This Friday we experienced the worst level of air pollution since I arrived here in China. 500 being the worst, the levels in Tianjin reached 475, meaning it was in fact dangerous to go out. I was wearing my mask during the day, but decided, just out of curiosity, to leave it off when I went to buy some water. After a few minutes I had to cover my mouth, it felt like I was breathing smoke. The TV-tower was invisible in the smog and even the majority of the Chinese were wearing masks, meaning things were really bad. I do hope they came to some sort of agreement at the APEC meeting; things can’t go on like this.
In the evening I went with my friend Lisa from Australia and her boyfriend Steve to a bar called Helen’s. One of Steve’s classmates had a birthday and they had decided to meet up at this bar. Helen’s is kind of a western influenced bar, they have hamburgers and pizza, a lot of foreigners go there went they get tired of eating Chinese food. The mood was good and it was nice to meet some new people. I decided to head home a bit earlier, since Miriam, Robert and Aude were coming to visit in the morning from Beijing. I took a taxi and it was a woman driving, I’ve seen that a lot more here than in Beijing and usually they are more talkative than the male drivers. She asked me the usual questions; where are you from, how old are you, are you married etc. They always say that really, you should be married by now and have children; once you reach 30 it’s too late. I usually just ignore this and change the subject.
没有为什么 is what you say when something just is and you can’t explain it
On Saturday morning I went to meet with Miriam, Robert and Aude, they were actually supposed to come last week, but Miriam had left her passport at home and you can’t go anywhere in China without a passport. We met up at the train station and started walking along the river. The weather was really good and the air, thank god, was much, much better than the day before. Tianjin was showing its best side. What struck them most, and me as well when I got here, is that it’s all modern buildings in Tianjin. Perhaps there are hutong areas still in some other districts, but compared to Beijing, there is hardly anything old left. Yes, there are some protected areas with western buildings left in some parts of the city, but in general, it’s all skyscrapers. They liked the view over the river, the culture street, the drum tower, the Korean town and I think they were surprised that Tianjin is such a big city. We walked a lot and then headed back to my campus where we had some coffee and just relaxed for a while. It was our friend Ivy’s birthday, so we decided to go and by some Macarons for her, as we knew it was her favourite kind of cookie. Aude, being French, was a critical judge, but in the end we managed to find a shop that met her standards. After that they were off to the train station and back to Beijing again. After that I met up with Claire and had some dinner at our favourite Korean place. I really wish that Korean food was more popular in Sweden, I would eat it every week.
The Italian Consession
Today I met up with language partner Stella and we went to the market to buy some fruits and vegetables. It’s so cheap here and you it tastes so much more. I even found strawberries! I don’t usually here Chinese people swear that much, but I’m guessing it’s because I live in a very protected environment here at campus, but today we saw two girls arguing and one of them shouted one obscene word after the other. This of course attracted a lot of attention, not only because they were shouting at each other, but also because it’s not very often you see a Chinese “loose their face”, you’re supposed to keep your emotions to your
One of many bridges in Tianjin
self. For example, let’s say you lend your friend some money; you can never ask the friend to pay it back, no, no, your friend must simply remember to give it back to you and if he/she doesn’t, well that’s it. You can never ask for it yourself, that’s just not something that you do here. Hopefully your friend is a decent enough person and remembers to pay you back. Me and Liza later went to have some Malatang麻辣汤, some spicy soup where you can choose your own ingredients, exactly what you need as the weather gets colder. After that we went to Holiland or ”Holyland” as we call it and bought some cheesecake and coffee to take wit us. Tonight we just stay in our room, order some dumplings and have it delivered to our dorm and watch movies, it’s a Sunday after all. Next week I have to start preparing for my presentation, I have to talk 20min about the air pollution in Sweden and how we tackle the problem.
A wide selection to choose from
Nice and spicy Malatang