© 2010 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated Kobe to Tianjin

Kobe to Tianjin 6th-7th November

We had over 30 hours to go when we woke up the following morning ready for our complimentary breakfast. Although the food announcements were made in English it seemed that the Chinese announcement was always much earlier, so by the time we arrived at the canteen they were already tucking in and the food left our for us was a little lukewarm. So we decided we would turn up for food 10-15 minutes before the scheduled timings and low and behold the food was always a little hotter and we were there at the same time as everyone else. For breakfast though we shouldn’t have bothered and on the second day Helen opted for porridge that we brought with us, whilst Dave had the left over cereal. We did have a few bowls and spoons with us which helped on the self-catering side. Chinese breakfast on the Yanjing consisted of Chinese porridge which is like a soupy rice and on this occasion flavourless broth, accompanied with some eggs that looked like they’d been boiled weeks ago. The fruit wasn’t free but was a good bonus to this poor meal. It would be good to experience Chinese porridge whilst we stay in China so that we don’t only have this experience to go by.

The only full day we had on the boat saw us catch up on our editing and writing whilst in between doing some more research and reading for China. We would pop out every so often to get some sea air on deck and noticed that the weather was changing. Leaving the calm seas of Japan led us out into some low-visibility conditions where we felt we were literally in the middle of no-where. The temperature up top had also dropped, but it was dry and we could still get outside as the sea was still calm.

We had bought a series of Peep Show, Misfits and The Hangover Movie from i-Tunes before we left Japan, however we didn’t authorise them on the laptop, so when we realised that we wouldn’t be able to watch them on the boat (no internet to authorise) we resorted back to more editing, writing and podcasts we already have. Still we did remember about the table tennis room and after hiring bats and a ping pong ball we had a few games following our own made up rules…Dave won best of 3 but Helen was starting to feel giddy due to the lack of oxygen down that part of the boat (excuses!) we were certainly better than the Chinese guys playing next to us!! Beth and Rick were busy writing but later on we arranged to meet them for another “tasty” Yanjing dinner followed by some more card games. We picked up a few more games for our travels that hopefully we’ll pass on and play with others, especially now Helen has written down the rules.

In between our working and walking around the ship we would photograph parts of the boat as there was always something to document. From the rescue boats, piping, old rope, left chairs, signs and the worn interior to the guests on board playing cards, learning their dance moves and posing for photos on deck. It was worth doing this journey for the content we have captured. A little like being in a Carry on Film at times! The staff who were all dressed in uniform aimlessly pursued jobs that didn’t really exist. We did watch one girl clean the upstairs area over and over again eventually she was tested for the cleanliness of the space, the finger test was complete and she seemed to pass with flying colours. Why they didn’t pay this kind of attention to the wash and toilet areas was beyond us.

On our final day on the boat we looked forward to arriving at the port in Tianjin at around 2pm. Our own supplied breakfast did the trick and we did manage some more editing and writing followed by another walk on deck. It had certainly become our little home for a few days but it was definitely time to leave. We noticed that the Chinese guests were dressed and ready for the arrival many having been in tracksuits and pyjamas for a few days. Bags were already starting to pile up next to the exit door in the lobby area. We still had a fair few hours left though so we weren’t in a rush to pack just yet. We had great pleasure in photographing some ladies practising Tai chi and ballroom dancing upstairs for an hour and they loved the fact that we wanted to photograph them. They all seemed to really enjoy their time on the ferry and the endless episodes of a Chinese soap opera had definitely kept most people enthralled for at least half a day. Apparently they even had it on full blast in the dorms for the entirety of the night, oh how special class did us proud.

Getting closer to the port we traveled through hundreds of anchored trawler, container and fishing boats, it was really surreal traveling through the middle of this and felt a little like no-mans land. The wind up on the very top deck was immense, Helen had to run through it to avoid being blown over. Close to the front was Beth, Rick and JP all enjoying the blast so we joined them in what felt a little like being on a roller coaster; arms in the air facing the sea at the front of the boat, hair standing up on end due to the blast of the wind. It felt amazing and pretty invigorating, Dave snapped away as our mouths were shaped by the wind.

We were ready to leave and the boat eventually got into Tianjin port at around 2.30pm. After we got off the boat we passed through passport control and stepped out to the front of the building only to by hounded by taxi drivers pushing us into their cabs. We travelled with Beth and Rick to the station in Tianjin which is a good 40 minute journey from the port. This was our first experience of Chinese driving and the manic layout of the roads in this area, something I’m sure we will get used to but after a 48 hour boat journey we weren’t quite ready for. We met up with JP at the station and we all boarded the high speed bullet train to Beijing south station together. Arriving at Beijing south we said our goodbyes to our Yanjing travel buddies and decided to get the tube to our stop as it was right on the same line as the train station.

We looked at the underground map and used the ticket machine to select where we wanted to go. It came up as 4 Yuan for two tickets which equals 40p, we were not sure if this was correct as it seemed so cheap! Xisi was our stop on line 4 and the hostel was not too far to walk from here so we jumped on the subway. We were booked into a hostel in the heart of the hutong area and when we eventually found the place in a dimly lit street, we were informed that they could upgrade us to their Templeside lodgings which is their luxury house a few streets away for no extra charge. It sounded like an offer we couldn’t refuse so our host walked us through the streets to Templeside and showed us to our room. Once again we have been spoiled on this trip, the room was huge with a bed twice the size of any standard double. It felt a little like some of the furnishings had been taken from Neverland, especially the fittings in the bathroom. The only downside was the drain smell. Something again I think we will be getting used to during our stay here.

We ordered some great Chinese food that was delivered to the hostel and certainly expelled the taste of any food we had eaten on the boat. We asked the hostel to ring the owner of the apartment we are moving to and we arranged a pick up for the next morning at 10.30am. Time to head to bed for our first nights sleep in Beijing.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

Related posts that may be of interest to you:

  1. Japan – Kobe to Tianjin Day One 5th November So the day has arrived to leave Japan and it’s time to live a cheaper life in China. We got up early and packed our...
  2. Japan – Osaka 4th November We woke up to another morning of blue skies and broad sunlight, funny that it all comes as you’re about to leave! We had the...
  3. Japan – Kyoto 1st November Along the train line towards Nara are some recommended walks and world heritage temples to explore. They’re a little further away from the tourist crowds...
  4. New Zealand – Auckland – 7th/8th November Our Qantas trans-pacific flight was easy enough with over five hours of sleep to pass the time and the obligatory movie or two. We all...

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>