CNY Holiday: Beijing-Tianjin-Beijing (with videos!)

A preview of some photos taken during our 4-day adventures:
From top: Marl & me in the train station; with friends at the ski resort;
with friends in Tianjin; and me on my skis! :)
We do work hard. But when we play, we do it hard, too! :) That's what happened with our friends in Tianjin. We even brought them to Beijing so we can continue having fun. Don't worry, I have documented everything on videos and photos which will be out real soon. But for the meantime, lemme blog about it. :)

DAY 1: Beijing - Tianjin - Tanggu
We've planned our Tianjin trip ever since we knew that we'd be having a 7-day holiday during the Chinese New Year. We have musician friends there whom we are really close to. So on Friday, Feb 4, we started our journey to Tianjin by getting on the fast train. Tianjin is only around 30 minutes from Beijing by train. But the problem was, we boarded the wrong train! LOL. It was going to downtown Tianjin, instead of Tanggu where our friends are playing at the Renaissance Hotel. Luckily, there's an MRT going to Tanggu which only costs RMB6/person.

So anyway, we reached the hotel by noontime and we were so eager to see and chit-chat with our friends Ronnie, Faye, and Sam. We had lunch at WeHa - a very long lunch it was. We went back to the hotel to chitchat some more, watched the movie "Fourth Kind" and rested during the early evening. We all woke up at 11PM and had dinner somewhere near their hotel before going to SOHO Bar to see our sister band, The Blocks. They were sooo happy to see us and so did we. As usual, they asked me and Marl to jam with them. But since we were still tired and Sam didn't feel well, we adjourned back to the hotel before 2AM. We just stayed in the room and watched the movie "Mirrors" until we fell asleep.

DAY 2: Tanggu - Tianjin
We all woke up by lunchtime, boarded the MRT, and hit the downtown for a late lunch. We had a very good meal in a mall and before sundown, we rushed to one of the tourist places called Italian Street which is actually a block of German bars, Italian Restaurants, clubs, and definitely felt like it was a European block. We had fun taking photos and videos there - we even danced in the middle of the alley (videos will be out soon)! LOL. Really had so much fun with Ronnie, Faye, and Sam. And even Marl really loosened up and made up the crazy pack! We then decided to do bar hopping and meet our other musician friends.

First, we went to Drir Kronen 1308 Restaurant where our sister band is playing. We surprised Elaine, Mark, and Ailyn before their first set. It was a quiet German bar, but we made the whole place loud and crazy by our crazy and funny antics. We also wore the PMAS (Philippine Musicians Association in Shanghai) T-shirt that our friend Moises gave us (Salamat kuya Moises!). We drank beer (yes, I did!) and had fun. They still had another set but promised that they'd follow us to our next destination.

Next, we went to the Sheraton Hotel Tianjin and met our sister band, a 3-piece band, playing there. It was my first time to meet Ann, Rose, and Mario. They gave us a bottle of tequila and a case of Tsingtao beer - I only drank the latter. We had so much fun laughing and dancing and jamming in their bar with our friends from Drir Kronen 1308, who followed us after their gig. After the band's last song, we decided to go to another place. The band also promised they'd follow us. The "crazy pack" was becoming bigger and bigger! :)

We then crossed the highway and a small bridge and reached one of the most famous joints in Tianjin -  Rainbow Club. It was a small pub filled with people and with a small stage where another sister band - a 5-piece band - was performing. It was great to see couple of the band members Kuya Enteng ang Kuya Boy Tiks who we haven't seen for 10 years! They have a gay singer named Mikey, who I have met before, and two beautiful singers named Kat and Jenny, who I haven't met before. We had so much fun dancing to the tunes in the corner, taking photos and videos, drinking beer, and just having a plain good fun with friends. Our crazy pack got bigger when the Sheraton band followed us. We failed to "recruit" the whole band of Rainbow Club to follow us to our next and last destination, but Mikey promised he'd follow us. Weeee!

