P.S.- I lost photos from couple days that I was in China, since my phone got stolen. But I tried my best to describe it. Enjoy the blog and thank you for visiting!
We started going to La Bamba, a Mexican restaurant in Tianjin, where many foreigners go for happy hours and dinner on Thursday. Their menu and drinks price was expensive for Tianjin taste, but that’s because it is a famous foreigner’s hangout place. After dinner, we decided to go to Mayflower, a famous club in Tianjin. It was an interesting experience; they had a stage and different singers performing. It was also very entertaining, and I was quiet surprise how good the performance was. The best way I would describe is it was like a concert at a club.
The crazy part is that we had a special VIP service, meaning we had two tables with bottle service for free all night long, so whiskey and tea was on the roll. When I said special, what I truly meant was we didn’t have to pay a penny for any of the services, so no tips were needed either. Apparently in China, they have this mentality if they have foreigners partying in the club; it means their club rank is superior to those that don’t have any foreigners. So it doesn’t hurt to be a foreigner in China. They truly welcome anyone.
We danced for a few hours on and off the stage; it was like we owned the club, basically we did for the time we were there. The Chinese are a lot of fun to dance with, they have some cool dance moves and aren’t afraid to show it off. The party group then decided to take it to KTV, which means going to karaoke, this is a famous activity in China. After persuading various cabs to drive us to a KTV on a foggy night, we come to find out that they were closed. So the party continues back at the university dorms.
After three hours of sleep, the morning couldn’t come any sooner. My friend Jack came knocking in my room, waking my roommate Dasha and I. Beijing was calling us. Within an hour, we were on our way to Tianjin station to buy our tickets to Beijing. The ticket cost us 54.5 CYN, which is equivalent to $9. We went on the high-speed train ride to Beijing, which took us 30 minutes compared to a bus ride that would take 2 hours. To my surprise, the train ride was so smooth; it didn’t feel like you were on any moving vehicle. I would definitely recommend anyone to ride on it and explore China with it.
Arriving in Beijing, we were all starving, we searched for a place to eat and we ended up at Xian subway station, we had true Chinese dumplings at this high scale mall in the city, the price was double from the Mexican restaurant, this was about 90-100 CYN per person. In China, this is equivalent to about 5-6 good meals. One may ask was it worth it? In my opinion yes it is, because it was an authentic good food and it couldn’t be compared to anywhere else.
Then the adventure begins, searching for the right shopping mall to shop, and getting whatever we needed for this winter weather. Then finding our way around the city and getting lost. Chinese in general are super helpful and I was very blessed to find a guy who walked 15 minutes with us from the subway to show us where our hostel was. It was a kind gesture of his and I am grateful and because of his action it doesn’t hurt to continue to spread the good on Earth.
As the day continues, we come to find out that the hostel had this special event on Friday night, where they provided free dumpling party for the guests. We rested for an hour and then around 7pm, we got ready and started to make dumpling with some of the guests. It was a fulfilling experience, the first night in Beijing and now we are making dumplings and eating together. It was very cool idea from the hostel, a great way to connect with others. Thank you Sanlitun Hostel for your great hospitality!
After the dumplings, the night becomes a blur for me. That’s because I get my beautiful iPhone 6 plus pick pocketed after a night out at Latte’s, also another beautiful club in China. How did it happen? Well, I was in the elevator and my phone was in my jacket’s pocket and when I got out of the club, I noticed that my phone was gone, since I wanted to take a photo of the entrance. Then I go back to the elevator to find out the Chinese people in the elevator were mentioning that they were going to sell that phone and it was MY phone! I was so upset and I said to them that’s mine phone and you have it. They all neglected and they made a big scene at the club, which scare me off. I went to downstairs to get my friends to find out when I went up they all disappeared and with this experience my iPhone is forever gone.
On our way back to the hostel, many thoughts were rushing in my head. How am I going to keep in touch with the loved ones? How would I get my photos back? How would I capture my life now? How can they do that? How could I? There was so much in mind that it was hard for me to fall asleep and so easy to get up. Again, we had about four hours of sleep and off we went exploring more of China in the early morning. We took the subway and went to Summer Palace, which is one of the top 5 things to do while you are in Beijing and there is no doubt about it.
I will show you some photos here, credits is for a photographer that I met at the park and he took some photos of me while I was in deep thoughts and admiring the scenery on my own, while my friends went ice skating.
After visiting Summer Palace, we went to Wangfujing, which is another famous shopping district in China. This time I was on a search for a new cheap phone. I got one at the end of the night. It is a cheap one and I can’t compare to what I used to have. My iPhone was just a procession and I can get another one if I really need to. I can easily replace it. But right now I’m just debating will it be worth it? I thought spending $1300 on a phone was an investment and now I’m not sure if I can justify spending that much again after owning the iPhone for only 5 weeks.
We then made our way to the hostel, arriving there; I went directly to my bed and took a rest for a few hours. Then around midnight, my long time friend Michael and his friend stopped by at the hostel to say hi and to chill with me. Michael is a journalist for Beijing Daily News and has been traveling around the world since 2009. I met him while he lived in Miami and was also a great tour guide for the city! We went to Heaven Supermarket, for those that don’t know it was a bar/restaurant. Once you are in, you feel you are in a different atmosphere, it is hard to describe, it is woodsy with dim lights that makes you feel relaxed, if you don’t mind the smoke. So basically there are so many foreigners here that it felt that you were not in Asia at all. It was very international. It was interesting and it was cool to be in Beijing. After that his friend Hernando, takes us to a night out at Vic’s, another famous club for the foreigners in Beijing. Once you are in, it is just like any other clubs; rich people popping bottles and hot girls on the stage shaking it off.
My weekend doesn’t end here, the next day we go to another famous shopping district, the Silk Street, which is basically this 8 story high building full of stores, basically you can find anything in this building from shoes, jewelry, silk, and any kind of clothing. They got it all and they are also known for the best bargain in the world. Their quality is better compared to the ones we went from day 1 and 2 of Beijing.
After walking around, which seemed we walked all the floors of the Silk Street shopping mall, it was time for lunch and it was time for the famous Beijing Duck in Beijing! This was by far one of my favorite meals; it was located inside of a hotel and the food was delicious! I really enjoyed the duck’s broth. I love soup so much. Period.
Having our belly stuffed, we were ready for another adventure so off we went to Jingshan Park, I wanted to go there since it was up on a tall hill in the middle of the city. They also had a great panorama view of the city and also beautiful sunset! I was happy to see the sunset from there and admire the nature. I am grateful for this experience and to be in China!
After a full weekend, it was time to go home to Tianjin. Even in Tianjin, we had another fulfilling dinner. Once arriving in the university dorms, it was good to be back to a familiarity environment and to take a rest. I was happy to be home and to get in touch with the loved ones. And this is my first weekend in China. With ups and downs on this journey, I am grateful to be safe and for good health.