Every lunar May 5th is the Dragon Boat Festival. It is traditonal chinese fest to commemorate an patriotic poet 'Qu Yuan' of Chu dynasty.
People eat 'Zong Zi' in this fest. Normally it is made of sticky rice and Chinese date. But now there're also many other kinds of stuffing, such as meat , sticky yellow rice or other nuts.
The 14-year-old Dalian International Fashion Festival has made the city well known throughout the world. This splendid fair is unique for its wide involvement of local people, its strong flavor of opening to the outside world, and its fruitful economic returns. The international garment fair, the national young designers' contest, the fashion show featuring Chinese and foreign models, and the large-scale cultural square party have all proved a great commercial success, promoting Dalian to the world and letting friends from overseas feel the warmth of the local people.
Chinese like to play, at least many of them. And you can see it everywhere. Sometimes its not so easy to take photos (like the people in Wuhan while they play Mah Jong). You also can see many people playing Chinese Chess. But normaly they dont play in this way as at the Xinghai Square.
Opening Ceremony for Dalian International Fest is a large evening performance at the city square. Except the large evening performance, the ceremony also invite the pop stars and singers from Hongkong, Taiwan, Japan, Korean, and other countries.
I once took part in the Opening Ceremony as a public actress. Ricky Martin came that year and I saw his live performance.
It is not advisable to use the crowded public buses when travelling with children. The buses will be especially crowded during peak hours, such as during the morning rush to work, evening rush to get home, and during lunch time. It is not that bad during off peak hours. When there's a lot of people, the locals will not hesitate to push one another and squeeze to be the first to get on the buses. Be prepared to be able to stand firm (a bit difficult sometimes) and squeeze up the buses. If you are in front of the crowd, the force will push you up the buses. No such things as manners like in the western world when boarding buses.
Boarding the buses at bus stations is in a more orderly manner. In that case, everyone will have to queue up. There are also many who cut queue. Many locals seems to be satisfied to cut queue even by a couple of people. Many occasions from my experience is that when I reach the end of the queue first, the person behind me will certainly cut in front of me. Perhaps I did not stand very close to the person in front of me, which I am not used to and prefer not to. I prefer to have some breathing space. :-) Whenever there's opportunity to cut queue, many will not hesitate.
I see many crossing the busy road wherever they like. Even at zebra crossing, the pedestrians will have to give priority to the vehicles. No drivers will stop for pedestrians at zebra crossing. Just cross halfway when one lane is clear, then proceed crossing the next lane when the road is clear. Standing in between (in front and at the back of you) fast moving vehicles is quite a terrifying experience, and the practice is normal here. Just remember never proceed when the driver sound the horn. The horn usually means "I am coming and am not letting you to cross first".
I will usually cross the busy roads with other pedestrians. I find the most difficult road crossing condition is near the train station, where there are so many vehicles plus the tram. It may also be the most difficult driving condition.
When crossing at traffic lights, be careful too. For more information, read my tip under "warning".
The tap water cannot be consumed. I do not know if it is safe after it is being boiled. By the way, I had water from the tap after boiling for a month and nothing happen to me.
It is normal to have a mineral water dispenser in the house. When I went visiting friends, they have mineral water dispenser. The apartment that I stayed in have water dispenser too.
If you are going to stay there for some time, you can just find out the number to order the big bottles of water. You have two choices: mineral water, or distilled water. Mineral water is more expensive and expire faster.
I'm not sure if this really qualifies as a "local custom tip" but I don't know where else to put it...
In Dalian, there is always something being built or being torn down. The cool thing is when the construction team finishes as floor on a new building there is a rope of fire crackers that are set off from the current floor to the ground. Very loud and painful to the ears, but very interesting at the same time. I ended up with red fire cracker paper all over my hair on more than one occasion.
The Dalian International Fashion Festival has made the city well known throughout the world.The national young designers' contest, the fashion show featuring Chinese and foreign models, and the large-scale cultural square party have all proved a great commercial success, promoting Dalian to the world and letting friends from overseas feel the warmth of the local people.
I went to a park called "er-tong gong yuan" - translated to be children's garden.
It was in the mid afternoon and gambling tables were being set-up. Perhaps that how they kill their time by gambling in the park. You can join in if you like, just select which table you want to join. Different tables have different games and rules.
Generally in the north of China, the main food (zhu3 shi2) is the dumpling. The other dishes are usually served and the main food will be served last after you have finish the vegetables or meat, etc.
There are several types of dumplings.
Steamed buns (man2 tou2) without filling is one of them. I love steamed buns. There are many types, shapes of steam buns as well, and my favourites among them is the "hua1 juan3" (literally translated as flower swirl).
Another type of dumpling is the "jiao3 zi". These are thin, flat pieces of flour wrapped with meat or vegetable fillings, and then steamed, pan fried or deep fried. There will be some vinegar or soy sauce to dip in. It is a bit too much meat for my liking. These are certainly worth a try and very interesting with the different types of fillings.
This is the biggest culture shock for most expats, locals spit on the street all the time. This includes the best dressed women. Not all people do this but enough to gross you out, it did improve during the SARS situation so hope it continues.
Small children are seen urinating in public, in tree wells or against buildings and it seems acceptable
I went to a park and this is very common. I was very surprised too.. So I will not walk on the grass patch. Cannot imagine the stench on a hot and humid day.
I saw this sign when I was walking around Dalian. Basically, the top one means "Controlling the population, building a better home".
This is an interesting picture. This scene can be found every where in Dalian. Why the club team of Dalian gets champion often? It is the answer!