Saturday, October 18, 2008


We've been in Beijing since Thursday. Our dear friends from Knoxville made the huge trip over the North Pole to visit us so we decided to show them as much of China as we can in 10 days.

We flew in Thursday and went to the Temple of Heaven, which is a temple (well, duh) with a really nice park around it. It's my friend Sharon's favorite part of Beijing because when she was there a few weeks ago there were old people dancing to traditional Chinese music, doing tai chi and playing mah jong. Basically it's where you see Chinese people doing Chinese-y things. Unfortunately, we got there too late in the day to see all that cool stuff, so we just saw the temple. Ah, well.

Friday we went to the Great Wall of China. Amazing. Spectacular. Really, really cool. And a whole lotta exercise. Steps galore and towers to climb. They were shooting a video up there which was cool to watch.

Everywhere we go people comment on how many children there are all in one place - 6! I hear "lio haizi!" so many times. Many, many people stop us to take photos of our kids. We've really gotten mobbed a few times. The kids are handling it well, though, and it's kind of fun for my friends' daughters.

We also went to a cloisonne factory to learn about that detailed and painstaking process, and a jade market. Christmas shopping!

We went to the Hard Rock Cafe, which is the nicest HRC I've ever been to! Had a fantastic dinner there and great music to listen to. A little slice of normal...

Today we went to the Forbidden City, which is vast and beautiful and ornate and waaaaaay too much walking. We took a bus to get there and tried to take a bus back but kept getting turned around and missing our connections. Finally ended up in a couple taxis - there are 10 of us altogether.

Tomorrow we'll have a nice breakfast at the hotel - the Holiday Inn Central Plaza, which I highly recommend - and pack and head back home to Shekou. Looking forward to getting back to my bed and my shower and my kitchen!

We've had a really great time and I'll try to post some photos when we get home and I can hook my camera up to the computer.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Normal stuff you see in China

Typical street in China - shops and restaurants on the bottom level, apartments above.

Typical shop full o'stuff. These are everywhere, with apartments above them with laundry hanging on each balcony.

Typical menu at a local restaurant. Just point at what you want if you can't speak Chinese, and hope it's something you recognize!

Many business set up right on the street - you can get tailor work done or shoe repair just by walking up to the people who set up shop on the sidewalk.

There are many little restaurants with plastic tables and chair set up on the sidewalk or street - they are usually packed with people at night. People just sit and hang out, eat, drink, smoke, leave their trash on the ground and somebody else comes up and sweeps it all away by morning.

Many, many foot massage places in China. Foot massages are a cheap treat and very popular with local Chinese as well as foreigners like us.
Some have very well-dressed women at the entrance to make people want to come in and get a foot massage. It's also normal to see people in eveningwear just going out shopping or to lunch or even up the mountain. People wear just about anything to do everything - if you have fancy clothes, you wear them, you don't save them for special occasions.

This is how our pizza and other food items get delivered - by electric bike!

Signs and Spooky Stuff

There are signs like this all over the place. One says "Empty Talk Endangers The Nation".

Aaaagh! Where does the time go, anyhow?

Let's see...yesterday my friend Sharon and I went to Hong Kong. I really needed to get my hair done so I went to an expensive Aveda salon, thinking that SURELY they would know what to do with my hair. Hmmmmmm...yeah. I wanted the color Fabulous Stacey always makes my hair and I showed them the color on the chart. They convinced me that I needed to go darker than that or it would wash out in two weeks. Well, my hair is DARK RED now and I hate it. I almost started crying right there in the fancy-ass salon. Supposedly in two weeks it will be the color I want it to be but I'm not believing that right now. Waah.

We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe but they were all tricked out for Halloween. Chinese don't really get that Halloween can be fun - they make it really, really scary and gross. Not good in a restaurant to see blood and guts and horror everywhere, and I refuse to take the kids there during October. Luckily I know better than to bring them there again until after Halloween. There is no moderation here for scary - no "fun" scary like cute skeletons and witches and bats - just blood and gore and really, truly scary stuff. Sharon lived in Sweden for 14 years and she was saying that Europe is very similar to Asia in that respect. The countries that have adopted Halloween really take it overboard on creepy. Too bad. All the dusty decoration stuff they put up also makes me sneeze.

Then we went to check out a tattoo place. We had looked in China but found dirty shops that - eu - re.use.needles. Yuck and HOW SCARY IS THAT! So we looked online and found a shop that uses only new, clean needles up to U.S. standards. We stopped by there yesterday and found cool designs we want to get, and made appointments to have it done. Yippee! Sharon's getting her first tattoo on Monday and I really wish I could be there with her but I'll be otherwise occupied. Mine won't be until October 27. I'll post a picture. Actually, I probably won't post a picture because I always say stuff like that but I DON'T do it. Sorry. I am sure it will be awesome and you'll just have to trust me on that, ha ha!

Tomorrow night our dear friends from Knoxville are coming. We are so excited to show them China. We'll go to Beijing next week and see the Great Wall of China, which is truly amazing, and the Forbidden Palace, and the really famous Peking Duck Restaurant. I'll take them to the wet market and to Lowhu, that awful, harrassing market where they yell and grab and push their cheap junk aggressively. We'll take them for nails and massages and maybe even up the mountain. The girls will come to my kids' school in grade-appropriate classrooms for a day. I'm really excited about this! Hopefully I'll take a bunch of photos and post can believe that if you want to.