Dalian visit – in good times before the Chinese virus

It will not be out of place to state a few memorabilia of China. I visited Dalian China in 2015. The city is quite close to North Korea.

I didn’t know the Chinese language for nuts, and I am a pure vegetarian like a lost cow in the wilderness; a city of fish-eaters. I don’t know how I managed to eat but I must have managed it well, to have survived.

I stayed a month, without eating non-vegetarian food, walked and drove all around Dalian and found, to my surprise though, that the construction matched many locations and buildings in Austria, Italy, Russia, Paris and other good cities of the world. The Chinese have amazingly cloned these. It’s not just the brick and mortar in these buildings, it’s the ambience and glee they have replicated.

If you, like the Chinese citizens, can’t, cannot afford Europe you could satisfy your travel urges by simply visiting Dalian. Your bucket list will be emptied.

It was unbelievable. All buildings are alluring and neatly preserved, all people good looking and fashionable, countless shopping multi-storeyed malls carrying all American brands of outfits – made in China though – and not the least, all wearing a pleasant smile on their faces. Was it China, I wondered? We have a somewhat different impression in India. Here we are still struggling with graffiti scribblings, spits and urinating at every corner.

I didn’t see Amazon Prime or Netflix anywhere, but I wasn’t devoid of entertainment. Their music, dances and aerobatics are thrilling all deserving Olympics medals.

Then one day I was taken to a history museum, where I spent almost three hours seeing every aspect of Chinese life spread over centuries of their existence. I saw pictures that bore shreds of violence and torture. The shrapnel of their weapons with bright light impinging on their edges would give jitters to any normal person.

I saw a very wide painting, spreading over 4 vertical walls of a very big hall, totalling about 100 feet in width. The painting, though extremely well made with the Chinese style of touches, was of villages that bore clear indications of smokes, fire and dead bodies lying around, giving the reminiscences of war, when they were attacked. A scenario, not worth seeing, but factual.

Were the Chinese like this? Are they still the same? Not when you see their smiling faces in the street or on the internet. I was startled. Was it China that I chose to visit? I couldn’t believe it.

I was confused and disturbed for three days after this visit. Will I include this travel in my bucket list? All told, perhaps yes. The progress that I saw was phenomenal. I recommend you to see it on a panorama on the internet.