Well, today we visited Libby and Keith at school. And we went by way of the fish market area…..it was…..special. Very crowded and not very pleasant smelling. It is one of the really poor areas – as you can see by the housing.

img_1998web.jpg

You can see the housing here…..

img_1992web.jpg

And this is the intersection we were stuck in for awhile…..Kimberly said she didn’t even notice that it was that crowded when she was driving. This is all in a road that is about 2 lanes….

img_1995web.jpg

And here is where you can stop to buy your fish. I think that it is completely sanitary. And if you’re lucky, they will cut it up for you using a sharp rock.

img_1994web.jpg

See – totally clean. It was really quite sad to go through there. Such extreme poverty. And I do not know where these fish come from, but the river around the corner is absolutely disgusting – Kimberly says it doesn’t even freeze in the winter and it smells hideous.

img_1997web.jpg

And this was coming at us…..good thing the bike cart isn’t too big and we are able to maneuver pretty well.
img_2002web.jpg

This is what happens everywhere we go. The staring – almost falling off your bike while you do so. We get stared at EVERYWHERE. And it is not culturally inappropriate so they do not hide it at all. We get this for two reasons – there aren’t a lot of tourists in Tianjin and they usually use bike carts for hauling stuff, not people.

img_2003web.jpg

And this was Katie with a headband – the ponytail holder kind that go all the way around your head. I just thought that was a totally happening style she created.

img_2005web.jpg

Um….I think this is just more traffic?

img_2004web.jpg

The large black and red building you can see in the middle are Ancient Culture Street. This is a replica – or perhaps it’s just been rebuilt – of what it originally was. It’s a completely tourist-y area where you can buy things from little stalls. Lots of souvenir stuff.

img_2007web.jpg

There is another picture of it as well. And notice the people staring.

img_2010web.jpg

This is me in a rick-shaw (no idea how to spell that one….) at the restaurant we ate at. We ate some really good Tianjin food there. Something spicey-ish with chicken and something with eggs and tomatoes and some garlic broccoli that I skipped cause I don’t do garlic. Kimberly’s Chinese teacher went with us to shop and eat. She was really helpful because sometimes we weren’t sure what was a good price and what wasn’t. They will always tell foreigners higher prices.

img_2012web.jpg

I got name scrolls made for the boys here. They were 50Y total for all 3 of them (works out to about $7). They are really beautiful! Quite a crowd gathered – I think mostly to gawk at us, but then the man making the scrolls could tell it was making us uncomfortable (about our bags and being stolen from) and so he whipped the scroll he was working on off the table and said there were too many people watching and he would just put it away. Then when they left, he got it out and finished. I thought that was nice of him.

img_2014web.jpg

And there you can see it a little more – he wrote the name, then did a drawing at the bottom (Adam’s is some bamboo design that means “strong”?), then he wrote Tianjin in Chinese characters at the bottom, their name in English along the side at the top and then in Chinese characters under that. Very beautiful! I cannot imagine paying $7 for 3 of those in the US!

So that was our day yesterday! We came home to what is called potstickers in the US – jiaozi hand made by ayi. They were delicious! Then Kimberly and I went to the foot massage place and had that done. It was really different than US massages. Much more intense – like reflexology or something. It felt quite good, especially since my feet were so sore from all the walking.

Best news – My suitcase came!!! Kimberly and Keith said it like Christmas getting all the goodies in there! So many foods and such that they cannot get here plus some other goodies.

Today – more shopping at another market! This one is their favorite so it should be fun! Kimberly says she knows it is time to leave when she runs out of shopping bags!