Tianjin, China

We had a two day stay at Xingang, the port of Tianjin which is the port from which you go to Beijing, a drive of several hours away.  Most people went on lengthy tours to Beijing and the Great Wall.  I have been to them four times and so opted for local tours nearer the port, which is one of the biggest in the world.  In should say that while the port is the port of Tianjin and stretches all along the bay toward Tianjin, the cruise ship terminal is about a two and a half hour drive from that city.  Much of the port near the cruise ship terminal is on reclaimed land.  The terminal itself is new and is in the middle of nothing.  The closest town to the port is Tanggu which is a rather new town and is a twenty five minute drive from the terminal. It is quite a large town but there is not much to occupy one except a visit to a local mall with a Chinese version of Tesco.   I did find some shoes suitable for Tai Chi so counted the visit a success.  The food section of the store was typically Chinese – with live turtles and frogs to be found in the seafood section.  That evening, the ship put on a barbecue in the pool area for Canadian Thanksgiving, complete with a roasted turkey.  On the second day I did a tour to Tianjin.  The first stop was a beautiful new museum (see picture) with some beautiful Xing and Ming porcelains and scrolls as well as a large section devoted to the history of Tianjin which was very well presented.  From there we went to a Confucian Temple (photo) and a street called Culture Street both of which are the remnants of the old town of Tianjin situated in the old foreign concession area.  After lunch we visited an old Chinese mansion in the suburbs, which had lovely gardens (photo).   Tianjin is huge.  It is the third largest city in China with a population of 15 Million.  The roads are massive with many auto routes under construction, most leading from the port area and meant to facilitate trade.  However, 5 million people in the city still rely on bicycles for transportation.  Virtually the entire 2 and a half hour drive to the port is through mixed industrial/residential areas.  Most people live in high rise buildings but have access to parks where they can relax.  I saw a game of hockey on roller skates in the forecourt of the museum (photo).  There are many parks along the rivers and canals which are beautifully maintained as in the last photo.  The next stop is Shanghai and I have a ticket to the World Expo.

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