Buying stuff in a college town.

Today is a trip to Tianjin, shopping, adding characters to the vocabulary (I add one per day - this going to take a few years... there are up to 56,000, depending how you count.), and an 'interesting' dinner.

Tracy is not feeling well, so the trip to Tianjin is just me, Alex, and Humphrey.

It's All Relative

The morning started with a cab ride to the train station. We get there and it's the size of the Keleti station in Budapest, i.e. huge. I start taking pictures and Humphrey explains that this is the small station... you'd think I'd learn.

The train was very plush - at least on the way; double-decked cars with nice seats and facilities. The video panels explained where to get hot water for tea, where the facilities are, etc... quite nice. Despite that, we decided to get first class tickets for the ride home - they were $1.25 more each; so why not?

Tianjin is the home of Humphrey and the Tianjin University where he is a researcher. We made the trip to experience the trains, see Humphrey's current home city, the TEDA, and to shop as this is a place that is a little less travelled by tourists so the prices are a little less, um, inflated.

Humphrey also took us to the nearby TEDA (technical and economic development area.) It's a planned city, built on a grid of streets, all buried cables, wide streets, and clean clean clean. Alex said it reminded him of Denver... if Denver were new, by the sea, and had not mountains, yes. Actually, the layout is similar to Western US cities, at least the streets.

The public library in the TEDA is huge (but of course) and very nice. We spent a little time wandering there.

After the TEDA we headed to the shops with our jade expert... we had a couple of gifts in mind so I won't go into details. This shopping was indeed more subdued, but nothing happened fast... all in all, very nice. Oh, an I got to see the worst-looking, most poorly balanced, and cheapest katana ever... tempting to bring home just for the kitsch value.

It's called the Street of Ancient Chinese Culture... it's not Chinese, but I should have taken a picture of the katana for the aikido folks in Portland :-(. No, I am sorry.

I FINALLY got a picture of children, sort of. They don't seem to live here... hmmm.

This was on the return to the train station, where Humphrey bought pastries for Mr. Kent and Mrs. Kent.

We've yet to try them... perhaps we'll share them at home.

See we waited in the fumes of turpentine for the train, shopping the station and generally killing time. Finally, we boarded - um, what happened to the modern cars? Why is first class the same as second? Whatever, it was nice to be on the way home.

After returning, I went to dinner with Tracy in the Rumours (sic) bar in the hotel... she had a passable club sandwich. Alex and I had learned the night before that the chef is german - so there you go. Best part, we were entertained by the Filipino band called "Oriental Cadence". Ask me for the video(s). YouTube will host them at some point... I think they'll be quite popular.

Posted: Mon - January 8, 2007 at 08:58 PM