Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monday the 6th

Today, we woke up and ate a delicious breakfast our our hotels buffet.  They had made to order omelets, tons of fruit, pastries, Chinese food, cereal, rice, bacon and juice.  It was the first really good breakfast we had had since Japan.

After breakfast, we headed out in a taxi to see the Six Banyon Trees Temple.  It was cool but we were disappointed to find out that you could no longer climb up the temple to take in the views.  It has become some kind of official historical site so they closed it up.  We walked around the grounds, saw some shrines, smelled lots of incense and got stared at some more.

Statues at the entrance to the temple, there were two on each side and they were very colorful and interesting.

The Six Banyon Trees Temple.  It is old and tipping over so no one is allowed to go inside anymore.

It was rebuilt in 1097, appears to have 9 stories from the outside but really has 17 stories on the inside.  Too bad we couldn't prove it by climbing it!

There were a lot of shrines on the temple grounds and a lot of burning incense.

On the way in to the temple there were a lot of beggars outside and Zack let me know that he wanted to give his money to some of them.  I thought that was really cute.  Problem was, if you gave to one, the others would mob you.  We had to make a quick get away.

After that we walked to a park which housed the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.  Mr Sun was the head of Nationalist government in 1923.  Chinese history is very confusing to me but I think this was around the time communism started up.  We walked around the park for a while, drinking our Coke Slurpee's, and then we took a taxi back to our hotel because we were meeting Ann of Red Thread to go shopping.

The Sun Yat Sen Memorial in a really pretty park.

A really cool, old tree in the park.  We couldn't resist having Zack pose in it's roots, they were huge!

I was told on one of the on line forums that you could hire this Ann to take you shopping.  I was all for it but worried that Steve would give me grief for paying someone to help me spend money.  But, after my fragile state the last few days I think he decided anything that would make me chill out a little would be good.  We met her in our lobby at 2:00 and she is the cutest little thing!  I thought she would be older because she owns her own business (she sends care packages to the orphanages and gets updates for adoptive parents before they travel.)  She was in her 20's and all of 75 pounds with energy like the energizer bunny!  Before we left I had the foresight to rent a stroller.  I think it was about $2 a day from a little store down the street.  Best idea ever.

Tired, sweaty baby strapped to a tired sweaty mama.  Time for a stroller!

We all piled into a taxi and we were off.  I told her before we left what I was interested in buying.  Pearls, jade, clothes for the baby (traditional Chinese clothes) and some general souvenirs.  She took us first to the pearl market.  There is a certain section of town where all the pearl vendors are and a good portion of them are housed in a big mall.  Floors and floors of booth after booth full of pearls, beads and every jewelry making piece you could ever want.  Oh that I had a whole day to spend here!  Alas, there was only time for pearls.  I got a necklace, bracelet and rings for Daisy and I each.  Hopefully they were the good quality that I was told they were.  I will give Daisy her bracelet on her 16th birthday, her ring on her 18th and her necklace when she gets married (hopefully not till she is at least 25).  I also got extra pearls to make earrings with.  My mom also got some pearls.  They were sold in strands and I bought 3 strands and then we waited while they strung them up for us and mounted the pearls into the rings.

This is the only picture of our shopping excursion, I think from Zack's camera and it is really bad quality.  But, you can see the rolls of pearls at one of the shops in the pearl market on the right.

Next we were off to the Jade district not too far away.  I wanted a jade bangle but the man Ann buys from did not have any big enough to fit over my man hands.  They even pulled out a plastic baggie to put on my hand and then tried to jam it on but the only way those bangles were getting on my arm was if I broke my hand first!  Boo.  But I bought one for Daisy to wear when she gets a little older.

After this disappointment, we went and bought some stretchy jade bracelets to give as gifts and such.  At least I can wear one of these!

As were were leaving the maze of jade booths to go find some souvenirs, we were winding our way through, trying to keep up with Ann and realized Zack was suddenly missing.  (Literally he was right there one second and then gone the next.)  We ran back the direction we had come and all these Chinese vendors were standing around pointing the direction we should go.  They knew the white haired child wandering around by himself must have belonged to us!  We found him quickly and reminded him the rule to stay put if he's lost.  He was not happy to have been lost!

Some cats just hangin' out on the ice cream freezer in a store.  I don't think that would fly with the health department in the U.S.!

Next it was off to find souvenirs of tigers (me and Daisy are both the year of the tiger - yea!) and dragons and chopsticks and other fun things.

Lastly we headed over to a giant mall to buy Daisy some clothes.  Unfortunately the store Ann uses was closed because it was a holiday.  She quickly made some calls and found a store on another level that would work and we raced up there before they closed.  We were able to buy Daisy a Chinese dress to wear every year until she is grown.  I don't know if she will always want to wear them, but they are cute for pictures and literally only cost $4 usd each! (They probably won't last more than one wearing anyway, ha!)  They we all got some Chinese clothes!  Yea!

By this time it had been about 4 hours of racing after Ann and we all felt tired.  We asked Ann to recommend some food places and she told us about a Dim Sum place to try for lunch the next day and then we got in the cab to go back home.  On the way we asked her if she would like to dine with us, she declined but recommended some places.  They when we were almost to the island she told us she would take us to a secret restaurant on the island that only locals eat at.

She took us to Jordan's shop (if you have stayed on the island you know this shop) and we went up 4 flights of stairs to the top where there was a very casual restaurant with only Chinese people there.  She ordered for us and we got cold coke and a fruity beverage (she told us there was no alcohol in it but I beg to differ :) and to eat:  fried chicken, green beans, noodles, rice, and I can't remember what else.  The thing about the chicken is it had tiny little splintered bones in it.  This is when we realized they just smash a whole chicken, cut it up and fry it up, splintered bones and all.  It was good, but just scary to have to eat around the tiny bones.  We had a lot of interesting conversations with Ann about China and the culture while we ate.

We paid Ann about $50 usd for the day and it was worth every penny!  We never could have accomplished all that by ourselves!  (Too bad we didn't get a picture of her, duh!  I guess she was just too fast, no time to think of taking pictures!)

There are a lot of these kind of statues all over the main street on Shamien Island.  We had fun posing with them but most of the pictures didn't turn out.

The only picture we got of Steve the whole day!  Sad.

Not sure what Daisy is foraging for but I'm sure she ate it when she found it!

After that, we played around and took pictures with some of the statues on the street, then it was home to bed!

1 comment:

Angela Maddock said...

I loved the idea about giving Daisy the jewelry and the dresses as she grows up. You should take a picture of her each year in them and put them in a special album. I take a picture of Jesi each year on her birthday in the dress I wore on my wedding day (not my wedding dress but the dress I wore to the temple). It is fun to see how she has grown and someday it will fit her!