Monday, June 3, 2013

China Day Twenty and Twenty One - Photos of China

We are exactly 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time here.   As I write this it is 5am, Tuesday morning, but it’s 5pm, Monday afternoon at home.   We have three more days here (T, W and Th).  Friday, we fly to Beijing and then to Dulles (in VA).  Because of the time zones, that last flight will take approximately one hour, since we will leave Beijing at 7pm China time and arrive in the states at 8pm EST on that same Friday  (oh, the complications of living on a sphere).

Anyway, when we adopted in Costa Rica and Ukraine, everything was topsy turvy.  You never knew what was going to happen next.  We planned to stay for about two weeks in each country and we were in Costa Rica for a month and in Ukraine for two months.  At any time, an official may or may not want to meet this week, or show up for his/her appointment, or sign your adoption papers etc. etc.  Here in China, we are enjoying the opposite experience.  Everything is happening according to an iron-clad agenda.  There are Americans everywhere, all adopting Chinese kids and all going through the same assembly-line-type week.  We’ve made friends with a bunch of families who are not even using the same adoption agency or staying in the same hotel as us, but we see them everywhere since everyone’s on the same schedule.   

All the days here are essentially the same.  We wake early and send Bill off to exercise.  Then we all hit the breakfast buffet in the hotel (and try not to stuff ourselves) and meet about five other families for morning touring.  We come back about noon for lunch in our hotel room and naptime, then we wander around the city looking for a restaurant that is both clean and affordable for dinner.  By the time we get back to our hotel, it’s usually time for bed.  The few variations that get thrown in here are Bill lugging me along to exercise with him, trips to wal-mart, swimming in the hotel pool or doing laundry in the hotel bathtub. 

On Sunday, our tour was to a local Buddhist temple. It was a 500 year old temple made of four large buildings surrounding a well-kept courtyard.  It was essentially a tourist trap.  Each building held a different kind of Chinese craft for sale: calligraphy, silk, embroidery, jewelry, painted bowls etc. etc.  It was a comical mix of old architecture and new capitalism. 

This was my favorite photo of the day. It’s a soda machine that is at the end of a corridor between two of the buildings. Such scenes make me happy. I don’t know why. 

After the temple, we hit a sort of shopping mall that sold jewelry.  It was huge, four stories high and just rows and rows of jewelry.  I’m not into jewelry, so we went to McDonalds.

This is just one wall of a pearl store.  It had three walls like this and there were at least twenty similar stores.
On Monday, we went to another Buddhist temple that was actually a temple.  I didn’t know this, but there are many Buddahs, each with his own purpose, so this was many buildings filled with many different Buddahs.   

At the last building, there was a Buddhist priest available to bless the children.  We declined.   I can’t help getting annoyed at stuff like this.  Buddhism is the largest religion in China and these people are the ones who were planning to essentially neglect my babies during their formative years, if not longer, and you think I want a religious leader from such a culture to give my child a blessing? 

After that, we went to a spice market.  This was also huge, but rather than a multi-story mall, it was just rows and rows of city streets filled with little shops of spices and pots and …bugs. 

We spent the morning looking for a deep fried scorpion for Paul to eat (I’m going to spare you my thoughts on the Bucket lists of 14 year old boys).   We failed at this.  All we found were live scorpions.  ZiXuan, who wanted me to carry her the whole time, saw a huge vat of scorpions and wanted down.  She went right over to them.  If I hadn’t grabbed her, I think she would have put her hand right into the bowl. 


Both days, we came back to the hotel about 1:00 and napped until dinner time.  The heat here just sucks the life out of us.  It’s in the 90’s which wouldn’t be horrible, but the humidity is stifling and by the time we get back to the hotel, everyone hits the hay for at least two hours. 

We usually eat out at a local restaurant.  Sunday night, we hit a popular Chinese spot.  It was jam packed and, honestly, the food was great, but the staring at QingBei is just so hard to endure, we went to an American Coffee Shop Monday night.  This is ZiXuan, discovering ketchup. 


That is pretty much our days here.  Three more, and then we head home. 

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