Arrived in Tianjin

We’re here! We arrived exhausted and had a full afternoon and evening of running around and starting to get oriented. But the other NGO associates have been great – they really know how to take care of rookies and have done a lot to begin easing our disorientation stress. Our apartment is on the sixth floor. Here’s the view from our windows:

Our first night was a special night during Chinese New Year’s where they light off extra fireworks. There are big stands on the corners selling fireworks, and people just light them off on the sidewalk so they shoot up beside/between the apartment buildings. At night you can see them all over the city. I was talking to someone last night and it started raining ashes on us. The bigger ones will set off all the car alarms in the area… it’s kind of funny.

coalstack01small.JPGThis smoke stack is on our block. It’s where they burn the coal to make the heat for the buildings in the area. Heat comes on on a certain day and goes off on a certain day each year. You control the temperature by opening or closing windows… at least, that’s how we’re doing it!

I don’t think I realized just how comfortable we’d become in Yonghe until we drove in to Tianjin from the airport. A new city, big, polluted, doesn’t look or feel like Taipei, we didn’t know where anything is, we’re almost 100% dependent on others for absolutely everything… and this time there are other foreigners around who all know the area and who have better Chinese, so you feel like you’re behind. NationalBirdsmall.JPGI was wondering why I suddenly felt better when we were shown where the first big grocery store was, and realized it’s because I was now just that much less dependent on others. Of course it’s not the first time we’ve experienced this, and in the big picture we have it really easy. Anyway, we’re still tired and disoriented and I’m not sure I even know what I’m saying. ;) But we’re here and settling down, surrounded by some great people.

The NGO associates have been great, having us in for dinner, making themselves available for questions, showing us around. I think we go to the bike market tomorrow morning. I’m aiming for an old one that won’t get stolen but hopefully won’t break down every other trip. There’s a tea shop in the wet market… now that we can make hot water we’ll get tea tomorrow, too. These three pictures are the only ones we’ve taken so far. I’m posting this using a pirated wireless signal from next door, so I’ll get it posted before our neighbour goes to bed. We’re doing great. Thanks to everyone for your cares and support! We’ll respond to all the e-mails when we get some longer time online.

4 thoughts on “Arrived in Tianjin”

  1. I can’t wait to have that feeling again: lost in a big city, culturally in shock, linguistically in a bind. ’twill be great. Are there good tea markets in Yonghe?

    I’m glad that the guys there are helping you out. You need some help these first few days, weeks, maybe even months ;)

  2. Ha, are you addicted to culture shock Brian? I know what you mean about how much fun it can be to land in a new place and have to discover everything for yourself. And Yonghe’s a good place to do it, since there’s so much in a small area.

    In a way having all the people to help us out I think adds to the stress, since we feel like we’re a burden sometimes. But in Yonghe I loved it when we took time in the park or the wet market to try talking with people, to watch everything and just soak it all in. When there’s nowhere you have to be and nothing you have to do, being lost in a new place is great!

    And yes, there’s tea to be had in Yonghe. Mingdaw can show you where, and I think there’s even a tea store at the local night market (short walk up from the wet market about two blocks). We left some in the apartment, too.

  3. Hey, no kidding, one guy who subleased our friend’s ice place next door wanted to transform it into a tea house!

    But I definitely owe you guys a trip to place like:


  4. A teahouse??? That’s even better than an ice place!! But you certainly don’t owe us anything. You went way above and beyond the call of duty taking care of us in Taiwan!

    I wonder if Brian likes Chinese tea… we introduced him to British/Canadian tea a few years ago and if I remember right I think he likes it.

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