Monday, April 9, 2007

Dalian's Dumplings (and Ocean World)

We set out today on a mission to find the aquarium with the longest underwater tunnel in Asia (this is a big claim, no?)
We just missed the shuttle, so decided to try our luck walking out of the terminal to flag down a taxi rather than wait a half hour. Barely 10 steps later, we were stopped by the sound of “TAXI!” and ushered into a car with no meter whose driver promised to take us wherever we wanted.

We pointed to where we wanted to go, Sun-Asia Ocean World, which he seemed put out by, gesturing it wasn’t very good and he’d take us somewhere else, but we were undeterred. We argued over the fare, I still think he overcharged us, and he stopped to discuss it with his mates as well. He took us to some white columns, saying we should photograph them, and I started to get mad. At this point, he drove quickly and quietly to Sun-Asia Theme park, home of Ocean World, Tiger Beach Ocean Park and Coral World. We were accosted by one of the driver’s friends, who ushered us to the ticket booth, and when we paid (we decided just one park, the Ocean World one, would be sufficient for RMB 100 each) handed their ID over the counter to grab a cut from us. Cheeky.

Anyway, inside, we went through the park. I’m not going to mince words, it was RADIO-RENTALS!
Various themed lands, check. Fish, check. Indoor fluorescent paint, check. I mean, I’ve been to some theme parks (and worked in an Asian one too) but this was something else. Check out these translations next to the attractions (my favourite is “scream merrily”) I hope they come out big enough to be read because I laughed so hard I thought I’d, um, disappoint myself.

The shark tank, however, was chock full of big, fat sharks
and worth all the, um, stuff we’d had to wander through to get there. The sea lions were fun, too, they made Eric happy with their expressive faces.
The underwater tunnel was indeed very long, and winding, with even a sunken car in the surrounding tank and lots of fish/turtles, but the conveyor belt was broken. We missed the 2pm show where I THINK through various mimes from employees, they feed the sharks, but we’d had a big dose of aquatic life for one day.

Back in a thankfully metered taxi, we headed for the shuttle drop off in town, at the Friendship Store which proudly bore a banner welcoming Crystal Harmony (bless).
We dropped in to the impressive looking Shangri La Hotel (it had tennis courts!) and asked for a nearby good Chinese restaurant.

The place they sent us to was possibly the best meal I’ve had in China. We sat at a table amongst live and recently not-alive seafood, see the picture of Eric looking at it all,
and pointed at pictures of things we thought we might like to eat.
We had some deep-fried sweetcorn toast with sweet orangey sauce, two different types of wicked dumplings and a really tasty big bowl of
soup with noodles, veggies and pork. The green tea kept coming, and it was an inexpensive meal. Eric is outside it here, note the new Chelsea shirt (yes! I’ve made him into a Blues fan! And I don’t mean music!)
We made it back to the ship, stuffed.

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