We awoke at 6.30am to the very Chinese sound of our neighbour clearing his throat. Went back to sleep.
We have a leisurely morning sitting in our hostel cafe, listening to Robbie Williams new album (we think, then confirmed by my mates via what’s app!) and having the best coffee ever. The beans are roasted, ground and filtered to order. The care and attention to detail is amazing and worth it for the smoothness of the flavour. The beans were Costa Rican, for all you coffee buffs out there.
We finally left the cafe at 12 noon, hungry and needing to see something of Tianjin. Off we walk down a nearby street which contains a lot of European architecture. This is a port town so was opened up to European trade in the early 20th century and so there is their influence in the architecture. It is beautiful to see, especially as the sun is warm and the sky is clear blue. Many of the buildings look quite new so it is a puzzle to see the historical protection sign on them, seems it is ok to rebuild a building as long as it is in the same style.
We walk through the central park and see a now familiar sight of blokes playing games (cards, mahjong or dominos) sometimes for money, sometimes just for something to do.
On our way to a shopping arcade we pass Snack Street and decide this should fill our bellies. The smells are fabulous, there are many things battered on sticks, noodle dishes, and more. We stick to a noodle soup with a rich meaty stock, coriander, chill and green which is delicious and I have a deep fried squid on a stick which was bigger than my head. A finishing topping of cumin and chilli is really tasty. Guy also had peanut saucy noodles which are scrummy.
We walked down river taking in the landscape and locals at play. We saw some bridesmaids having their official photos being taken, some men playing keepy uppy with an oversized shuttle cock, men emerging from the river having had a swim, others fishing, praying to trees and concrete statues.
I need the loo so dive into what looked like a shopping centre, it was an exhibition of modern products with people queuing to enter and buy stuff we had seen in a supermarket. It had a loo, phew.
We ate at our hostel as we had seen a delivery chap walking in with a lovely side of beef that morning and noticed the special was stewed beef, it was in a pie served with rice, delicious (although a plate of chips would have been very welcome!). We Skype’d family and had a quiet night in.