Tianjin

Lights Out

We went to a shopping mall to watch this:

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For those of you who have never seen this group of dancers:

After waiting for an hour this is what we got:

Yes, those are glow sticks taped to his suit (it wasn’t even dark!!!).

Mr. T

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China

Tianjin TEDA F.C.

When we arrived in China I made it my personal mission to go to a few Chinese Super League games.

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After much searching on the internet I managed to find a fixture list and information about tickets (40 – 60 RMB, no allocated seats). Tianjin TEDA play their home games at the Olympic Stadium, which was built for the Olympic games and has a capacity of 60,000.

So, a few of us went off to our first game. What were we expecting? In terms of football probably a level similar to the English Championship or League 1 and a crowd of maybe two or three thousand.

What we found was a crowd of about ten thousand with a large group of ‘super fans’ with flags, drums, banners and a wide range of Chinese insults….perfect! At one match there were a few hundred away fans, however Shanghai traveled with about 4!

The football was interesting. There appeared to be a real lack of effort for long periods of time and it was as if tackling was banned. There were a few highlights including two missed penalties and a huge roar from the crowd every time a corner was awarded, which reminded me of playing in tournaments as a youngster where a point was awarded for a corner. Despite a lack of action in the match it was very entertaining watching the supporters shouting, arguing, staring blankly into space and sleeping!

Tianjin are currently 7th in the league at the half way point with their next home game on the 30th July (I wonder if Mrs T would like tickets as an anniversary gift?!).

Fixtures can be found here: Tianjin TEDA FC Fixtures and Results

It is definitely worth a visit and with Ao Cheng only a 5 minute walk away beverages can be consumed before or after the game!

See you at the next match!

Mr. T

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Tianjin

Saturday Market

The first weekend we woke up in our new place we looked out the window to see the street full of hustle and bustle. We of course went to investigate and to our surprise the specialty of the market was, birds! Mostly pigeons, and all the fixins you would need, cages, feed…very interesting. By two or three in the afternoon the street is completely empty.

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I woke up this morning to see it as busy as ever and had to do a quick post. Definitely one of the best parts of our new place is watching the city below, we never tire of it!

It has been a week of adventures and exploring, more posts coming soon!
-Mrs T

1:30 in the afternoon and quiet as anything!

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China, Tianjin

Moving…in Chinese

The last four weeks have been so busy and have absolutely flown by! It’s unbelievable that just two weeks ago we finished our first year teaching at Wellington. It has been a year of adventures, in and out of the classroom, and we have loved our experiences in China.

This is our first summer holiday not traveling home and around the world (sometimes literally). Sarah’s visit got the summer going and we have been non-stop since she has left. On Tuesday we got the keys to our new apartment, moved all our belongings on Wednesday, waited for new furniture to arrive Thursday and spent Friday and Saturday finishing all the unpacking.

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Moving day

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Becoming a home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our decision to move is one that has come from a lot of discussions and contemplation. One of the greatest perks of being an international teacher is that accommodation is provided as a part of the package. Choosing to move away from an apartment that was given to us with no cost attached, as well as no responsibility for managing the utilities is something that not many people would do. Taking this step was a big risk on our part, but we are sure the rewards will out weigh the risks.

We began thinking about moving midway through the year as we realised a career in boarding was not for us. As we lived in the boarding house we knew that at anytime we may be asked to move to make room for boarding students or staff. Additionally as we have begun to explore Tianjin and are finding places we enjoy going to and wanted to be a bit closer to the action.

So we started our search in the heart of the city, Nanjing Lu. An agent (with very limited English) showed us a range of apartments. One Saturday afternoon we saw what was our original ideal place. It was a two bedroom spacious apartment, five minute walk from our favourite restaurants and near a metro station. At the other end of the spectrum we looked at apartments and communities we would never consider living in as they were in very remote areas of Tianjin. It was a long afternoon, we were ready to call it quits but Wang insisted we see one more place and we are so glad we did!

The last apartment was not in the location we had hoped for but it has great potential. It is part of a project that includes a Shang-ri-la hotel, shopping centre and three towers of residences. We have two bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a kitchen with an oven (very rare in China).

It was a bit of a mission to accomplish everything with our limited Chinese language. With the help of friends (Ying, Vicky and Sylvia), the Tianjin Kerry Centre staff, and very patient agent and landlords we have been able to accomplish so much (contracts, payments, internet service, furniture delivery, utility payments). There have been a lot of conversations had via WeChat, which allows both sides to type in our own language then translate, and my SayHi translator has been working over time.

All the hard work is finished (we hope) and now we can focus on making our new house a home!

-Mrs T

(Still working on our VPN and posting from the iPad, more pictures coming soon!)

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China, Tianjin

From Winky to China: Day 9

It is hard to believe it but Sarah’s visit has come to an end. It has been a lovely time and we spent the last day having a lie in, relaxing with another favourite movie (Pitch Perfect) and continuing with the packing.

