View from our window!
Saturday 11th October – 8.30am
Pollution level – 224
Weather – Foggy
Sunday 12th October – 8.30am
Pollution level – 24
Weather – Overcast with showers
A few weeks ago we had to do a double take as we passed one of these posters. A bit of research and we could believe it, Mariah Carey is coming to Tianjin. A few emails and phone calls (with the help of a Chinese speaking colleague) I have managed to sort out more than 20 tickets to the show. For me this is a definite blast from my past, for Mr T however it is simply something different to do in Tianjin. A full report and pictures to come, 12 days and waiting!!
Only an hour flight away from Tianjin, Dalian seemed like the perfect choice for a quick get away! We were not wrong and were lucky enough to have the perfect hosts in some co-workers who were there visiting family.
Day 1 consisted of a 9am flight from the new terminal at Tianjin Airport. Upon arrival to Dalian we first dropped our bags off at our hotel. We stayed at the Aloft hotel, an SPG hotel where we were staying for free courtesy of a few thousand ‘Starpoints’. Despite being a category 1 hotel the hotel was lovely. The room was very spacious and modern with all the facilities you could want from a city centre hotel. From the hotel we went off for a long walk along the coastline and it was gorgeous! It reminded me of a coastal walk along the Cornish coastline and Viv the Oregon coast. The greenery and picturesque coast was definitely something we have missed.
The 10km walk certainly took it out of us so after a bite to eat we were out for the count!
Day 2 was very exciting as we went to Dalian Zoo. We have read a lot of horror stories about Chinese zoos but this proved to be one of the better ones. We met up with some other friends and their children from TJ and spent the day exploring and playing.
After a delightful Japanese meal in the evening we headed back to the hotel to see Europe defeat the US in the Ryder Cup (sorry Viv).
We had a great time in Dalian and is definitely somewhere we will visit again in the future!
TJ to Dalian – Air China – 740RMB return
Flight time: 1 Hour
Tianjin Airport to Central train station via Metro – 30 to 40 minutes
Friday’s are a highlight of my week, not only because it is the start of the weekend but because I get fresh veg and other groceries delivered right to my school.I started ordering from Joseph in June and have been pleasantly pleased with the service and the products. You can see all there is on offer at http://www.jedelivery.com. They have recently joined forces with the St Regis and are taking orders and delivering meats for The Butchers Block as mentioned in our post from February. It is one stop shopping from the comfort of your own home!
Have just watched ‘Chef’ with Jon Favreau and what a treat it was! If you enjoy food shows and eating then this is for you.
Was interesting to see that the movie was produced by Roy Choi, owner of Kogi food trucks on the west coast serving Korean/Mexican fusion! Check out the website Kogi BBQ.
We were lucky enough to sample the food last year in L.A. during a visit to Venice Beach. Below are pictures of a hot dog covered in Kim Chi. TASTE SENSATION!
I guess we are going to have to go back next summer….damn!
This weekend we happened to meet the owner of one of our favourite restaurants, TJ Tex Mex. He said have you tried the burger? We love burgers but it was an obvious ‘no’ as we go to this place for Mexican food, not burgers. He claimed the burgers were outstanding. As we thought about it we couldn’t think of an outstanding burger here in Tianjin so we of course had to try it out. We popped into Joy City after work today and took the plunge. We can confirm it is an amazing burger, a very close rival to the Great Leap burger in Beijing. Good ingredients all around but the meat spoke for itself, it was juicy, well seasoned and cooked perfectly. Hot, crisp and salty fries on the side, it was as if we were sitting in a diner back in the states. 55 rmb for this tasty, treat. Tianjiners – go check it out.
-Mr & Mrs T
This summer has been very different to our last few. For a start, we didn’t return to the UK or US and we only went away for 10 days (hard life). We decided to head for Bali after sitting through numerous sickening stories about sunshine, indulgence and speedos.
After the long journey to DPS airport in Bali via train, metro, Beijing and Kuala Lumpa we arrived and spent the first night at Pelangi Bali Hotel & Spa, in Seminyak Beach.
The next morning we were up at 6am to be collected for our fast boat journey to Gili Trawangan. Again, we had heard about Gili T (I can use that term as I have been!) from a few friends and we were attracted to the thought of a peaceful desert island. After 2 hours in a minibus we arrived at Padong Harbour where we waited for about an hour to board the boat. The boat had a capacity of about 50 people and had the usual boat amenities like sponge cake, a car stereo pumping out love songs and a work experience guy who would take over the wheel whilst the captain was on the phone ordering lunch for his return. The speed of the boat meant that our voyage was a little rough! Luckily our stomachs managed to remain intact, but the small screaming child at the back was more than happy to show us what he had enjoyed for breakfast. An hour and forty minutes later we cruised into the harbour and couldn’t have been happier with our surroundings. The ‘Central’ area, as it is known, was a backpacker’s paradise with bars and shops lining the streets. This however meant that despite it only being mid-day there were already a few drunk, sunburnt people stumbling around.
We had booked this holiday back in May, as we heard that booking early was essential due to the holidays and the size of the island. We had searched all the usual places to find accommodation (booking.com, expedia, tripadvisor, airbnb) and we finally selected what looked like a hidden gem in the north of the island. With 6 cottages around a pool and a few minutes walk to the beach, Eden Cottages was a perfect retreat. A charm of the island is that it is motor-free (no cars, trucks or motorbikes), so to get to our cottage we used a horse and cart, locally called a cidomo. It was great to not be surrounded by cars and motor bikes but apparently the locals get frustrated with the huge deposits made by the horses on most of the roads and paths, as well as the dust they create. We found the ride in quite surreal, the sound of hooves and jingling bells is quite a contrast to the city streets of Tianjin.
The cottage was everything we hoped for, clean, comfortable and quiet. The staff was unobtrusive and helpful when needed. Amenities provided were basic; breakfast included (Mrs T adored the banana pancakes) and drinks for purchase. This encouraged us to get out each day and see what the island had to offer. After a day or two we settled into the routine of breakfast, beach, lunch, pool, siesta, dinner, Jack Bauer and sleep. It is fair to say that this was exactly what we needed.
There is a lot more we could say about Gili T but I will leave it to the pictures to showcase the island. Would I recommend Gili T? Yes, for sure. It caters to all: from quiet eco villas and posh resorts, to hostels above reggae bars and tattoo parlours. If you asked us where to stay we wouldn’t hesitate in pointing you to the north of the island, it is an escape from the high street (though only a 30 minute walk) and offers lovely beaches with stunning sunset views and some phenomenal restaurants (Wilson’s Retreat: we love you and your cheeky chocolate pudding).
Out and about the island:
Gili Cooking School:
Sunset and dinner at Wilson’s Retreat: