Kategoriarkiv: Hotpot

It’s Aude’s birthday!

December is coming up and now it’s really starting to get cold. Luckily I have my newly bought winter jacket and hat, both came with me on my trip to Beijing this week.FullSizeRender

Celebrating Aude's birthday!

Celebrating Aude’s birthday!

This Friday I went to Beijing, it was my friend Aude’s birthday and we were all meeting up to have some dinner. I met up with Miriam outside the Swedish embassy to have some lunch; we managed to find a nice little Indian restaurant with a buffet for 60 Yuan. The food was good and it was a welcome change from the Chinese food I eat everyday. I stayed in a café until they got off work and then we went to a German pub to have some “after work” beer, before we headed for the Belgian restaurant Beermania to meet with Aude and her friends. The pub was called Schillers and was runt by an Irishman with a thick, accent and red hair. Quite the stereotype, but the beer was good and so was the company. We left our stuff at Miriam’s and then headed for Beermania, quite certain that there was going to be more beer drinking tonight.

We arrived a bit late, but quickly ordered some food and started chatting with the people there. It was a cozy place with Tintin playing on a projector in the background. There was a wide selection of beers and music entertainment. It was fun to meet some new people and even though most of them were French, they were kind enough to speak English. Miriam’s and Aude’s flat mate Jaques had arranged a cake and had put us on the VIP-list to this club called V-lounge, so we started the long process of paying the bill and headed over to there. It was girl’s night, so everything was for free. I must say I think it’s a bit unfair that there is never a boy’s night, it’s kind of discriminating, but I guess they know that if you gather a lot of girls in one place, the boys will follow. It was a good night and on the way back to Miriam’s we stopped for the usual late night snack and then headed home.

Yesterday we had planned to visit a German Christmas market that they arrange at the German embassy every year. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only one who had planned to do this and once we got there, the queue was endless. Right, change of plans, let’s go and watch a movie instead. We went to the cinema MEGABOX to watch Interstellar, where we met up with Miriam’s friend. It was a good movie and afterwards we went out to eat some food. I think we were all tired from Fridays dancing, so we went to bed early.

Welcome to Beijing

Welcome to Beijing

Today Miriam and me went to the Russian district; I was on a mission to find a very specific brand of German chocolate for Liza. The Russian embassy was huge; it looked like a palace and had its own church! I managed to find the shop and ended up buying some dark bread and some cheese as well. It’s really hard to find dark bread here; it’s just not that popular here I guess. We then went to a café and had some breakfast, before I headed for the train station back to Tianjin. It’s been REALLY windy today; it felt like a tornado with leaves blowing everywhere and a lot of dust in the air. The government is actually discussing how to build new parts of the city that will make it more accessible to wind. It does help to keep the pollution away and the air has been really good today.

Stay tuned for more news next week!

One BIG buddha, sleepy pandas and our very own ”pandaboy”

Me and Alex in 乐山

Me and Alex in 乐山

Hotpot in Chengdu

Hotpot in Chengdu

 

What a weekend! My first trip to Chengdu 成都 exceeded all my expectations and I finally got to meet up with my friend Alex or ”Pandaboy” as we call him, in the Panda capital of China.

I arrived in the afternoon with my first domestic flight within China, Tianjin airport is about the size of Kastrup, but really easy to navigate.  Alex met up with me in the city centre; it was great seeing him again and this time in his hometown. Chengdu is a big city, smaller than Tianjin, but there is plenty of people to go around. It is located quite far down south, to the centre of China. I was tired from the flight, so we just decided to walk around for a while and spent some time in the biggest shopping area in Chengdu. You can tell that Chengdu is all about pandas when you see a giant panda climbing up a department store wall and people walk around with panda hats.  We then headed for the Grand Plaza hotel, which was the hotel were Ditte and Stig were staying. Ditte and Stig had already been in Chengdu for a few days, visiting some Universities and doing some sightseeing. The hotel was amazing, and the toilets, wow! It doesn’t take much to impress me when it comes to toilets in China, it’s enough if it doesn’t smell and that there is toilet paper. These ones smelled like roses and there was plenty of toilet paper to go around. We decided to first have some drinks at the Skybar, the bar was located on the top floor and had a great view over the city. After that we went to a restaurant to have some traditional Hotpot, the Sichuan province is famous for its spicy food and pretty much everything has some amount of chilli in it. If you don’t like spicy, you can of course order food that is “not spicy” but trust me; you’ll still feel some heat. I shared a room at a hostel with three Chinese girls from Guangdong province, they were really sweet and easy to live with. At the hostel I met a group of Swedish guys that had been travelling by bike for the past few months, all the way from Sweden with final destination Thailand. I asked them: -Why Thailand?, they answered: -Partying. Right, seven months by bike, all just to party in Thailand. It’s all about priorities isn’t it?

