Tianjin, China MAR 12 2024

The second day in Tianjin, we decided to take an excursion into the city of Tianjin. We had considered an excursion into Beijing to see the capital, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. But that would mean another three hour bus ride each way including the police checkpoint, so we decided not to go. Even getting from the port into the city of Tianjin was an hour ride each way.  We left the ship very early in the morning on a very cold day with temperatures in the low 30’s.

Another One Of Those Super Tall Buildings

Even a Walmart in China

Our Lady of Victory Church also known as Wanghailou Church, is a Roman Catholic church located in Tianjin, China.

Towering 120-m. Ferris wheel above the Hai River, illuminated with colorful lights at night.

Tianjin, with a population of 14,000,000, is the seventh largest city in China. Our first stop was at the Confucian Temple. It is a temple consecrated to offer sacrifices to the memory of Confucius, a great thinker, educator and statesman in ancient China. Built in 1302, it is the second largest Confucian temple in China. It is the largest traditional architectural complex in the city and one of the oldest. There are actually two temples here, one on the east side and one on the west side. The temples underwent extensive repair in 1985. We spent quite a bit of time here walking through the temples and various buildings.

Next we went to the Guwenhua Jie Street market with many brightly colored stores. It was very loud with music and vendors selling their wares. It was a pedestrian area and we had a false sense of security regarding traffic. Bill was slightly in front of me and looking to the left. Suddenly I saw a speeding motor scooter coming from the right, straight at him as he was about to step into its path. I screamed for him to watch out and he stopped inches from the scooter as it flew by. Whew! That was a really close call. We really didn’t want to end up in a Chinese hospital!

Near the market was a large statue of Mazu, a Chinese sea goddess they believe protect sailors and fishermen.

Next we went to a Chinese restaurant for another “authentic” Chinese lunch. It was very similar to yesterday’s restaurant with a table for eight and a Lazy Susan in the center. The food was similar to the day before but no soup or orange slices for dessert.

Tianjin University is the oldest university in China, 1895

Children Exercising

After what seemed like a long hour bus ride back to the ship, we went through security and turned in the copies of our passports they had stamped. We were officially checked out of China.

This Is The View Of The Port Area

One comment about Chinese public bathrooms. They were horrible everywhere except for the two nice restaurants. The restaurants had western style toilets which were fully stocked with toilet tissue, soap and paper towels. But other public restrooms throughout China are filthy and disgusting. Most were Asian style with a hole in the floor. If we were lucky they had one western toilet with a seat, but the stalls were very small. There was no toilet tissue, soap or paper towels. Most of the women, me included, limited our fluid content so as not to have to use those restrooms any more than necessary. 

Once again we were over two hours late leaving Tianjin due to the stringent Chinese immigration officials. The captain remarked during his noon talk the next day that the Tianjin officials were the hardest to work with, bordering on rudeness. He commented he was very glad our China ports were over. He apologized for what we had to endure during the police checks, etc. He said he notified the Holland America corporate office and perhaps they would consider that when planning future cruises. 

We now had three days at sea before our next port of call, Hong Kong. It was obvious everyone was tired from all the back to back early morning Chinese ports. Everyone welcomed a much needed rest.

On one of those evenings they had the Zuiderdam Ball beginning with a formal dinner. Various officers hosted tables in the dining room. We were invited to be the guest of George who is the director of the food and beverage services. He is in charge of a very large staff from dining room managers to maitre d’s to servers and cooks in the dining room and buffet. There was a table of three couples and George. We all had a big laugh when we found out the three ladies at the table were all named Diane. We jokingly told him they did that to make it easier for him to remember our names. He was a great host. It was a very enjoyable evening with complimentary wine and great conversation.

Unfortunately we have to say goodbye to our beloved Captain Frank and his friendly wife when we reach Hong Kong. He originally was not supposed to be the captain of the World Cruise, but he had to fill in for another captain who had a personal emergency. Captain Frank’s duty ended in Hong Kong. The sea day before we reached Hong Kong there was a farewell salute for the captain and his wife in the Grand Theater. Two standing ovations from passengers and crew brought tears to his eyes. A touching video of highlights from the cruise was shown. At the end of the salute, the crew crowded the stage while the song “We Are Family” played and the passengers clapped and cheered. We sure will miss Captain Frank and Alexandra. They are going back to their home in the Netherlands for a well deserved vacation.

We heard from a crew member that the new captain has a similar style to Captain Frank. If that is true, then we will all be A-okay. 

We also received an invitation for a private tour of the ship’s galley. The galley is under the direction of an Executive Chef who supervises 134 people. We were given a printout of the amount of food prepared, dishes washed, etc that is mind boggling. The complimentary champagne at the end of the tour was a nice touch. 

Next up: Hong Kong and foggy weather that is finally warming up


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