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.

Beautiful architecture from Tianjin's colonial heyday along Haihe (海河)

Or having drinks (non alcoholic for me :)) with friends at Italy Street with the live band playing at night.

Live band at an outdoor restaurant / pub at Italy Street

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.

European touches in Tianjin.

The Chinese side of Tianjin.

Modern Tianjin. Actually Tianjin looks really new, especially their residential buildings. My host Yanbin (who is also in the real estate industry) expressed her regret that Tianjin has not been preserving its history as much as it should, tearing down the old and building gleaming towers over them.

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.

This is Yanbin's book, written by a girl who had couchsurfed through Europe. Coincidentally, her pen name is Momo. This book immediately caught my eyes once I stepped into Yanbin's beautiful apartment because I happen to know another Momo who is also a couchsurfer (my friend's a guy).

For dinner, she brought me to an amazing restaurant with a beautiful garden and even a ‘pipa’ musician playing in the garden’s pavillion!

Hearsay, this used to be the home of a mistress of an official. She used to be a songstress.

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 …

Yanbin brought me to have traditional Tianjin breakfast. The one on the left is a sort of sweet creamy paste and the one on the right is green bean pancake (绿豆煎饼) whose wrap is made of green beans, wrapped over crispy fritters and omelette. Absolutely yummy!

After breakfast, Yanbin brought me to Wu Da Dao (五大道). Look what we found!

Horse-drawn carriages were prevalent, and this particular one is a Cinderella version! 🙂

For those who refuse to indulge in senseless fairytale fantasy, they can do this, which I think is really really fun!

Cyclos for two, three, four ... a group of people cycling together must be multiple times 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.

The walls are decorated in china, and many parts are made of broken china like bowls, cups or plates. Recycling is art baby!

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.

(left) 'Green glass' countdown light (right) the Green Man

我老爸的路耶!This is my daddy's road! Haha ... my dad's name is Heng Ann, which is 兴安 (Xing An) ^_^

Family or not, I still had to leave this street and head back to Shanghai but no regrets. Every journey is a beautiful one.

The evening sky from the plane. Fiery. Beautiful.


About transez

Design researcher: curious about people, passionate about life.
This entry was posted in discovery, food, friends, restaurants, travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tianjin

  1. 周通(town) says:

    我都习惯了天津的欧洲风情,习惯了绿豆煎饼,习惯了这种交通指示灯,经你这么一说,天津还真不错啊~~~ 哈哈

  2. transez says:

    这个是日文吗?哈哈 ^_^

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