Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shenyang in Two Days

If my tale of two days in Shenyang reads like an abridged version of the four pages in Lonely Planet-China, it is because the four pages of that guidebook were the basis for our trip. I could write so much about all of my pictures, which are in an album on Facebook, but I would bore you stiff.

Perhaps a bit more Oz-looking than imperial?
"What are all of these Chinese people doing on Sunday
wandering around my palace?" Li Zhe
Andy and I bought hard-seat train tickets on Saturday and left on Sunday with help from the indefatigable Catherine of Perfect English's Operations Department. Andy reserved a room at the Railway Hotel, which is by the Shenyang North Railway Station. We, unfortunately, detrained (if deplaned is a word, why isn't detrained?) at Shenyang South Railway Station. This gave us the opportunity on Sunday morning to take a cab ride across the city in a northeasterly direction. We checked in early and left our bags (mine with a computer and travel Scrabble game, as well as Dickens' Great Expectations) in the hotel.

Back in the outdoor air (fresh would be a mis-characterization) and 90-degree weather, we hailed a cab and went immediately to the area of the Imperial City. We wandered around there for a couple hours and each had our pictures taken (yes, very touristy) as Qing Dynasty Emperors.

After the Imperial Palace tour, we went to lunch and had a good meal. Then we hailed another cab and were taken to the museum commemorating the Japanese invasion of September 18, 1931. There is nothing subtle about this museum. In its contents are some of the most treacherous looking torture devices that I have ever seen, including a round cage with spikes on the inside into which a person could be lowered and then the cage tipped over and rolled around so as to make the spikes chew the flesh of the victim.

The only thing more depressing than the exhibit's contents, including a macabre life-size diorama of the place where they experimented on human beings, replete with a bleeding wound, was the signage. I have multiple pictures of signs on Facebook that demonstrate the animosity that still exists. See signage.

I was smiling before I went in and weary when I left. "Man's humanity to man" is oft overwhelming.

The entry to the museum is beautiful. It gets progressively darker--literally and proverbially--as you proceed down the ramp into the bowels of this monument.
Chinese beheaded by Japanese.

The next thing we did was the best part of the trip. I will go back, if at all possible. We went to the World Expo Gardens, which lie a fair distance outside of the city. I encourage you to see my pictures on Facebook. The next day we went to the provincial museum and Beiling Park which is home to the North Tomb. This is also worth another visit. Well, gotta run.

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