The next day me, Stig and Alex took the bus to Leshan 乐山, a “smaller” city located about two hours away by bus from Chengdu, we were heading to see the famous Buddha. The thing about China is that, if you want to see some famous sights, try to do it during the week, not during the weekend, it’s always crowded. There was a lot of people there and we queued about an hour and a half to see the Buddha, but when we finally stood in front of it, it was all worth it, it was massive! It was also nice to see a little bit of the countryside, I had only been to big cities up till that point, so I was happy. The evening was spent eating sushi and drinking beer.

On my final day in Chengdu we had one last breakfast at the hotel, which has to be the most impressive hotel bre

akfast I have ever seen, my usual breakfast tend to consist of some instant oatmeal or fruit, but here, wow, I was in heaven. Ditte and Stig said their goodbyes and headed for Shanghai, while Alex and I went to see some pandas, after all, I couldn´t leave Chengdu without having seen one. They were adorable, so cute, but so sleepy. A few were a wake and laid spread out on the ground relaxing, while others were climbing the trees and rolling around. There are not many pandas left in the wild and all of them live in the Sichuan province. I was happy to see that they had plenty of space and seemed to live a good life, my previous experiences of zoo’s in China left a quite depressing mark. The pandas in Chengdu are well worth a visit , should you ever be in the neighbourhood.

A  real panda!

A real panda!

We had some lunch in the city and then went to an area with old traditional houses where a lot of traditional Sichuan snacks were made, Alex bought me a few to bring back to Tianjin and show my classmates what tasty snacks looks like. Snacks like dried tofu, peanut cookies, walnut bisuits and hairy dragon buns, were some of the many delicious treats the street had to offer. I then had to say goodbye, but I know we will meet again, hopefully next year when I’m in China again. Now I’m back in Tianjin and school is quite busy, but I quite like that, keeps me awake and focused.

 

Ta ta for now!

It brings good fortune to touch the belly of a buddha

It brings good fortune to touch the belly of a buddha

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mr buddha himself

mr buddha himself

Happy!

Happy!

 

Jinguan hotel, my new home

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Jinguan hotel, my new homeStarbucks is a sacred place, this is where I come to study and to drink some nice coffee, it just isn’t the same in other cafés. Wifi is good and if you manage to find a Starbucks inside an office building, it is usually quieter.Top picture is where i live now: Jinguan hotel

Today is the National Holiday, meaning everybody is one the road traveling to visit relatives and old friends. Yesterday I went to Beijing, which was perhaps not the brightest idea, given that the holidays where coming up. I have never seen that much people in a train station before and now we’re talking about China. I’m surprised I even managed to get tickets, though I ended up leaving Beijing at eleven in the evening, everything else was sold out. I went to visit the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, a company that deals with wastewater treatment here in China and knows about regulations and laws to prevent pollution. My professor arranged for me to go there and help with a project of theirs, while writing my essay on the same subject. This is an amazing opportunity to see how things works here in China and it could open up a lot of doors for me. They seemed genuinely happy that I was there and asked if I was interested in doing an internship for them some time next year, yay!Hotpot