Our last bit of adventure was finalising our new apartment. We met with our agent and the owners to make our final payment and get our keys. We were lucky enough to have some members of the property management staff there to help us with translation. After a few hours contracts were signed, money was counted and the keys were in our hands. It is still hard to believe we are really moving.

To celebrate we first stopped at Cholito for a jug of sangria in the summer sun and then it was off to Oscar House for dinner. This was our first proper meal there and we enjoyed every bit of it. As always we were greeted with a warm welcome and Tong, the owner, even surprised us with a complimentary bottle of bubbly as a farewell to Sarah. The dinner was fantastic from start to finish, especially the chocolate molten cake.

We had a bit of rest before heading off at 3 am to get to Beijing airport. We really enjoyed being able to share a bit of our life with Sarah and getting to spend some time together. We look forward to our next visitor, who ever it may be!!

-Mrs T

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China, Travels

From Winky to China : Day 8

Another adventurous day! We made it on our train this time and arrived in Shan Hai Guan mid-morning. Our first stop was Ancient Shanhaiguan and we were immediately persuaded to try the 3 person tandem bike, 30 RMB ($4.82/£2.82) for 2 hours. We made it down the main street and back again and were done with that!! It was so funny and really challenging, we returned it after five minutes and kept to our own two feet for the rest of the day.

We had hoped to visit the museum first, but it was closed on Mondays, a bit of a disappointment but there were lots of other things to keep us busy for the day.

We headed out to The Jiumenkou Great Wall, this is the part of the wall that goes over a river. It was a gorgeous day but very, very hot! We took in the views but didn’t do too much climbing. We settled down in the shaded park for our packed lunch and had a lovely conversation with 3 Chinese teenagers. They were working as tour guides and they were keen just to practise their English by chatting with us. I think they would have kept us there talking all day but we had to move along to our next attraction.

The Dragon’s Head is the bit of The Great Wall that extends into the sea, the end, or beginning if you like.It was quite an experience visiting the seaside in China, different but also quite similar to the seaside back home in England and America.  It was lovely to be there seeing and hearing the sea splashing on the rocks. There were ice creams and amusements, I had a go on a giant slingshot and won on my last shot! Something so silly but felt so exciting, we gave the teddy bear to a woman nearby who had been watching. We sat for a bit in the Sea Watching Pavillion and had a wander around the grounds. The gardens were beautiful and lots of history to be seen.

After this we went back to Ancient Shanhaiguan to visit The First Pass Under Heaven, we wandered along the wall and through the Drum Tower area. We had tickets for the 20:53 train and had a go at trying to get on an earlier train but with no luck. So we found a shop for some noodles, interestingly named California Beef Noodle King of the U.S.A., though it had no connection at all with California!! At this point we had about 3 hours to wait for our train and we were completely exhausted and feeling sweaty and sticky; we were done sightseeing for the day. As we wandered around the station we were lucky to stumble upon a KTV and all our problems were solved. An air-conditioned room, cold beers and loads of great songs to entertain us. Some high points were: the video for, ‘Help!’ by the Beatles was of the Tianjin food street, Mr T’s rendition of ‘Words’ by the Bee Gees, the fact that the staff were standing outside the door for the entire duration of our stay, and the look on the attendants face as he came in whilst Mr T sang Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’. We could have stayed for hours but actually had to pull ourselves away to catch our train!

A fab ending to a wonderful day!

-Mrs T

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China, Tianjin

From Winky to China: Day 7

We had a leisurely start to the day as Mr T popped over to school for his weekly football match (6 goals in 3 games by the way). We gave Sarah the Wellington tour and I was reminded what a mess I left my classroom! I’m sure next week I will be ready to get back in and get organised.

Next up was a bit of pampering with pedicures for Sarah and I.

And the main event for the day was visiting Drum Tower to watch a traditional Beijing Opera. It was a bargain for only 40 RMB ($6.44/£3.76). It was my second visit and I found it just as enchanting as the first time. We had no idea what was going on but enjoyed it anyways. The venue itself was quite a surprise as we walked into a stone building to find a massive room with the walls and ceilings covered with intricate woodwork, and the seats were tables surrounded by chairs. A lovely pot of jasmine tea, and robust crowd of older Chinese, which I can only assume are weekly regulars to the show. Both the music and singing are quite different than anything I have experienced but very interesting and some would say a bit hypnotic. It surely won’t be my last visit to the opera.

A quick visit to Joy City to get a few items for a packed lunch for tomorrows Great Wall excursion and off to the St Regis for a buffet dinner. As always we received a warm welcome from the staff and the food was delicious. We ended the meal with a glass of wine out on the terrace enjoying the beautiful blue sky and sunset by the river.

One last stop to collect some dry cleaning and we stopped in our local tea house. We managed to get some of the delicious teas we tried whilst in Beijing for a fraction of the cost. Early to bed today, as it is a 3 am wake up to watch the World Cup final.

-Mrs T

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