Our second day in Tianjin wasn’t as exciting at the first, but what could really top a Chinese bath house?! My experience there was similar to David’s, except that I had some guidance from Candy and her sister. I have also been in love with steam rooms since my co-worker Lisa first introduced me about a year ago, and I also visited the steam rooms at the bath house. They were definitely hot enough for my liking, but not as comfortable as home. The set-up included small marble stools to sit on, the ceiling was dripping water from small stalactites on the ceiling, and there were plants and a pond inside. It was dim so you couldn’t see if the area was clean or not…and I was mostly afraid to move. As David mentioned, the dinner was awesome, and I would give anything to have pictures of all of these adults eating dinner in silk robes!

Experiences like this make me realize how opposite Western and Eastern culture are in many ways. There are many social formalities in China, like denying tips to avoid being seen a begger, giving business cards with two hands, and standing up when answering a teacher’s question out of respect, that would be considered highly rude if not dealt with correctly. However, when it comes to nudity and friendly touching, the Chinese are much more liberal with their actions. I can’t imagine chatting nude with my new co-worker and her sister at a spa in America and thinking nothing of it. When mentioning this to my friend Jenny, she humorously commented, “So that’s why the Chinese women are always the ones walking around the locker room nude!” There is also a lot more hand-holding and general contact between members of the same sex here, and although I’m still getting used to this closeness, I like the bond and trust it automatically creates.

Anyway, on our second day in Tianjin we had lunch with Candy, her sister, and her sister’s finance at a restaurant with typical food from the city of Xi’an. Ling Ling/Claudia also bought a large watermelon from the street, which we all ate with spoons at the table. After saying our goodbyes, David, Candy and I headed to the Tianjin amusement park, where we fed fish (Candy chewed some of Tianjin’s famous Ma Hua bread and spit out pieces for the “little fish” which was hilarious) and rode on the ferris wheel. We stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up some peanut butter, cereal and granola bars, and headed back to Tangshan on the train. Sadly, we left the bag of goodies ON THE TRAIN (waaaah) but we did chat with some locals (via Candy’s translation) on the way back. The thing that most of the Chinese here cannot comprehend is why we left America to come to China if we aren’t making more money and don’t like China better than America. We try to explain that we would like to learn as much about all of the world as possible, but they are mostly confused by this answer or think we are lying about our salaries. After all Confucius did say, “He who will not economize will have to agonise.”…but we have to hope that following our hearts will lead to some type of economization in the future!

When we arrived back in Tangshan we ate dinner at our favorite Uighur restaurant, and received a call from David and Millie to join them for dumplings. So, we ate again…and headed to our first K-TV (karaoke bar). Although we always thought that K-TV would be similar to a karaoke bar in the US, it’s very different. You pay by the hour for a private room, where you and your friends can order drinks and light food. There isn’t a big stage with a group of people in front…it’s just like the small, windowless room like in the movie Lost in Translation. Overall it was enjoyable because it was our first time and with friends, but we can’t quite understand the rage, especially since they don’t play the actual music videos, but show poorly made, 80’s looking Chinese versions of the songs.

I am also proud to announce that we have hit some major landmarks:
*Our blog has received over 10,000 hits
*Tomorrow will be our 100th day in China

As requested, our next entry will detail more of our teaching and daily schedule…