Published: April 10th 2011April 7th 2011 Our Sleepover in KaiFaQu
Room with a view
Lots of apartments in this area.
Our last minute flurry of travel before we leave China began with a simple overnighter in KaiFaQu, the development zone of Dalian. An early Qinggui into town got us to The Real Eddie’s for brunch, one of our favourite activities. Their brunch is a bit different from most. Rather than a massive spread with a lot of different choices, brunch consists of the regular menu! For a fixed price, you can choose anything you want. The portions may be a little smaller and may not be quite as elaborate as when served as individual dishes, but the fact that you can choose as many as you want makes it superb. The items are cooked fresh rather than sitting in chafing dishes. Because you don’t heap your plate with a little of a lot of choices, you don’t tend to eat as much. A great way to start the day considering our walking plans.
A bonus was that Eddie himself was at the restaurant. He spends most of his time at his new restaurant in Downtown Dalian (see Christmas in Dalian 2010) so we don’t often get to talk to him. We talked about his time
As the sun goes down, the sky colors can be very beautiful. We don't ask why.
in Canada, his family and his plans for the future. KaiFaQu was a group of small fishing villages when he grew up in Dalian. It started to grow in 1984 and hasn’t stopped. Even though it is actually just part of Dalian, it would be a major city in Canada. There wasn’t even a road from Dalian to what is now KaiFaQu as much of the land was actually under water.
There has been a lot of land reclamation in this part of China. One of our teachers says the rise in sea level is not caused by global warming but by China “making” so much new land. He’s kidding. I think. The realtor who said “They’re not making waterfront anymore” has never been to China. UFO Tower Trail
We were registered for the night at the Dynasty Hotel where we have attended many parties for expats here in KaiFaQu. Our friend Linda took a later Qinggui and met us at the hotel for the UFO Hill walk.
I have written several times about the UFO tower on top of Tongniuling Hill overlooking KaiFaQu. I am amazed that, even though I have been up to the
We aren't sure why they have statues of corn in the park. But for some reason I can relate to them.
top several times, I continue to find new “treats” to enjoy as we hike around the area. This time we went up the way we usually come down and found some new “statues” and walking paths. We chose one that ended at the road and we had to climb through a fence to get to the sidewalk to continue our climb. Next time, we will choose the other path to see if it is the one that snakes its way to the upper parking lot.
Had we taken the other path we would have missed the section of burned out walkway near the top. We don’t know if it was arson or an accident but a stretch of about 15 or 20 meters had been reduced to giant pieces of charcoal. Half a dozen women were sifting through the wreckage recovering the long spikes that had held it together. Waste not, want not.
From the upper parking lot to the tower is a fairly steep climb over some steps that needed serious maintenance last time I was up this way. Apparently some else agreed, as the steps were closed off and the only access was the maintenance road.
What a wheel
Water wheels are very popular in China.
This is not exactly a hardship as the road is a gentle slope and the climb much easier even if it is longer.
After enjoying the 360 degree views from the top we headed down the other side. As we approached the upper parking lot we were treated to the sight of workers heaving some of the planks they had ripped out of the stairs that had been closed. They just climbed down through the trees and when about three meters above the maintenance road, they heaved the planks over the edge onto the road where other workers stacked them. There were no barriers or indications that this was a work area. WorkSafe BC would have had a fit.
Signs of spring were everywhere including workers burning off the dead grass. We thought that was what was happening because that is what the workers at the school have been doing on the new campus. There was quite a smoke cloud billowing up the side of the mountain as we descended. When we looked back from near the bottom, we realized the flames were much higher than “normal” and in several places. Workers were scurrying around beating the flames
The former path
Quite a chunk of the boardwalk was gone.
with various implements apparently trying to control the burn. The next thing we heard was a fire truck racing up the hill. It was followed by a tanker truck presumably delivering water to help douse the flames. Quite a crowd formed at the top and bottom of the hill. Everyone got a lot more excitement than they had bargained for.
Our goal on descending the hill was to find Baishiwan Beach. It is advertised as 1,000 meters long and 40 meters wide. We found one end of the beach and followed the access paths down to the water. On the way, we passed several skeletons depicting a variety of dinosaurs. For a moment we felt like we were back near Drumheller, Alberta. Quite a display.
The beach has some sand and is used for swimming in the summer but at this time of year is still pretty empty. Most of the people there were maintenance workers preparing the various rides, boat and bike rentals and other attractions for the coming tourist season. The road along the beach is quite a bit higher than the beach. The wall between the road and the beach is covered with a series
From this angle, the tower does look like a UFO coming in for a landing.
of murals depicting themes from many parts of the world. The statues are large and very elaborate. Neat.
Linda had to get back to JinShiTan so we hailed a cab for her and sent her back to the QingGui. We continued our walk back to the hotel and relaxed over coffee on the Executive Level. We had to build up our strength for our walk to the restaurant for dinner.
Our dinner reservations were at the Victoria Hotel next door to the Dynasty. They have a great Indian Chef and their restaurant is a favourite place for our teachers to enjoy Indian food. The only disappointment is the presence of a large screen TV which is always on and showing something we can’t understand. So there we were in the Victoria Hotel, in a Chinese restaurant serving Indian food. We looked up at the TV and what did we see? Stephen Harper talking about the fall of the Canadian government! Sunday stroll
After the usual Sunday morning brunch we headed off on another walkabout. We hiked over to “Robson Street”, named after its counterpart in Vancouver by some of the early Maple Leaf Teachers. We are
Fire fighters look like ants as they try to put out the flames.
always amazed by the quantity and variety of goods that are sold in these outdoor markets. It’s only there on the weekend. Who buys all this stuff? What do they do with the stuff they don’t sell?
We continued our stroll through parts of KaiFaQu we had never visited including the library and the Performance Hall. We have always wanted to take in a musical performance here but still haven’t made it. Not being able to find an English schedule has been our excuse. Now we have so little time left.
I have always wondered about the green area on the map of KaiFaQu that is on the other side of the tracks. On this hike we discovered it is a hilly area covered with trees and it has many paths. It is still pretty chilly to be sitting around but in the height of the summer this would be a great place to picnic and get away from the heat of the city. At the top of one of the hills we found what looked like a fort with four military guns pointing towards the harbour. There were no signs talking about them and it is hard
Spring is still a ways off but we love being out and about. This park is a great place to spend time even though it is in the middle of a huge city.
to believe they were ever used for defense based on their locations. Just another unanswered question.
The walk back to the hotel was interrupted by the usual stop for a cappuccino and several discussions with young people interested in speaking English. Always fun.
Back home to prepare for another week of school. And to pack our bags for our next trip: Tianjin
There are more photos below