After a few weeks in Dalian, it was time for a weekend trip. Dalian is in a prime location with Qingdao, Beijing and Shenyang all close by. We decided on Shenyang for our first trip. Shenyang is the capital of the Liaoning Province so we figured it would be a big city full of fun things to do. Not quite.
We took the bullet train (高铁) over to Shenyang which was a great decision. The tickets are cheap, the train is clean, and it travels at over 200mph. Arriving in Shenyang the first thing I noticed was the thick polluted air and the overwhelming heat.
What hit me next was the culture shock. I have traveled to a bunch of different places around the world like Singapore, Ho Chi Minh, and Malacca, but all of these places have a sizable population of expats and backpackers. I felt far from home in these places, but in Shenyang I truly felt like I was on the other side of the world. Walking through the crowded subway, it seemed like every person turned to look at our group. Some people took out their phones to take pictures or videos of us. With how everyone was looking at us I figured when we emerged from the subway we would be in the middle of a rural town with dirt trails and livestock, but that definitely was not the case. The subway station opened up into a newly developed street filled with high end clothing stores. We began looking for 沈阳故宫，basically a smaller version of Beijing’s famous “Forbidden City.” To be honest I have seen a ton of temples and this one doesn’t really stand out, but I it was a fun way to spend a day. But even now I am not exactly sure what the history of the massive complex was, due to the lack of English signs as well as my inability to read the Chinese ones.
As we were walking around a man came up to us and introduced himself with a handshake and asked for our WeChat (Chinese equivalent of a phone number) and to take a photo with him. I still have no clue why he wanted my WeChat or why he wanted a photo, but when you are a foreigner in China I guess that’s just how things go.
More blog posts on the way.