Summer Camp Omnibus

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Flag of China  , Tianjin,
Saturday, July 28, 2012

So the blog postings have been fairly sparse the last couple weeks but not without good reason. We have been very busy with summer camp and math classes and are both very glad to have them behind us. Well, behind us for the moment at least. After this weekend of work we have a whole week off teaching and are going to head away for a little holiday before summer camp starts all over again the week of the 6th of August.

Seeing as we have a full week off work we have decided to get out of Tianjin and see a bit more of China. So on Tuesday we will jump on a plane at Tianjin International Airport and fly down to Shanghai. We are planning on spending from Tuesday till the Friday or Saturday in Shanghai and then we will go to Nanjing for a couple of days before taking the high speed bullet train back to Tianjin on the Tuesday. We are very excited to get away for the week and we will no doubt post plenty of pics once we get back. I won't bore you with our planned "itinerary" now but will save that for a post when we have done it all.

On Monday we weren’t really feeling up to Chinese lessons so we cancelled them and instead took ourselves off in search of Ancient Culture Street for a bit of retail therapy/touristy action. We have been to Ancient Culture Street before but didn’t actually have a definite idea where it was so we set off with fingers crossed. After taking the subway and walking in the blazing sun for a couple hours we managed to find it and had good fun looking at all the “cultural items”. We managed to find a cool little shop selling paintings- lots of paintings that we would love to bring home. We settled on a smaller one that has two fish on it – will put a photo up in due course. We also managed to find a lovely silk dressing gown for Steph and a cool wall hanging that transcribes Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” for me. All this for well under $100NZD! We definitely know where we are going for presents before we head home!

You may have seen in the news that Beijing has suffered pretty serious flooding and the North of China has been hit by a big storm system this past week. Well Tianjin was no exception! On Wednesday night the rain started in and it poured and poured all night and well into the morning! At about 8.30am we got a call from our Mandarin teacher to say that unfortunately the area he lives in had been flooded and he wouldn’t be able to get in for class. It turned out that a lot of the city had been flooded and that getting to work that afternoon would be quite a challenge! When it rains in Tianjin the taxi drivers do one of two things. A good amount of taxi drivers choose to pack it in for the day and go home; not wanting to risk their cars and livelihoods to the mercy of any flood waters. The rest of them keep working but charge RIDICULOUS prices to take you anywhere; that is if they even decide to pick you up in the first place! Case in point, Steph’s ordeal trying to get home on Thursday night. Poor Steph was the only foreign teacher out at AoCheng on Thursday night and found it incredibly hard to get a cab to pick her up and take her home at 8.30pm. The trip home normally takes us 15-20min, costs about 15 and catching a cab ususally takes less than 2min. On Thursday Steph waited for more than an hour to get a cab, in the pouring rain, and had multiple occasions of taxi drivers going past her to pick up a Chinese person just next to her. I was at home and once Steph had had enough of waiting we decided I would try and get a taxi from ChengJi – which is a lot more central and thus has more taxis – and come out to pick her up in it. I tried for a good 30min to catch a cab and the only ones that would take me wanted to charge me 40 just to get to AoCheng, never mind the trip back! Deciding that this was extortion I managed to flag down a very nice Tuk-tuk driver and offered him 50 if he would do the round trip, which he was happy to do. The tuk-tuk was good fun, even in atrocious conditions, and he got us back home all right – even after stalling at a few lights and flying over one of the busiest traffic bridges in the city! What a night!

So the first summer school camp is over and we are off on another adventure to Shanghai and Nanjing. Check out the photos – and we will write a nice long blog of our holiday when we return. 
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Debbie on

A pea-flavoured ice block! What were you thinking!
After all the years that I 'protected' you from peas, I am stunned that you actually purchased this - good to see you have a sense of adventure :)

Mike and lou on

Hi guys! Hope you had a great holiday and that the week of summer camp has started well for you both.thinking of you xx

Aaron on

Steph I feel sorry for you! I must be getting soft :P Shanghai will be so awesome! Look forward to the trip report! Have you guys seen much of the Olympics? Is there much atmosphere in China around the games?

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