About 15 million people currently reside in China’s fourth largest city. Tianjin, which hosted the water events of the 2008 Olympics Games, encompasses rapid growth on a massive scale. This city is massive, and jam-packed with a similar style build that I saw previously in China. But this city is very different from Beijing and Shanghai because it is not an ‘international city’.  Whereas the capital is home to many government consulates and foreign businesses, in Tianjin seeing a foreigner is a very rare sight. My time spent in Tianjin was extra special, because I got to spend time with Jakes chinese family.

When we arrived, we were picked up at the train station by our hosts and their family friends (who conveniently had a large minivan). We proceeded to get lunch! I was nervous because this would be the first time I got a full dose of eating a meal at a restaurant with China natives.  Going to a restaurant in China is incredibly different than in the US. Main differences: 1. No services with a smile b/s 2. You pay before you eat 3. Lack of cleanliness/everybody just throws their trash on the ground (which means you are sitting in a room filled with food, trash and cig. butts).  I was nervous at first, but once the food came I settled in.  The families didn’t know a word of english, so Jake had to translate everything for me. All of the dishes ordered were really good (except the fish) and I was pressured into eating massive amounts of food by the families… which i’m pretty sure is a cultural courtesy in China. Afterwords I enjoyed a moment of zen when I was told that I had exceptional chopstick skills for an American 😀

Our next stop was the Tianjin cultural street!IMAG0916They told us to wear our bags on our front to prevent theft.IMAG0911 We also ate these Tianjin special treats that were kinda like honey cake but with carmel. REALLY, REALLY YUMMY!IMAG0918IMAG0926 IMAG0924Another unique thing we saw was this guy blowing sculpture animals out of caramel, which I was told was a traditional/ lost art in the region…. you wouldn’t want to eat it though… because the guy had his dirty hands all over the recycled caramel. This girl thought it was pretty cool… I thought it was kinda gross.IMAG0920 We went into a mall to take some pictures. Homeboy on the right was really prepared with a camera tripod and timer set on the camera (standard chinese tradition :P)581255_10151478027756469_2129091530_nThey took us to see the newly constructed historical museums. This whole segment of town was built within just one year (5 massive buildings and a lake).IMAG0948 and we took more pictures infront of this crazy color-changing building.225306_10151478027966469_1549518287_nBefore going to dinner we saw this crazy wedding cake shop that had super-luxury cakes. China is filled with lots of luxury goods, so why not have super luxury wedding cakes? …amirite? IMAG0939 Thats about 1/2 mil USDIMAG0938 IMAG0936Eventually we went to dinner where we again consumed massive amounts of food and then headed back to the train station. From there I got my last glimpse of this amazing city. This is a view of their ‘little italy’, a section of town that was developed under imperial ruling of Italy. IMAG0949 Tianjin is an amazing place to see. Its doesn’t quite fit into the same categories as Beijing or Shanghai because it not a touristy kind of place, but its packed full of huge city and industrial development. Also, I would advise against eating the fish… it kinda tastes like polluted water.