Digging out of my chinese pics, I sorted out pictures shot in a dying open-air military museum, with plenty of remnants of soviet style memorabilia . I was looking at the sea and city of Qingdao from the lighthouse grounds when , walking on the dyke back to the mainland, I noticed this dicreet museum on the side, along the harbour piers .
As chinese cities are being swiftly renovated , this place could be one of the next casualties of the local haste for revamping the city landscape and infrastructures .
This grey rusting plane has a "Casablanca" touch . Except that it never saw Humphrey Bogart . This Ilyouchine-14 military transport plane was one of four planes sent to Mao by leaders of the Soviet Union as a gift for Mao's 65th birthday . Retired from active duty only in 1991 .
This museum lies in the outskirts of the town, with harbour facilities and a few industries not yet moved away nearby . Views like this one are stunning . I love this sort of worn-out industrial landscape . It has some great hidden beauty I'm not sure people are fully aware of : A water tank , a lone chimney, the back of a giant board, a (not-water) tank ... And a few cypresses that punctuate the scene .
As families stroll among the dozens of aircraft, missiles, floating mines and other repainted ordnance, I wonder at the colour alliances of roses with the faded-out colours of the diverse chinese and soviet military products .This place has an uncertain future . Even if the chinese authorities like to play the patriotic tunes of the maoist era, they are probably aware of the potentially counter-productive effects of this sort of worn-out open air museum . Especially now , in a time where it seems so easy to build new and shiny buildings . Plus , this prime location, facing the Qingdao lighthouse and the sea, must have caused some head-scratching among the hotel and property developers .