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Published: March 26th 2011
These days, it only takes 120 mins to get from our apartment building to a hotel in Tianjin. Only 30 mins of that is spent on the intercity train - 71%!o(MISSING)f the time is used up from getting to our house to the 'local' train station. Anyway, all in all, a great excuse for a weekend away!
Tianjin presented us with freezing cold weather and a strange mix of China, Europe and antiques. And a Mario castle.
After asking random colleagues and friends, we had a Tianjin to-do list. 1. Goubuli baozi
This brand is famous in Tianjin. They make baozi and beer. Unfortunately, the baozi were the most expensive we've ever eaten, and frankly, were a disappointment. (1.3 ducks for 1 small serve: yikes!). We're not quite sure what all the fuss was about. And since we got back, we found out that Goubuli exists in Beijing too, so we can get ripped off for crappy food here. Hazaar! 2. Snack street
Not so much a street, but a market of traditional snacks. Mahua galore (twisted 'bread' sticks) and heaps of weird and wonderful lollies and nougat-kinda snacks. Our favourite was the weird
rice snacks made with a farting-machine! And no, we don't mean that they're cooked in a Dutch oven. The rice is steamed with a high pressure thingy underneath. And when the rice is taken off, the high pressure makes a wonderful, resonant, flatulent sound. Next time you need to let one rip, consider taking a trip to Tianjin to cover your tracks, instead of just coughing. 3. Xiangshen
So, we ah-hem, failed at this one. Tianjin is famous for this crosstalk performance called 'xiang shen'. We were told to drop by earlier and buy tickets. Thankfully we did. And found out the show went on for 2.5 hours. 2.5 hours of 2 guys talking to each other. Yup. We decided we had better things to do with our time. 4. Italy Town
Italy town was deserted. There's a whole block of specially-built 'europoean-style' houses. But they're only half-full. A spattering of German, Italian and French restaurants, separated by cobbled streets and Christmas lights. We went for the only restaurant that had people in it and had German sausages, mashed potato and sauerkraut... yum! Litre beers too. Noice. 5. Antiques
Michelle's hunt for photos for
Tianjin = christmas lights + european architecture + chinese shopping malls
her old-fashioned Chinese photo collection led us through some amazing stalls of antiques. Bronze statues, beautiful ceramics, old comic books, quirky clocks and unique musical instruments were there for all to see. And the little houses you can buy for your pet fighter cricket were cool too. 6. Gulou aka. "The place foreigners like"
So, we were put in a box for this one. (Like Howard Moon. And yes, we contacted the police about it). It was nice, but pretty similar to touristy parts of Beijing, and, err, touristy parts of everywhere. We found some awesome retro drinking classes with pingpong bats and pandas. Very cool. So cool in fact, that we're not allowed to drink out of them, and instead enjoy their aesthetic sitting on a shelf in our lounge room. (Apologies, Zac just got onto the computer. Bad husband.)
Back to Gulou, anyway, we got totally sucked in by a ring-toss game. This lovely little lady had a range of ceramics spread out on the ground. ALL you had to do was get one of the 40 rings on one of the tacky knick-knacks and we'd win it! 40 rings later... nothing. A surprisingly difficult
game!! The wind didn't help. Well, at least that's our story and we're sticking to it.
This year we're hoping to weekend trip away more often. We know people with cars, the trains are plentiful, and quite frankly, there's gotta be more to life than sitting round drinking everything off our bar. Well, maybe.
'Til next time...
Sof, Zac, Da Ge, Di Di
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