So, I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a rockstar. I know, I know… you’re all probably say, “But Ryan… you were well on your way, why? WHY?”

Well, I’ve given it a lot of thought, and living in Jinzhou has given me some insight into the celebrity life. The comparison of being a foreigner in Jinzhou and being a rockstar, may at first seem a little strange, but bear with me.

1) You get stared at wherever you go
2) Everyone wants to be your superficial friend
3) Girls like you, despite how you look and act
4) Everyone thinks you’re loaded, even if you’re not
5) You eat out every night and take private taxis (ok it’s no limo) everywhere
6) No one will tell you you’re wrong
7) You can virtually get away with anything
8) People will ‘like’ you even if you don’t develope any sort of hygenic routine
9) You never know if people are your friends or just around you for the novelty/money

I can really see how foreigners from places where they never really fit in would come to China and really like it. It’s a country that prizes geekiness and overweight is considered ‘strong’. Unfortunately this does lend itself to a collection of right weirdos here. However, I’ve been lucky to have met some of the exceptions.

Tuesday Emma and I caught a taxi into Dalian and I got my DVD shopping done at Victory Square. In the process I lost Emma, but eventually located her – now accompanied by two rather attractive British girls. The girls, Natalie and Liz, are friends from London whom Emma had met during her training. Aparently she had run into them in the KFC washroom (as ya do).

As we were chatting, and waiting for Alan and Vanessa I see Lorna walk by… I mean, really, beleive it or not, there ARE 5.6 MILLION people in this city. Shortly after, Alan and Vanessa arrived, Lorna, Liz and Natalie left, and we headed to Donghai Park.

The park is a hilly coastal area at the south-eastern edge of the city. We were a bit surprised by the 10 RMB pricetag, but I think it was worth it. The whole place is just littered with these huge, completely random statues of marine life. We had heard from Lorna that somewhere in the park was a “MAGIC SLOPE” – somewhat akin to Moncton, NB’s Magnetic Hill.

[1] The rather tall Alan lending perspective. [2] I dunno, flying fish?

[1] Alan drivin’ his woman around on his ultra-hip ride. [2] These two Adam and Eve Buddha statues are hilarious, mainly because Adam’s unit is well shined from people constantly rubbing it – hense the stupid-ass grin on his face.

The way Lorna had touted it, we were expecting about a 45-degree grade where the mystical powers of the mountain could pull things like busses, semis and the likes up at high speeds… However after hiking all the way up the mountain we came to a small, semi-flat bit of road with a sign that declared that this was indeed the spot. As we tried to figure out the “magic” to the slope, some cars came up and performed for us. We weren’t entirely sure what was happening until the cars, ever so slowly, began to roll down the slop. The grins from the passengers led me to believe that perhaps you need to be in a car to “feel the magic”, as from where we were standing, they were definitely rolling DOWN a slope… not UP.

More strange sculptures… and I am reasonably certain that those trees in the distance are actually fake.

We soothed our disappointment with the killer view of the sea, and returned to the city to meet Emma’s other friend from training, Justin from Newfoundland. The five of us headed to my (and now Alan and Vanessa’s) favorite Japanese noodle bar for some dinner. After dinner Alan and Vanessa had to rush off to their Kung Fu lesson, so Emma, Justin and I grabbed a few drinks to kill time before meeting Natalie and Liz at a club called DNA.

Some snaps of Emma, Justin and I at a little pizza place by the Shangrila Hotel.

At DNA we met Liz and Natalie, and all got to know each other a bit better. Turns out they’re (or at least Natalie) from Wimbleton and were quite surprised when I told them I had family in Morden (only like two stops down the line). Natalie is actually quite famous, having played a “clapper” in the recently made movie Wimbleton. Her scenes, mostly co-acted with rubber dummies, really tested her craft, requiring her to both clap and follow the ball. Tragically it would seem that her parts were cut from the film, or so her friend said, as she’s never actually watched to see for herself.

When DNA got a bit boring and loud, Justin suggested we meet some of his friends up at a bar called The Box. A 32 RMB cab ride later (geezus, it didn’t cost Emma and I that to get into Dalian) we were in a quite cool bar and I was listening to Big Sugar, drinking Canadian club and chatting about the subtleties of Crown Royal with three other Canucks. Crazy.

I also may have managed to convince Natalie and Liz to come visit Jinzhou. What to do with them if they actually come is another story… the charm of Jinzhou is tough to really display to someone.

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