Journey to Tianjin

Wednesday, October 11

Trip to Tianjin. The journey began with a short walk from Nanmofang to the subway and on to the Beijing South train station. Beijing’s subway is clean, modern and fast!

We boarded the bullet train bound for Tianjin about 80 miles from Beijing. The trip took 40 minutes at speeds approaching 180 mph. A lot has been said about bullet trains in the US, but more is said than done.

We arrived in Tianjing too early to check into our hotel, so we took a taxi to “cultural center.” Like many European and Asian cities, sections of the old city have been preserved. However, like SF’s Fishermans Wharf, the streets are lined with trinket vendors.

Food stands are scattered among the trinket stores. Many offer regional cuisine not found in other parts of China. I don’t know what it is that I am eating, but it’s good and it didn’t make me ill.

Salinda found a friendly outdoor chef that prepared a flat, waffle like snack prepared on a cast iron grill. This is a family enterprise. The chef’s son (left) keeps his dad supplied with ingredients.

We checked into the Astor Hotel. It has been in this location on the river since 1863. This view is of the old section. The modern hotel additions are in the background.

The Astor is not Motel 6. Our room was in the old section of the hotel but had all the modern amenities one would expect in a five star hotel.

The Astor would be a TV addict’s delight. There is even a TV in the bathroom mirror. Most of the channels available are in Chinese, but international hotels feature English language CNN World View, which is not available on residential cable.

The hotel’s old section is decorated with antiques from it’s many years in business. They have a museum with artifacts including the photos of world leaders that have stayed there. This is a working telephone.

After a brief rest we crossed the street to the riverfront for some plein-air painting. The bicycle behind Salinda is a short term rental.

Renters present their smart phone to the lock. The company sends the unlock code and charges the renter’s account. These bikes litter the street everywhere and block access to pedestrians.

I completed a pen and ink-watercolor wash painting of a nearby clock tower. Media: Pentel brush pen, Sakura “Koi” watercolors with water pen on Canson 140 lb sketchbook.

Salinda started a painting of the riverfront but a cool breeze forced us back to the hotel before she could finish.

Tianjin was built in 1404 as a walled city. It has a long history as a major seaport.

Tianjin Hai riverfront at night.

Copyright © 2017 South Bay Artists Cooperative

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