This week all lessons are cancelled, so now is the time to travel, except everyone does, so tickets are hard to get by. We are planning to visit some places outside of Tianjin and seize the opportunity to breath some fresh air. The air quality is better here than in Beijing, but I still find myself coughing and squinting with my eyes on the days where the city is covered in what looks like fog, but really is pollution. Tianjin is about two hours away from the ocean, you can take the subway to the end station and from there are busses going every hour. I haven’t really been around that much in Tianjin, most of the time I spend at campus or in its surroundings. There so many nice little restaurants and I already have my favourite 凉面liangmian cold noodles place and my favourite 麻辣汤 malatang spicy soup place, so cheap and so good. The best food is the street food, which is very different from home. You can buy like a hot sweet potato hongshu 红属,  congbing springonion pancake, some nice chuanrs , food on wooden sticks that is grilled over hot coal and then eaten with spices. So much nice food, so little time. I think I will havet o dedicate at least 2-3 more pages simply about the food here, there’s just so much that we have no idea about in Sweden. The Chinese food in Sweden is just not the same as it is in China; it is more like Thai food.

Another thing that you usually react to as a foreigner here in China are the toilets. That was one of my biggest concerns coming to China for the first time. Luckily I ended up living in a really nice apartment in a quite rich area, so we had a ”normal” toilet, however, if you need to use the public toilets in some hutong area, you are lucky if there walls between the toilets. Just the other day when I was sitting at a café doing some homework, I needed to use the bathroom and went to find it. When I entered all doors were wideopen and occupied by five chinese middleaged ladies that were having a pleasant conversation amongst themselves, as it was the most common thing in the world. I quickly closed MY door and when I got out they just looked at me and said: –Why are you foreigners always closing the door? That is so strange, why would you want to close it? Why indeed…I just smiled and walked out, not a discussion I felt I would win.

This Friday was my birthday and I celebrated that by loosing my bag with wallet and cellphone. Great. We went to the police and they were really helpful, but there wasn’t really much they could do, so now I am phoneless and cardless. At least I still have my passport and driver’s licence, so not all is lost. Other than that, we just had some nice sushi and cake. Tomorrow we are going to some hotsprings outside of Tianjin and I can’t wait, it’s about time I take a look around and do things.

 

Me, Zhou Ya and XunYing Xue

Mosquito bites

Mosquito bites:

Mosquitos, mosquitos, mosquitos, they are everywhere and every morning you wake up, you have ten new ones that itch and drive you crazy! In Sweden they tend to be gone by now, but here the season lasts longer, so my next plan is to buy some sort of mosquito net and place it by the window. I went to a Chinese pharmacy and got some lotion to put on and there they told me that they were extra poisonous this year. Great. I really like that pharmacy, there are only women working there and they are always so sweet and helpful, they really know how treat their customers.

I wrote before about our hotpot night and I wanted to elaborate a bit more on the subject. The guys were drinking beer and the girls were drinking tea. Apparently, according to the guys, Chinese girls cannot handle alcohol; therefore they should only drink tea. I must say though, I think Chinese guys aren’t that good at handling alcohol either, three glasses of beer and then their done for. At the end of the night the bottles were empty and all of them were speaking English. The girls informed me that even though the majority of them would have hangovers in the morning, none of them would miss their classes that would just never happen in China. I have seen people sitting in their pyjamas during the lessons, because the almost overslept and didn’t have time to put some clothes on. The rules are; if you are late, the teacher will deduct 3 points on the exam, so you really don’t want to be late, hence the occasion pyjamas outfits.

Yesterday after I got back from Beijing we went to play some badminton, or they played and I watched. They all say they’re not good at playing, but trust me they are. I’ve heard my professor is really good and that he sometimes joins them. I feel like the professors here do have a close connection to their students and it really isn’t as strict as I thought it would be. They really want to help us and make sure that our essays turn out really good. Today I’m having lunch with my professor and some people from Beijing that worked on the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, which is what my essay will be about. Apparently they are here just because my professor called and asked them to come and talk to me, all to help me get the information I need to write my essay. This week I don’t have many lessons so I will have plenty of time to get started and perhaps take a trip somewhere. Somewhere like Qingdao, where they make the beer, but we’ll see.

 

Ciao!