As explained in my last post about Tianjin school, we spent mornings in culture classes at the school, and spent the afternoons exploring the city. Today, Tianjin has over 15 million people, is the fourth largest city in China, and the sixth largest in the world. It was founded in the 1400’s, and became a large port city as it sits along the Hai River. Due to its port, Tianjin received a lot of outside cultural influences, not always peaceful, which are reflected in its architecture. These influences include French, British, German, Russian, American, Italian, Austro-Hungarian, and Japanese, and made for striking differences to the Chinese architecture. The outside influences also brought in different religions, and churches, mosques, and temples from Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism all exist in the city.
Like London, Tianjin has a giant ferris wheel known as the Tianjin Eye. We visited it as one of our group afternoon outings. It provided great views of the city. We also visited Food Street (explained in my China food post) and Culture Street where I bought the painting down below. It was absolutely stunning to watch as the guy painted it in about three minutes, with such simple swipes of my hand. We also visited an ancient, historical house that is now a museum. Outside, there is a huge gold statue of a baby holding a fish. The colors gold and red are both good luck, and so are the symbols of a baby and a fish as they stand for prosperity of having children, and having enough food.
After we spent the day there I explained to the family where we went, pointing at the brochure I had. The parents didn’t have great English and something was mistranslated. One of my friends was staying with the twin’s best friend, and we planned it that Friday when we had free time with our families to all do something together. They ended up bringing us back to the statue and museum, and we nodded along and pretended like we hadn’t been there before. During my last weekend, my family showed me around the city. We went to an art museum, dumpling house, and went to see a movie. The only movie being shown in English was Alice in Wonderland, but it was sold out. So we saw the only other option, which was a movie with English subtitles. I don’t remember what the movie was except that it was intense and insane, and my friend hysterically laughed when he heard what movie we saw.