The ferry trip from Incheon, Korea to Tianjin China was kind of like a trip back in time.
The ship seemed like it must have been one of the ones plying the Japan-Korea routes sometime back in the 1980s. It was clear that at one point it had been a handsome vessel, but by the time of our journey it was a bit rough around the edges. While it was in no way uncomfortable, the frayed carpets, antiquated artwork on the walls and a much louder, disorganised complement of passengers made this journey feel a little less classy than our previous ones (this impression was probably added t by the two small bottles of soju and one of Makgeoli that we drank the evening of the trip. In fact it was more the way my head felt when waking up on the ferry that added to the impression.)
One way or another the ferry got us where we were going. A little late, perhaps, but better late than never. When we got on land we took a 200m (literally! 200m!) bus ride to Chinese customs and immigration. We were the only obviously non Chinese/Korean passengers on board, which appeared to mean that we ended up at the front of the queue somehow, so in the end we were just under an hour late for meeting our couchsurfing host, Christine, who’d kindly offered to pick us up at the terminal. There had been no public phone on the boat, so we were very happy when a kindly policeman allowed us to use his to give her a call.
Our ferry pulls alongside in Tanggu harbour. Tanggu, the port of Tianjin appeared busier and bigger than Busan, Incheon, Fukuoka or Osaka. Not entirely surprising as it’s the nearest seaport to Beijing