April 7, 2016 - Day 5 - Docked in Tianjin, China

We woke up in Tianjin which is the port city and it still is a 40 minute drive to Tianjin when you leave the port.  

We had breakfast at the Terrace Café. Yesterday Pat saw a lady having an omelette made so she decided to try it today and it was good.  On the way out Pat saw the lady and thanked her for her suggestion.

Our tour  today is the highlights of Beijing. Our tour guide's English Name is Jo her Chinese name is Zhou Hongju.  They call the driver Master Jin

Interesting facts our guide, Jo, told us:

Along the  vacant freeways there are lots of Ghost Towns where developers built beautiful high rises and they believe people will move into the high rises in the future.  There are no lights or stores or hospitals around just lots of high rises.

We made a pit stop half way at a gas station.  Our guide said it was Chinese style where you squat over a red pail.  No toilet paper but our guide passed out paper for those who needed it.  It was an experience.  We appreciate our bathroom at home.

23 million people in Beijing and there are 6 million cars.  One day each week people  are not allowed to drive their car.  For example, #1 and #6 which is last number in license plate can not drive on Thursday.  They change the number every 3 months.  Everyone can drive on weekends.

Getting close to the city it was stop and go traffic.  

Because it is a communist party there is no religion.  20% are Buddhist religion,  10% are Muslim or Christian and 70% have no religion.

Chinese government likes to drive Audi cars.  Chinese choices of cars:  1st choice German, 2nd choice American, 3rd Japanese.

Women can only have 2 kids now.   If they are a farmer they need help on the farm and they want boys for help.   Sometimes if a women would have a girl they would abandon the baby because it wasn't s boy.  That's why you usually adopt a girl from China and not a boy.

Our first stop was at the Novotel Hotel which took over 3 hours to arrive.  We stopped for a Chinese family style lunch.  There were 11 different items, fish, beef, duck, chicken, soup, rice, vegetables with mushroom, potato salad, green salad, cauliflower, bok chow.  It was a surprisingly good meal for hotel food.

We drove to Tiananmen Square.  The Telemann tower was first built in 1415, and the Square has since it falls and expanded to become a gathering place for hundreds of thousands of Chinese for celebrations and observations observances. The Square today has landmarks all around, such as,  The Great Hall of the People, The National Museum of China, The Monument to the People's Heroes and Chairman Mao's Memorial Hall.   We walked  on the square and had a group picture taken.  It is 122 acres and can hold 1/2 million people.  It was very windy.  We just lucked out because after we were there they were closing the square. Our guide said there must be some presidents in town.  She saw the Switzerland flag and a flag she didn't know.  We thought it might be Luxembourg as it had a lion on it with red and yellow.

The Forbidden City is located in the center of Beijing and was built between 1406 and 1420.   The Forbidden City was was off-limits to foreigners for hundreds of years.  There are 9999 buildings covering almost 8 million square feet. The city was home to emperors from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty and is revered as the heart of China.  We entered from the south entrance through the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which leads to the entrance at the Meridian Gate. We exited at the north through the Gate of Divine Might.  The gates, buildings, roofs and thrones were beautiful.  It was a huge place.  We ended up in the garden which was beautiful.

More interesting facts from Jo:

Most people's salary is approximately $900 per month.  No taxes are paid.  If you make more you start paying  a percent of taxes starting at 2%.  Doctors make most money.  Teachers made average salary but get gift cards from parents.  If you want teacher to give special treatment to your child you give a big gift. High school teachers also make money with tutoring.   1000 y&n for 1 hour with 2 hour minimum.

Bribery is big in China.  If you need surgery and want a special Doctor to perform your surgery you would bribe him.

Public servants make low salary but they get power from being an official.

We left at 5:09 PM for our bus ride back to the boat.  It took us over an hour to get out of the city of Beijing and onto the highway.  There traffic is really bad.  It was just like being on the 405 freeway.  We made one pit stop and then 1 stop for the bus driver to get diesel fuel.   He only fills up the tank for the trip he needs as there are thieves that will siphon off the gas when the bus is parked.

We arrived back to the pier at 8:20 PM.

We went and had some pasta at the Terrace Café. It was a long day but so exciting to see what Beijing was all about.

At 10:00 PM we set sail for Incheon, South Korea

Goodby Tianjin, China