We hailed 3 taxis and went to the most happening place in Tianjin - Sitong Bar. There was also an entertaining great band performing there, but we only know their band leader Omel, whom we have been close to during our Shanghai time (2000-2002). At this point, we were already tired but of course, we were still really having fun. Sam and I even danced infront of the stage like we were their groupies. LOL. Our crazy pack got officially bigger and it felt like a Filipino Night with all the Filipino musicians around us. And yes, we were still wearing the PMAS T-Shirt. :)

That officially ended our bar hopping but we all ended up going to Sitong Bar's band house where they cooked and we heartily ate. Some drank until the wee hours in the morning and laughed and chitchatted. In fact, when we left at 5AM, there were still lots of them left in the band house. We boarded the MRT back to Tanggu to go back to the hotel at 5:15AM.

While we were on the train, Marl suddenly felt something, like a surge of blood going up to his head and his hands felt cold and almost numb. We realized that he was having an attack unknown to us. We suspected it was hypertension and I just asked him to relax. When we went back to the hotel, we took his blood pressure and it was high. So I just asked him to relax and rest. We also took a rest and prepared for  our trip back to Beijing.

DAY 3: Tianjin - Beijing
We all woke up before lunch and the first thing I did was take Marl's blood pressure which was still up. In fact, it's his diastolic level that's really high. Sam and Faye decided to come back with us to Beijing so we can go to more places and have more fun. We went to Zhongguancun - the electronic city in Beijing but most of the shops were still closed.  Unfortunately, Marl couldn't join us as he needed to take a rest. When we went back to the hotel, we were really tired and took a rest in the early evening. We all woke up at 11PM and had dinner at a nearby restaurant and chitchatted until 3AM.

DAY 4: Beijing Ski Resort
We got up at 9AM and waited for Anita, who'd be coming from the other side of the city, and Elaine, who'd be coming from Tianjin. Again, Marl wasn't feeling too well and needed to rest. Soon enough after past 10AM, they both arrived and we took a cab to the subway station. With a tour leader who's easily lost in directions like me, we had quite an adventure. LOL. We took the subway train and then a bus going to the nearest ski resort from Beijing, Wanlong Bayi Ski Resort. We paid RMB140/each for the ski equipment rental and RMB10 for a locker. A deposit of RMB200 with passport was required, too.

When we wore our ski boots, we started laughing already. Faye said we walked like Robocop! Hahaha! In fact, all I did in the video was laugh in the background. When we finally got on our skis, I swear I could have died from laughing at that time. Because none of us have ever skied in our entire lives before, we had difficulty in moving. It was a really a huge effort to lift the heavy ski boots and skis just to take a small single step. With funny people around me, I really had fun just laughing and standing on my skis! LOL. After around 10 minutes, we learned how to "move" and opted for the small slope to ski downwards. But the funny thing was, going to the small slope was like a 5-minute effort, and skiing down only took around 20-30 seconds! LOL. There was a conveyor taking up to the beginners' slope and I accidentally fell on the conveyor. I couldn't get up so I just laughed and laughed while it was dragging me up. The operator immediately stopped the conveyor and helped me up. I actually realized later that it was a bad thing to fall on a conveyor as my hair might get stuck on it. Whew! Anyway, the fun continued once I was up and we all just laughed about it. In fact, a local Chinese guy took a video of me falling on the conveyor - I hope it won't end up on Youtube or America's funniest videos. LOL. We took photos and videos of each other, mocked around, and just had the best bonding time ever! But we weren't able to finish the 2-hour allotment because we got really tired. Our arms and legs were really sore after that. It's not that easy to actually ski. One really needs to have strong arms and legs to do such sports. But I agree that it was quite a great experience. :)

We went back to the subway station by bus and we decided to have dinner at Anita's place. After 2 hours of long journey by subway, we finally reached her apartment,  where Darren - her bandmate and another fun friend to be with - cooked a sumptuous dinner for our hungry tummies. We rested for awhile before going to the Swing Bar in Sanlitun Bar Street. We listened to a Filipino band while having a beer and the best part of the night - hookah shisha in strawberry flavor! I had so much fun and got really excited when the shisha was placed on our table. The first and last time I did it was with Novak Djokovic and his team during the China Open 2009. We tried to enjoy the evening but we were really tired and decided to go back to the hotel and rest.

I must say that I've had so much fun during the past four days. It was great to really laugh again and have fun with the people you enjoy being with. To the bands we've seen and been with in Tianjin, a big thank you for all the fun! And to our dear friend Ronnie, Faye, Samanta, Elaine, Anita, and Darren, you know I love you for joining us in our adventures. It was really great to have friends like you around... ALAK PAHHHHH! LOL





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