I had to go to Tianjin for a 3-day business trip but decided to extend it by a day since it coincided with the weekend. After arriving there, I kinda wished I had extended by two days instead of just one. Tianjin is a small city as far as I can see, but it is extremely comfortable.
I would really love to just sit by the riverside and let the tide of time wash over me.
Or having drinks (non alcoholic for me :)) with friends at Italy Street with the live band playing at night.
Tianjin, being at close proximity to Beijing, has often been dubbed the capital’s backyard / garden. I wonder if this has got to do with why there is a stronger European feel to Tianjin (other than the official-looking buildings which must be former offices of European companies or governments), than say, Shanghai which was divided between many European nations during the Concession days. With Tianjin’s mild climate and comfortable pace of life, it wouldn’t surprise me if officials working in Beijing would choose to have vacation homes in Tianjin.
Of course, all of the above fun things that I did in Tianjin were thanks to my lovely host, Yanbin. Instead of checking into a boring hotel, or even a hostel where I wouldn’t really get to know anyone in one short day, I chose to couchsurf and Yanbin, thankfully, accepted my request.
For dinner, she brought me to an amazing restaurant with a beautiful garden and even a ‘pipa’ musician playing in the garden’s pavillion!
Being the dumbass that I am, I forgot to bring my camera out the next day and had to rely on my iPod Touch for pictures. Sigh …
After breakfast, Yanbin brought me to Wu Da Dao (五大道). Look what we found!
For those who refuse to indulge in senseless fairytale fantasy, they can do this, which I think is really really fun!
We also came across this interesting restaurant which wasn’t open for business but kept its gate open so people could go in for pictures.
Another interesting discovery in Tianjin is the traffic lights. Not only is it huge, the ‘countdown light’ is also one of a kind. Instead of numbers, it uses a full screen of green lights, like a glass filled up with green liquid, gradually reducing as though emptying out the green for the red.
Family or not, I still had to leave this street and head back to Shanghai but no regrets. Every journey is a beautiful one.