Monday, September 28, 2009

A-a-a-and we're back 

It was a nice time in Tianjin except for our being unexpectedly moved to the campus of Nankai University for the latter two nights of our stay there.  The internet did not work for us in their guest house, which was seemingly designed for students visiting the 24000 student campus.  The breakfast room in the guesthouse was our real experience of Chinese daily life.  After three days of the sumptuous breakfast bars known in your business hotels in the developing world, it was quite a comedown. Breakfast is truly breaking a fast here (the Chinese do not have big suppers) so steamed buns and vegetables were the order of the day.  

Tianjin might be the biggest city you know nothing about.  Approximately 12 million people live there (which makes it the third largest city in China) and it's considered the poorer city of the three.  We got to the city center in the middle of a torrential rain and streets slowed to a crawl, with a one hour trip taking us closer to three.  But its universities were beautiful, and we had a great day of eating and touring Sunday.  Yesterday we went to Huang ya guan to see an older portion of the Great Wall, one that is in fairly rugged shape.  Locals said this was a more authentic look at the wall than that near Beijing.  There were no other westerners there I saw until we got close to the bottom, and we had a great dinner in front of the wall with local vegetables.  My legs are sore today but what a great view of the Tientsien area of China.

I'll get back to more economics as we go along here; I have one day left in China though on this trip, and you never take for granted that you're coming back.  So I'll be a little scarce until Thursday.