The Beautiful City of Tianjin’s Ancient Culture Street

The Beautiful City of Tianjin’s Ancient Culture Street

Mid Autumn Festival is a harvest holiday here in China. We had a day off from our teaching and decided to take a fast train to Tianjin, about a half-hour away from Beijing at over 200 mph. The city was surprisingly beautiful with new, modern buildings and older “concession” buildings which were built by various European nations that gained control of the port city after the Opium wars in China. We first visited Ancient Culture Street, a large area that has preserved the old Chinese culture.

Street Vendors


Monkey King is back


Typical shops


Shopping Ancient Culture Street


The art of Paper Cutting


Old Versus the New


Adventures are more fun with friends. Ruthann Martin is a fellow teacher at CFAU. She’s from South Africa.


This man was playing an old instrument (Er Hu, or two-stringed instrument) to entice us into the shop


Pineapple or Rice? They know how to make their rice sweet and delicious. We are not used to healthy snacks


The art of making porridge includes hot water that comes from a big tea cup. Mike Martin in foreground.


You have to enjoy the statues everywhere!


They do like their pancakes . . .but not what we would expect


This is homemade candy. They can create any shape you would like.



April 2018 — Llama Temple

If you ever have just an hour or two and want to see a beautiful Buddhist temple, try the Llama Temple (or Yong He Gong). It is perfect, but not too large to see in a hurry.

You can tell how important a building is by the number of little roof animals there are to protect it. Literally, an 8-animal roof means the building was especially important . . possibly where the emperor himself would come.



April 2018 — A Marriage Market

Because wannabe grandparents are so anxious for their children to find a mate, they come by the thousands every weekend to JongShan Park next to the Forbidden City and advertize for a mate for their son or daughter. In the rural areas, there are 30-40 million too many men, due to the 1979 one-child policy and rural families believing a son is better than a daughter. Now, there are no women to marry in the countryside. In the cities, it’s not that way, but young men and young women are not getting married and producing those precious grandchildren.

It so happens that a famous LDS landmark exists exactly where the marriage market takes place. The tree under which David O. McKay offered a dedicatory prayer, was right in the thick of the action. When we single adult advisers took our single men and women to the park to see the tree, little did we know we were taking them to a marriage market.

At our apartment are Kevin Earl, Paul, Sabrina, Eketzel, Emily, Charles and Wei Su (also Laraine in the middle) We love these people!

The famous tree. Take no notice of all the activity around the tree — the buying and selling of marriage aged children.

Listening to a reading of the description of the area in historic records while fending off curious bystanders who wonder if we have brought eligible marriage candidates.

These “ads” include a son or daughter’s height, weight, skills, education level, etc. After taking this picture, these men were anxious to see if I was married and where I was from. When I told them I was American and that my wife was over “yonder,” they lost interest. I don’t know if it was being American or being married that turned them away.

Imagine the dedication of these parents who bring these ads every week.

They all look eligible for marriage, right? These are some of the YSA’s and singles from our Branch

Chuck with the Bennetts, District President and wife.