Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Day 26 - Tianjin, China - August 21st

With a free (yes, free!) shuttle to town operating from 10am, there was definitely no rush to get organised.  We had Chinese visas (single entry if you remember) and had to take our passports AND a photocopy (supplied by the ship) in Shanghai.  These photocopies were stamped, not the passports, and all we needed in Tianjin was the photocopy.

We are not sure what was happening on the quay as we spied this squad on parade and having their photographs taken.  Filming was going on just outside the terminal building too, so maybe it was related as there were police cars, vans and an ambulance around.

Getting ashore was just about as fast as is possible, as having shown the photocopy at the gangplank, that was it, we just walked straight through the modern terminal to the shuttle bus.  As soon as it was full, away we went at 10:40am, expecting a 40 minute ride.

The roads leading to the Tianjin port are wide and straight (3 lanes in each direction) and this is presumably to cope with the 1,000’s of shipping containers and new cars delivered to and from the port.  The tree planting is impressive with blocks of different colours and heights and the place was very smart.  The straight road must have gone for two to three miles before a turn at traffic lights, following the coast - which appears to be mainly reclaimed land, so it looks rather like Mablethorpe (UK) when the tide is out.

The journey only took 20 minutes and we passed absolutely nothing of interest and parked at the Aeon shopping mall.   The collective groans and grumble from the men could be heard miles away.  The mall was extremely bright and modern but the shops held little of interest to most people. The only interesting part for me was the upstairs food court where the dishes looked appetising and fairly chap.  I am not sure of the payment system but it looked as though you bought a swipe card from a central kiosk, but I could easily have misread that, as the signs were in Chinese!

Down stairs was “Restaurant Street” which was also fairly interesting. You could tell the cruisers as they were all in McCafe or SPR Coffee, with  a few poking their heads around the door of KFC and Pizza Hutt!  There didn’t seem to be much outside the mall.  Along with many others, we caught an early shuttle back to the ship but had already been warned that immigration wouldn’t start until 1pm.  We were there a bit earlier and once again, just strolled onto the ship, handing in our photocopies on the way through.

About 280 people joined the ship in Tianjin (Beijing) and there was a tannoy call that all those who did NOT have a Chinese visa and hadn’t got off the ship, were required for a face to face with the Chinese officials.  We later heard that most Americans were not granted visas...

We called at the buffet for lunch (of course) before having a bit of a nana nap as I had once again developed the sniffles.

Atrium 5th floor for coffee where we bumped into Mick & Pat who were with M & M and were joining our table for dinner.

The sailaway was instantly forgettable as there is nothing to look at but I did spend a lot of time chatting to very nice elderly lady.  We piled down for dinner to our normal table, even though dining is “open” on changeover days.

The entertainer tonight was Kiwi pianist Carl Doy who plays very well, but oh dear, the patter was dreadful.  Three long winded rehashed jokes we had heard dozens of times before.  No wonder the orchestra looked quite bored.

I didn’t have decent shoes on (still in sandals) so couldn’t dance and the atrium was rather quiet, so Alan and Alana packed up early.

Clocks forward 1 hour again tonight and it is visibly cooler than it has been, whilst the UK is having a late summer.

Another day at sea ahead before Busan.        

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