Our own hotel room was in a new section built in the late 1980s, when a new lobby was created with that mural of early Tianjin seen above. We joined up with some fellow passengers from the boat who were also staying there and received a personal tour by the hotel concierge of the historic 1886 part of the hotel, including two amazing rooms.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Our second major destination was the other church the Germans put up, of course a Lutheran one. And sure enough, there were several sets of brides and grooms round and about, but something was a little different here -- by golly, they were actually getting married! As we entered the church on the heels of a newly-blessed couple, we heard that another wedding would occur shortly. Hmmm, why not stay and see what a wedding in China is like? Soon enough the flower girl we had seen before entering was marching up the aisle with a flower boy, the bride and the bride's father, marching to something by Handel. The service lasted 15-20 minutes, much of which was in the form of a homily by the minister and then the familiar words of attachment -- at least, we assumed they were -- and then the choir sang a hymn, the couple bowed deeply to the choir, and out walked China's newest married couple. We looked at each other and said, this Chinese wedding was a more typical American wedding than our own!
Our final port call before we disembark in Tianjin was the next day, in Dalian. We visited here in May 2009, and you can revisit our photos and commentary from that visit by going to http://redtandem.blogspot.com/2009/07/two-smaller-stops-dalian-and-jeju.html. Since that visit, Jeff's son Matt plus his wife Akiko and son Tyler have come here on a work assignment from Citibank. The Diamond Princess did not give us a long time to visit, but it was precious all the same.
After our play date at the apartment, we headed off for, of course, some Chinese food. We were joined, as we were in the apartment, by Akiko's visiting Uncle Motoi. We didn't know it at the time, of course, but it proved to be one of the best meals we had in China.