its mouth were still moving back and forth.  All this while it's thorax was cut and the meat removed and sliced up and served sashimi-style, with no seasoning.  It's kind of tasteless until it's cooked.  The boat has dry ice under the lobster and that makes the smoke/water effect.

Here's the meal with other items, including pork buns, the live shrimp, large snails, and some other kind of scallop served with cucumber.

Also had sea urchin.  I'd had this at a sushi place in Tokyo and didn't like it, but this time it wasn't bad.

Back at the hotel, they had these masks in the closet in case of fire.

An American/European style breakfast at the hotel.  Mmm eggy-weggs and hashed browns.

At the airport, YKK advertises on the carts.  Most of your zippers probably came from Dalian.

On the N'EX back, it was later in the day, so electrical utilization was up.

The return flight had a nice meal too, some hot chicken bits and rice along with salad, and an adult beverage.