My Focus on Dalian

Just me on Tianjin Jie near midnight. The locals don't stay out too late during the cold months...or the warm months.

Just me on Tianjin Jie near midnight. The locals don’t stay out too late during the cold months…or the warm months.

During our 18 month stay in Dalian we were lucky to have met a fantastic group of friends on just our second weekend in town. We were in a super smoky loud bar that one of Blondie’s coworkers took us to called Acapella (this was before the local police nixed the ex-pat music scene, the bastards). The bands playing consisted of  Chinese kids, teachers, IT people, and a number of others who, like us, ended up in that far-flung corner of China, and for the most part, the people and the music were great. It was comforting for us to see so early on that there was a community of like-minded folks, both Chinese and other, that we could hang out with on the weekends.

Renmin Lu - our house was about six blocks up on the left.

Renmin Lu – our house was about six blocks up on the left.

That night I met the editor of Focus on Dalian Magazine (FOD), Dan Jones, and we hit it off pretty well due to our mutual love of photography, writing, and zines (which is funny because neither of us has ever actually finished a zine). Fast forward a few months, the travel writer for FOD was leaving so Dan took a gamble by asking me to fill in – we were travelling to interesting locales almost monthly and the photos were pretty good so it was a good call on his part and a big break on mine.  During my short time with FOD I wrote small features on Seattle, Christmas in Prague, Bangalore, Tokyo, Boston, Cambodia, and filled in by writing one of the local hiking articles that we published in every edition (Click the highlighted bits to see the online issues).  Besides writing for the magazine I was able to attend their sponsored events, participate in a burger contest, go for hikes, occasionally acted as an editor, and managed to get a picture of my smug mug in nearly every issue – it was just the best f__king experience for me and I want to let Dan and the people at FOD know that I appreciate everything they did, thanks guys.

Dalian is a refinery town. This was shot from our bedroom window on a rare clear-air night.

Dalian is a refinery town. This was shot from our bedroom window on a rare clear-air night.

The biggest honor for me though was to be chosen as the featured photographer for issue #52.  In each issue a local photo junkie would be asked to show some of their work as well as share a few words on their experience and why they do what they do. If given the choice I would do all of my work at night, so for the Feature I spent a number of late evenings out in the cold showing what a city of seven million inhabitants looks like when no one is around. I also sprinkled in a few of my other Dalian favorites to show that I can work in the daytime – those are the pictures you are seeing in this post plus a few more that didn’t make the cut. Have a look.

A little steamed up snack bar on Tianjin Jie.

A little steamed up snack bar on Tianjin Jie.

Spring Festival remnants.

Spring Festival remnants.

Deserted Metro Hallway. The subway is a new addition to Dalian. No different than what we use here in Boston except that to gain entry all bags and people have to go through a x-ray/metal detector.

Deserted Metro Hallway. The subway is a new addition to Dalian. No different from what we use here in Boston except that to gain entry all bags and people have to go through a x-ray/metal detector.

Just an empty bar.

Just some empty bars.

Dalian after sunset seen from Xida Mountain. That was one hell of a dark hike down

Dalian after sunset seen from Xida Mountain. That was one hell of a dark hike down

Another view from Xida Mountain. I can see my building from here.

Another view from Xida Mountain. I can see my building from here…almost.

Xida mountain view. I promise it's the last one.

Xida mountain view. I promise it’s the last one.

Sunrise cranes as viewed from our apartment on the 19th floor.

Sunrise cranes as viewed from our apartment on the 19th floor.

Another view from our living room on a good clear evening.

Another view from our living room on a good clear evening. This is actually a cell-phone pic.

The Dalian International Convention Center. In my opinion it is a very sexy building.

The Dalian International Convention Center. In my opinion it is a very sexy building.

It's just a bike but I like it.

It’s just a bike but I like it.

Apartment living.

Apartment living.

Living in China was a great experience for both Blondie and I. We got to travel all over Asia and see some awesome shit – both the amazing  and unfortunate kinds. However, the best part was getting to live and work with great people who had a solid enthusiasm for life, iron-clad livers, and the ability to see that the world doesn’t start and stop at their home country’s border – truly world-class citizens. Thank you Dan, Jess and Alvin, Miles and Becky, and all of the others that made our stay great. Best of luck to you all. (p.s. – Both Dan and Jess have very entertaining Instagram accounts – click their names and give ’em a follow)

Miles, Andy, Alvin, Becky, Me, Blondie, Dan, and Jess. Photo courtesy of Dan Jones.

Miles, Andy, Alvin, Becky, Me, Blondie, Dan, and Jess. Photo courtesy of Dan Jones.

Check back again soon for features on Cambodia and Tokyo as well as on some other stuff I hope to come up with between now and then. Also, you can always see whats going with Afield by following me on Instagram and Tumblr where I usually post something daily . Be good to one another, travel always, and take lots of pictures.

 

© Peter Molgaard and Afield Book, 2012-2016. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of photographs and original content without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that permission is granted and that full and clear credit is given to Peter Molgaard and Afield Book with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. If you would like to use any of the imagery displayed you may send your requests to molgaardpmo@gmail.com

 

 

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