YanTai (II) Ferry to DaLian

YT_20070606_230826.jpg: My hotel room in YanTai. This way it looks actually OK, but the bath was very tiny and not exactly clean. I checked out ‘late’ at 09:00 and left with all luggage (I did not want to have the hotel watch my backpack, despite carrying everything is a bit heavy). Here the first Tourist Information info of yesterday proved wrong: The taxi driver got confused when I told him I want to the Railway Station (as indicated by the Tourist Info) for buying a ferry ticket. No, I did not want to be a train ticket, but a ferry ticket! Good that I told him…he brought me then to the right place where I was confronted with 2 news:

1. The next ship leaves at 12:20, as I very originally hoped, but contrary to what Tourist Information and Tourist Map say.

2. There are about 10 different ticket prices for the very same ship…and I couldn’t figure out the differences in classes. Some were apparently not available any longer and from the available choices I picked a lower mid-range at 151 RMB.

Now, leaving at 12:20 had 2 consequences: A) I did not need to spent an entire day carrying my backpack in YanTai, good! B) I would need to convince the hotel to give me the room today already, despite my yesterday’s rebooking to tomorrow…I decided I clarify that on the spot and don’t call again.

YT_20070607_101412.jpg: After a coffee and a sandwhich at UBC (which was right across the street from the ferry terminal, where I was the only unexpected guest while cleaning was in progress) I headed back by bus to the sea side strip close to my hotel. While having seen that already it was the only place I could think of where I could kill another hour. And I found this row of old but renovated houses that I had missed before. Apparently also left-overs from the English era, very well put back into shape but apparently not yet fully finalized. Some few constructions were ongoing, no real tourist hotspot yet.

YT_20070607_101724.jpg: But it promises to become a nice museum strip.

YT_20070607_102013.jpg: Some houses had already explanations tagged to them, for example a hair net export company (eh…a bit weird, isn’t it?). This one I picked for it saying: “It was built in 1917 for the purpose of … sacrifice … of Cantonese merchants in YanTai.”

YT_20070607_114513.jpg: Boarding the ferry. I noticed only later, but here you can actually see it: There is no gangway surrounding the ship. No walk way for the passengers. Instead, cabin walls and windows end at the very outside wall of the ship. But, there are some people standing on a platform on top looking down. Also, a local talking to me while waiting said he would just sit on deck, not spending the money for a “numbered” ticket like I had. So there must be a way to get into the fresh air…

YT_20070607_114527.jpg: The ferry also loaded trucks.

YT_20070607_124405.jpg: As you see…I found the way out only an hour later after asking around. Was in fact on “my” deck, but to the very back while I had more searched in front. And not signposted. In the end you had to go through a just normal safety door to get out. By that time YanTai was aleady fading into the mist.

YT_20070607_124618.jpg: The deck was merely the backward helicopter deck. We weren’t allowed on the upper deck. And no seats or any other place for protection against wind or sun provided. It was in fact very windy, thus, a bit chilly. The outlets of the chimney provided close-by standing people with some warmth 😉

YT_20070607_125025.jpg: A passenger approached me asking for taking a picture of him. Surprising…there were enough Chinese standing around. Apparently another attempt to practice English. In return I asked for a photo of myself, too. The chilly wind froze my already normally bad attempt of a smile completely 😉

YT_20070607_133843.jpg: As it was obviously not advisable to stay all 6-7 hours outside I was actually quite happy about my 151 RMB bed in a small window-less 6-person cabin. 2 ladies talked a lot, but with low voices. One young lady was entirely silent and I believe she didn’t leave the cabin except for a visit to the toilet. She was a lot more nervous about this trip than I. One young man on the opposite bed tried talking to me, but my Chinese didn’t go that far. But as far as it went all listened very attentively. The last bed was only late occupied by a person who managed to sleep and snore extremely loudly for a full five hours in one go. I decided for iPod again, which I luckily had recharged overnight. And the book you see lying in front of me was indeed the Chinese Reading book! I tried to recall some of my Chinese knowledge, but more often than not did doze away.

Outside, there was not much to see due to increasing fog. In the cabin there was not much to do either. And the ship’s only other offering was a cantina, occupied by all those people not having numbered beds. 6-7 hours of not doing anything reasonable…lying on the bed even working with the laptop was impossible.

DL_20070607_184411.jpg: The first glimpse of DaLian I got was 50m in front of the quai while slowly moving in.

DL_20070607_184701.jpg: A small wonder that the ferry found it so effortlessly. Yeah….there’s radar…but still, there was less than 50m visibility. That is not easy to navigate a big ship in such a fog.

The trip into the city was a bit of a pain: Getting a taxi no problem, shared with 2 others and the drivers made an easy illegal deal…I don’t care. But the driver couldn’t match my hotel name with the street address I gave him. He insisted it is in the other direction. I put the problem to my pronunciation of the hotel name and insisted on the street where I asked to be dropped off at the beginning. After walking some 10 minutes and not getting beyond house number 56 while searching for 410 I stopped, got out my laptop to double-confirm my believe. Got it confirmed, but also saw the little Chinese helper text provided in the confirmation mail. I stopped another taxi, showed that text to him on the laptop, and he said he could bring me there, but the current street was wrong. He brought me to the other side of the center, basically where the first driver also had pointed to! Arriving at the destination I very much doubted it to be correct. It was an OK place, but not matching with the internet pictures I had in mind. Also, I couldn’t match the Chinese characters with what I had in mind as PinYin… I asked at the reception, was confirmed wrong, and the hotel staff told the driver (who I had paid already, damn) the right place. Apparently this misunderstanding did not happen the first time. Again we went into another direction of the city center, but fairly far out. At least finally arriving correctly (and paying the driver again…no point arguing now over 10 RMB).

It turned out that I had the PinYin street name on the English web site, “Jie Fang Road”, translated into what Lonely Planet named “JieFang Jie” (“Jie” is “road”, similar to “Lu”). But there really was a JieFang Lu in DaLian having entirely different characters. I should have read the Chinese helper text more carefully…

DL_20070607_224221.jpg: The Hotel, JinJiang Inn, is a branch of a budget chain, but to me well in the middle-class range. Tip top clean, bright colors, modern furniture, very helpful staff, even an English-speaking lady, accepting international credit cards, free (wired, though) LAN access, and all that for just 220 RMB. I will ask for their “membership” conditions, which provide 10% discount. This sounds like a cool option in very many cities. Ach ja…the fact that I now was a day too early was certainly no problem at all.

The room surprisingly large, also as clean as a German hospital. All interieur simple, but in modern bright style. Same goes for the bath for which I would not be surprised if the interieur will be the exactly same in the other branches of the chain. I won’t mind…

Although not having done much I felt a bit tired. It was 9pm already. Going back into the city, which was a bit away, didn’t sound like a great option. I walked up and down the street, had a quick meat skewer at a street stall, bought a bottle of beer (Harbin, very tasty!) and returned to the hotel to do some washing. That was more than due…I was surprised how dirty the water was after only having washed the first in fact white T shirt…and then write my daily update.

Today’s Lesson: Also Tourist Information and taxi drivers are not always right, UBC is not prepared for a morning coffee, and pay attention to details!

Categories: AsiaYanTai

Originally Created: 06/07/2007 05:28:51 PM

Last Edited: 06/07/2007

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