Ni Hao China!
Shenyang at Night
I arrived at the airport good and early for my midday flight from Busan, Korea to Shenyang, China. The weather had been forcasting a chance of snow today in Shenyang, so I really really looking forward to a white Christmas in China. However, the snow delayed my flight a few hours... It wasn't too bad, I have a lot of reading to catch up on.
Once I made it into Shenyang, everything was covered in snow and the sky was a beautiful blue. It was quite refreshing to walk through the freezing cold jetway and to immigration. Quarantine wasn't what I was expecting: they took my health questionaire and just waved everyone passed.
One thing really surprised me at the airport. Airports and airlines now tag checked luggage and put a sticker on your ticket to acknowledge that it belongs to you. This, though, is the only airport I've been to that actually checks that you get your luggage before you leave the baggage claim area. Very good!
Christmas in one of the numerous shopping malls in central Shenyang. Christmas is a wonderful capitalist holiday the whole world needs to embrace!
Not fully prepared for the cold, my top priority after dropping off my bags was to buy some gloves to protect my hands from the cold. In the Chinese department store, I had to use the writing in my travel language book to ask people where to find some gloves. One employee was finally free enough to escort me to the little counter I had passed. I found a nice leather pair and tried a few before getting one pair a good size. They were 200 Chinese Yuan (CNY, the formal international standard), which struck me as quite a lot until I realised that it's a mere $30 USD.
Silly me, though, tried to pay at the counter. The clerk was nice enough to escort me through the proper procedure: she wrote a ticket stating the item and price, took it and my money over to the cashier at a nearby desk and paid, and then took the receipt back to the glove counter to give me my new gloves.
One of the largest statues of Chairman Mao in 中山广场 Zhongshan Square.
A closer look at the working masses decorating the base of Mao's staute. It reminds me of the Soviet statues in Moscow of their workers doing the same thing, ushering in Communism and all its false hopes...
In the bitter cold of Shenyang, where temps often fall to -20C, people dare not wait for the crossing light, or even for traffic to clear, before crossing a busy street. They step out one lane at a time as all the cars and buses pass by.
Traffic in China can be hectic and confused. So, the streets of Shenyang are lined with banners promoting safe driving, in both Chinese and English. Slogans like "Traffic Lights are Beacons Guiding Us to Safe Haven" and "[...] makes batter way and happier driver". Yeah, Asians' English can be a little jumbled at times.
I did not want to spend my first night in China watching English television in my business hotel. So I began to wander through the streets. I got to see some nice building and little apartment buildings. I walked through a late-night street market in the snow.
As I would stand at a street corner to wait to cross the road, I noticed various Chinese (particularly the girls) noticing the foreigner, me. I get a lot of that in Korea from the children, but in China these were adults. In Korea, I find it extremely rude, annoying, and uncalled for in a industrialised, developed, globalised country. In China, though, I was surprised that I didn't mind too much. I guess I was half expecting it from this historically closed-off culture.
Wandering through the streets, I discover the glowing Liaoning Guangbo TV Transmission Tower (辽宁广博电视塔). It looks a little too much like the tower in Berlin for my tastes...