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Let me begin by aping the beginning of someone else's blog post: I went to Tianjin knowing virtually nothing about Tianjin. When I say "virtually nothing" I mean I went there knowing that Tianjin was a) a Chinese city, and b) the place to which I was going. I found out two months later (in America) that Tianjin is the 6th-largest city in China, population-wise (5th in urban land area). It is, like Beijing, governed as its own municipality. It has (as alluded to in the title of this blog post) two city cores (as opposed to Beijing's one, around which the ring roads concentricize): the older city and what wikipedia tells me is "the Binhai New Area." I stayed in Tianjin for one night, and I have no idea around which core my stay was focused.
THINGS I DID/SAW/EXPERIENCED IN TIANJIN
1. I ate their famous baozi, a dish similar to jiaozi (see my previous post entitled "Consider the Jiaozi") but different in very key ways, namely the packaging. The casing for jiaozi is thin and salty, whereas the baozi has a noticeably heavy, doughy wrapper in which is contained various meats, vegetables, etc.
2. I rode a ferris wheel (see: image below), the Tianjin Eye.
3. I went to Little Italy (a note on the name: I can't remember what they called it. Italian Town, Italy Town, Italian Part-of-town—something). Here we saw some European architecture, ate some gelato, waited several hours to go to the train station for our later-than-expected departure, and note 4....
4. I rode around in a motorized rickshaw for half-an-hour minimum. Bored in the Italian Town, a few friends and I paid a driver to squire us around and show us the sights. He brought us to a couple of old-looking buildings, one of the rivers, a bigger, more-financial-business-based-looking building, and to a series of statues in various states of coitus.
5. I, with 10ish classmates, visited Guwenhua Jie (Ancient Culture Street—a huge market-type area), whereat I bartered for various goods (re: chopsticks, calligraphy supplies) and a certain aforementioned travel companion purchased some old-school Chinese money from before Mao's time, during Mao's time, and not-long-after Mao's time.
THINGS IN TIANJIN I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT UNTIL AFTER LEAVING TIANJIN (AND ALL OF CHINA, REALLY) BUT SHOULD HAVE PROBABLY VISITED WHILE IN TIANJIN
1. The current world's fastest supercomputer.
2. The other core of this dual-core city (core unknown).
3. The Boxer Rebellion Museum (a rebellion played up in US HS textbooks but one that doesn't seem to get as much airplay over in China) and the Tianjin Museum.
4. Temple of Great Compassion Zen (a Buddhist Temple).
5. Tianjin Water Park.
6. The Water Drop, or, Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium.
7. Countless other things probably well-known to locals but not easily (note: easily being the key word) researchable online within the limits of my short attention span.
THINGS I FELT IN TIANJIN AND SHOULD POSSIBLY ADD HERE, AS ADDENDA, IN THIS RATHER LIST-HEAVY AND INSIGHT-LITE BLOG POST
1. An immense sense of JOY to be surrounded by so many smiling people, strangers, friends, and dear ones alike.
2. A DESIRE to return to said city with more knowledge of both it and the Chinese language.
3. A curious trace of BITTERSWEET SADNESS at the transient nature of our one-night, one-and-a-half-day trip.
[end of missives]