Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trip to the 9/18 Museum

On June 16, 2010 China celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival. Although this festival is much more popular in southern China, it is a national holiday, and therefore we got the day off work. I decided to take a bike ride up to the 9-18 Museum in the northern part of Shenyang. This museum commemorates the Mukden Incident of September 18, 1931, which sparked the full-scale Japanese invasion of Northeast China.

First, a few street scenes from the ride to the museum:

Waltzing at the park:

Several men were playing the traditional erhu string instrument and singing, while a crowd listened:

The museum was on the northern outskirts of the city and took over an hour to reach by bicycle:

The large monument at the entrance of the 9-18 Museum:

Even though the actual incident was relatively minor, the museum provided an interesting glimpse into the Northeastern Chinese viewpoint on their history with Japan. Or perhaps I should say the Northeastern Chinese ^government^ viewpoint.
The Japanese germ warfare campaign in China:
This sign is a bit difficult to read, but salient text reads "How did Japanese imperialists dare to wield knives to China? All these pictures here are telling a true story. Why did some people turn a blind eye to it? Some even distorted history. The weak are doomed to be beaten. How did we become weak?"

Of course, the final sign reiterates the main message that the museum is trying to convey. It was all a little over-the-top, which is a shame. Focusing on the real atrocities is difficult when every other sign is reminding visitors to always be on guard against the Japanese.

And finally, the gift shop, which has various toy weaponry for sale. You can also purchase a completely un-ironic "great leader" series biography of Eisenhower, Stalin, Churchill, or Hitler.

On the way home, I passed by the semi-famous coin shaped building, one of Shenyang's many attractions. No one has any idea what's inside it, however.

An abandoned building on the north side of town:

And right across the street, a gleaming, new court building -

Typical neighborhood street by the Consulate

A neighborhood scene on a Sunday afternoon:

Apparently a school nearby was having some kind of celebration, but I didn't read the banners, so I'm not quite sure.

Friday, June 18, 2010

how ridiculous would it be if...

After the North Korea-Brazil match, I was joking that North Korea would probably broadcast the game as a victory to the home audience.

And then I saw this video.

Thank you, dear leader, for always rising to the occasion.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A few neighborhood pictures

Here are just a few pictures I took while walking to/from the Consulate with my iphone.

A typical neighborhood street, a few blocks from the Consulate:

Awesome detailing on a random parked car: "to punish and enslave!"

I had never noticed the fabulous Chinglish on this sign outside of our hotel pool until last week.
Clearly I was missing out!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Expo Fever!

Over Memorial Day weekend I took a short vacation to Shanghai to visit friends and see the expo. By coincidence, the day that I planned to visit the Expo was the first day of "Liaoning Week," so we were able to get VIP passes to some of the pavilions and attend the opening ceremony of Liaoning Week. FYI- Liaoning is the province in which I live, and Shenyang is the capital city. Apparently, every province in China has a week devoted to it throughout the duration of the Expo.

Unfortunately, our host decided to bring us to the Expo at 7:00am on Saturday morning, 2 hours before it opened. At the very least, walking around the Expo grounds without the crush of the crowds was nice.

Brandon and I in front of the China Pavilion:

Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao had their own pavilions adjacent to the China pavilion. The Taiwan pavilion featured a large globe (see below). Apparently visitors could go inside the globe and view a 360 degree movie screen, kind of like in X-Men.

Shanghai recruited the cutest ayis to work the grounds!

The Israeli pavilion on the left...right next to the Pakistani pavilion.

It was difficult to take pictures inside the China pavilion since we were escorted through with a large group of Liaoning government officials. Plus, in all honesty, there weren't many 'picture-worthy' displays inside, with the exception of this cutie with a Friendly:

After we toured the China pavilion, we attended the opening ceremony of Liaoning week on the main stage, which featured lots of Beijing Opera, patriotic ballads, ballet dancers, and monotonous speeches. Luckily, the Liaoning theater troupe was there to welcome us to the ceremony!

Our incoming chief of the Consulate attended the ceremony as well, so I informed him that impromptu theater productions such as this were a common occurrence on the way to the office.

Ladies welcoming us to the ceremony:

About half of the audience was in uniform.

The next day, our hosts took us out to dinner. Our guide at the Expo was from Shenyang and had been working so hard at the Expo that she hadn't yet been able to see the tourist sites around Shanghai, so we first took her to Yu Yuan Gardens:

On the way to the Gardens, I noticed this sign for a small convenience store:


On the way back to the airport, I decided to take the Maglev train instead of a taxi, even though a taxi probably would've been faster. The Maglev train will get you to the airport in 8 minutes, but it takes almost an hour by subway to get to the Maglev train station. Anyway, it was well worth the time, and I was able to take a short video of the view from the train.