Many of you know that we were in Tianjin, China a little less than three years ago. This is the very city that Claire was also from. Tianjin does not do a whole lot of adoptions compared to other provinces, so it was a little unusual to be coming back here for our son.
When we were here in May of 2008, as this time, our Chinese adoption guide was actually from Beijing. There just isn't enough work in Tianjin for guides to live here. So, we don't actually have a "local" guide. Which means, it would be like me showing someone around Greenville, South Carolina. I'm from near there, about 3 hours, and I've been there before so I know a few things. But, I'm not actually familiar with it.
I will say that Leo is resourceful. When we asked him to find a restaurant that serves Kung Pao Chicken, he did. When we ask for a cheap laundry service, he found the least expensive around. It wasn't cheap enough for me, so I ended up doing our laundry in the tub at the hotel, but at least he took up the mission.
So, today was the day we were scheduled to go to the big tourist attraction around here. The Ancient Culture Street. This was something we did last time we were here in 2008 as well and we loved the market. It was where we met the man that painted inside little snuff bottles and we bought about 6 of them for next to nothing. We also found many little shops that sold the little figurines of children that Tianjin is known for. We never saw these in the markets of Beijing or Guangzhou. You can get chopstick sets any where. You can only get these cuties here. When we adopted Claire, the Children's Welfare Center gave her one as a going away gift and Asher got his too. The little pink one in front was given to him a few days ago. I purchased the others in the market for about a dollar a piece.
I think they are adorable and something that the kids will have from their culture to pass down to their kids. Something that is just from Tianjin. Like them. But, this time I had a little trouble finding them. I actually thought I wasn't going to be able to before we left the market.
Because this market, the one we went to today? Was not the same market we went to three years ago. It was actually a very different market. This is apparently the actual Ancient Culture Market. So where did we go last time? Ummm, yeah. I have no idea! The market of three years ago was a much smaller market dotted with quaint little statue scenes from a more traditional time. I would never have known that it was not the actual Ancient Culture Street. We were told that it was. I didn't notice that I didn't see a temple to the sea god in that market and knew there was supposed to be one according to a China travel guide I had bought in the states.
And maybe one of these?
For the record, I did try this rice cake treat. BLECK! It was tasteless and similar to eating cardboard.
As is the custom here, Asher rubbed this creature for luck. It didn't bring him the extra sweets he was hoping for! Oh well. But we enjoyed a day out of the hotel room and in the thick of things!