Tian Jin Trip (July 30th, 2011 by Emma)

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Today we took the bus to Tianjin. Tianjin is another huge city in China about two hours drive from our hotel in Beijing. On our tour bus there is a microphone for the tour guide but Gong, one of our chaperones, really wanted us to use it for Karaoke. By the end of the ride he had only managed to get Chloe to sing the new Chinese song that she learned.
When we got to Tianjin we picked up a second tour guide and drove to the Tianjin culture street. At last we had free time and Mady and I went off to practice our new bargaining skills and explore the street market. After an hour and a half my backpack was lumpy and heavy and we were both proud of our purchases.
       By lunch we were all hot and hungry but our restaurant was a bit questionable. The tour guide said it was a restaurant acclaimed for its seafood but there was enough trash on the floor and old food on the silverware to make us wary especially because the tour guides weren’t even sitting down to eat. I think we were all happy to here that our next stop was the Tianjin snack market. This indoor market had all types of Chinese snack food including some sort of sweet pastry with a filling that tasted of raisins and a delicious pineapple juice drink.
       After the snack market we went to the river that runs through the center on Tianjin and hopped on a tourist boat to see the huge sky scrapers. We saw a lot of beautiful buildings including one that was shaped like a square with the center cut out and one that is going to be the tallest building in Asia once it is finished. But we also saw a lot of men swimming in the river, some of them even got in the way of the boats! After the boat ride it was time to head back to Beijing. This time Gong asked us to tell him a joke but since his English was not fantastic he just ended up not understanding the pun and we had to ask Beining how to say things like ‘skeleton’ and ‘guts’ ending up in more confusion and a lot of laughing at the situation but not at the joke.
       After we got back to our hotel we assumed the challenges of the day would be done, but we still had to order food from a menu completely in Chinese. In the end Janet stepped in and ordered food for us that luckily was quite delicious. For dessert Gong and his friend, a temporary chaperone I think, went out and got us watermelon, papaya and apples. Before bed, my roommate (Avril), Eden (another Chinese student), and I are watching a terribly cheesy Kungfu movie and finishing the fruit.