Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A quick update, then I'll tell you about the baby

Surviving in China is really, really hard.  Surviving in China with a new baby is nearly impossible!  But I wanted to blog since this is my journal and I want to remember everything. 

My last post was a bit of a downer. Sorry. 

That night (Saturday) we went for Peking Duck at a place we saw on the food network.  Our hotel called and made a reservation and told us it would be 198 yuan for the 4 of us, which is $34.  We took a taxi and showed up to a dump (we knew it would be from the TV show).  The duck was OK.  They carve it up at your table and then you wrap it in little crepes with green onion and a sauce.  It also came with some side dishes, a few of which were raw veggies.  We were told not to eat anything that was not cooked so we didn't dare eat the uncooked ones so that left us with only a couple of things. We have since been told that we should just eat everything but avoid the water only.  We are becoming a little more daring and have not been sick yet.  The bill came to over $70.  We tried to argue but to no avail.  They see us tourists coming and the prices triple. 

Just follow the ducks down the alley...

Sometimes you have to wait in the alley for a table.  We went early so no one was there.

The Entrance

What the DUCK?!

Digging in to a mystery vegetable!  Sharon looks skeptical.

We let Zack have sprite pretty much with every meal, I am hoping the carbonation kills any germs he eats!

My big legs wouldn't fit under the table.

The chef carves it up for you.

There is not much meat on a duck.  We could have eaten two!

Mmmmm!  We like duck!

After dinner, we went back to the hotel to catch our transport to the theatre.  I guess their definition of an "air conditioned bus" is a van with the windows rolled down and 12 people crammed in. Ha!

We chose the Kung Fu show because we have already seen Chinese Acrobats.  It was OK, but a little cheesy.  The rest of the family really enjoyed it.

The star of the show.  Zack was embarrassed for him that he had to sit there before the show.

The Cast

After the theater we went back to WangfuJin street because I wanted to get the experience while I wasn't having a nervous breakdown.  It's amazing what hormonal balance will do for you.  There were these "candied apples" I have seen in movies that I wanted to try so I got some.  They look like mini apples.  They were... weird.  I liked the candy coating though.  Zack and Steve both got daring and ordered some fear factor food.  Steve ate a fried scorpion and Zack ate a seahorse.  Steve liked the scorpion but they didn't like the seahorse.  Sharon got some bread stuffed with veggies.

Candied apple things.

The entrance to Wangfujin Street.  It was a really small, crowded ally surrounded by big modern stores.

The next day was Sunday and we got up and packed for leaving.  We really enjoyed our authentic Chinese hotel in the hutong.  The breakfast buffet was also really good every morning.

The breakfast buffet at the hotel.

There were about 6 tables in the dining room.

After packing we had some time so we walked around the streets of the hutong for a while.  There are so many funny sights in a hutong.  Basically the "street" is a little ally way that one car can fit down.  There are people walking, bikes riding, scooters scooting and cars squeezing in between them all.  The cars go really fast too.  While walking around the hutong you might see people working in shops, people sitting on steps, people digging through overflowing garbage cans, people sorting veggies on the ground, people cooking food in giant woks, people going potty (there are neighborhood toilets on every street and the doors are open and there are just 4 squatters in a row with no stalls, I was going to get a picture but every time I tried I ended up walking in on someone going).  The things you might smell are fish, garbage, sewage, dust from the piles of rubble lying everywhere, and cooking meat.  The things you might hear are people yelling at each other, beep beep of the bicycles about to run you over, construction and demolition sounds, and horns honking.  Another funny thing I saw that I forgot to get a picture of was veggies of some sort hanging out all along a laundry line to dry.  I guess I shouldn't take my salad spinner for granted!

I think this was the police station in our hutong.

This door in the alley was open and we got a peek inside some one's home.  Not sure if it is one family home or several.


The gym.

Another peek into someones turf.

The narrow alley, not room for 2 cars to pass each other.  The building on the R with the three windows is a public bathroom.

Most people walk or ride bikes and they have little bells on the bikes to warn you to get out of the way.

We had a nice ride to the airport by some taxi's that the hotel hired for us.  They promised that they were good drivers and they were, although I could tell me and my moms driver was annoyed at having to go so slow!

Lunch at the airport, yummy noodles.

We arrived in Kunming around 8:00 pm and had our adoption guide waiting for us at the airport with a van and driver.  It was nice not to have to worry about finding a taxi and communicating.  I am actually really surprised at how little English is spoken in China.  Not that I am complaining, I know I am in another country and should not expect them speak English.  I just thought there would be more English speakers, and it is super hard to communicate. We were so excited to eat the food but have found that unless we go to a restaurant that has pictures on the menu, there is no way to order ANYTHING, even a soda.

A little about our guide. His name is Paul.  He is 28 years old.  After that first day of meeting him, I thought I might end up kicking his butt.  He is bossy and his manner of communication leaves much to be desired.  After 3 half days spent with him, I think we are understanding each other now.  Also our shopping excursion today, bartering together at the market really brought us together.  I told him we make a great team and he practically beamed.  Oh, and when I finally thought to tell him that I was a baby nurse, he stopped telling me how to take care of Daisy. Should have thought of that sooner.

Kunming is a bit cleaner than Beijing, and the weather is much cooler.  Also, people stare way more but that may be because we now have a Chinese baby with us.  Today at lunch, all the workers literally lined up 5 feet from our table and just stood there staring and talking about us.  Zack started to cry.  He just couldn't take it anymore.  Then Steve blatantly stared back at them and all the girls laughed but they kept right on staring.  Sometimes when we are walking down the street people will come right up and stare in your face and then touch Daisy.  I don't mind because I know they are curious about the baby so I just smile and say Ni Hao (hello).  Then they try to talk to me in Chinese and I say English only and they nod and walk away.

Our hotel rooms were big.

Nice soft bed.

Dinning area.

The view from Sharon and Zack's room.

Bridge in Kunming.

Well, that is it for catching you up!  I will post about the baby in my next post.  Right now my mom needs to email my dad because he is missing her sooooo much!  Poor dad!

1 comment:

Angela Maddock said...

Can't wait for details about Daisy! Will be checking your blog a lot. Please hurry :) You are doing a great job of describing everything. I can almost smell China from here!