We requested two connected rooms at the Tianjin Aqua City (area of town/mall) Holiday Inn. We ended up with two rooms (1 King sized bed per room) across the hall from each other. We put the three big kids in one bed (they all fit decently) and B and I took the larger room with a couch and a bench for Squirt’s bed. Our hotel was connected to a mall and in the basement of the mall was a subway stop.
Monday we woke up and went to the McDonald’s in the mall for breakfast. It was too late for breakfast (and we found out later in the trip that it didn’t matter because this mall McDonald’s didn’t serve breakfast ever) so the kids (and B) elected to have Chicken McNuggets, etc. for breakfast.
Our hotel from across the street.
An adorable street sweeper.
The air was horrible on Monday. I don’t remember exactly what the number was, but it was above 200 which is “very unhealthy.” This had us a bit worried because we’d planned to walk around town a lot and a lot of what we wanted to do in Tianjin depended on seeing views.
We started at Gulou N Street and walked toward the Drum Tower and then down Gulou S Street.
To illustrate how poor the air was.
The caution signs for drivers in China are great and Buddy already loved signs. In Beijing, we aren’t really on any of the big streets that have these signs unless we are on a bus so we haven’t had a chance to get very man pictures. In Tianjin we saw a lot.
Tianjin has an Italian Style Town. All that really looked different to us was the cobblestone street and the naked, marble statues. Apparently, as a coastal town, Tianjin, in the 1880-1900s was the port of Beijing, so westerners trading with China had a lot of turn of the century, European architecture and history (similar to Shanghai).
We walked to a Walmart (B wanted to look for a better map of Tianjin) and learned that our Walmart is ghetto compared to this one in Tianjin. Then we walked to a giant, outdoor mall (and fancy indoor mall) on Heping Rd. and walked past the St. Regis hotel which looked pretty cool.
Off this mall strip was a food alley. A bunch of people jumped in front of us in the churro line so we walked to the end of the street and back. Being a coastal city, there were a lot of fried squid on a stick options. There were also these aebleskiver looking balls. We bought a pack of them before I saw the guy making them put a bit of raw looking bacon in each one before flipping it over. We were feeling adventurous, but I was wary of that raw looking bacon so I ate a small, not through the middle bite. It was okay, but hot, and a little doughy in the middle. We ended up trashing them and getting churros. Later, we looked it up on the internet and found out those are squid balls and westerners find them thoroughly disgusting. Glad we didn’t bite right into them!
After the food alley, we spotted a cool looking church (St. Joseph’s Cathedral or Lao Xikai Catholic Church), walked to it, found a Paris Baguette (my favorite of the Chinese/French bakeries), got a snack and headed to Five Great Avenues, where five streets intersect.
We headed back to our hotel and wandered over to the attached mall for dinner. Outside the fancier restaurants in Chinese malls, at the host/hostess podium, there is usually a picture menu. The food at this particular restaurant looked good so we went there. After being seated in a shower-themed area, we looked at the tables near us (toilet-themed) and realized our restaurant had some sort of bathroom theme happening. Complete with poop-filled bowls under the clear glass tables at the toilet booths.