Thursday, 22 May 2014

Ni Hao from China!

I have just returned home after three weeks in Dalian, China, situated at the tip of the Liaodong peninsula in Liaoning province. Dalian is a major seaport and is easily accessible by boat from Yantai in Shandong across the Bohai Sea, as well as North Korea, just across the Yellow Sea. Dalian is a relatively young city of 100 years,  had been under British, Russian and Japanese occupations, and was formerly known as Port Arthur, Dalny and Ryojun in the past.

I was in Dalian to visit my sister and to install an artwork in her restaurant, The Riviera, which specialises in Italian, Spanish and French cuisine.
'Biota' installed at The Riviera
I ate many delicious meals at the restaurant during my stay, and was also there for The Riviera Annual Italian Wine Dinner, cooked by an Italian master chef and accompanied by Marchesi di Barolo wines from Piemonte.
I do have to say that The Riviera makes the best Tiramisu I have tasted in a long time (and gazpacho, cannelloni, portobello mushrooms stuffed with shrimp, etc etc.......). Consequently, walking around Dalian was high on my agenda every day, and I got to see most of the nearby sights. 

Unlike my usual trips abroad I was hard-pressed to find any local textiles though- I searched high and low, believe me, but perhaps  this is because Dalian is such a young city. I did manage to take this photo of what the local menswear trends were.....
Not sure what occasion would call for this attire .......
Dalian is going through a huge building boom at the moment, with massive developments popping up everywhere. Down near the new conference centre on the water is an amazing development in progress called 'Montage', complete with European inspired buildings and its own Arc de Triomph.  The mind boggles as to who will be living and working in this mini-city built on recently reclaimed sea.
Montage Development goes on for miles along the seafront.
And from the whimsical to the sublime, at the other end of the Montage fantasy you have the new Dalian International Conference Centre, by Austrian architecture practice Coop Himmelb(l)au which features a 1600 seat theatre, a primary conference room for 2,500 delegates, an exhibition gallery and 6 additional smaller conference rooms for 300-600 people each.
The Dalian International Conference Centre
Located directly across the road from the Conrad Hilton, this inspiring building was planned according to sustainable principles, such as using the nearby sea water for cooling.

The downside of China was that I could not access my blog or any other social media sites and also found it difficult to surf the internet or even access some website that we commonly take for granted.  Some residents get around this restriction by having a VPN and going through another country for connection, but that was not possible for me in such a short visit, so hence I could not post anything on my blog the whole time I was there.

Anyhow, I'm now back in the glorious Canberra autumn, checking out what plants have grown since I left and getting used to cooking meals again after the luxury of eating out every night!

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