Tuesday, August 23, 2011

day 9

Day 9 was Summer Palace Day. That's what we declared in our own little world here anyway. We took a taxi to spend the morning/early afternoon there. We went there in 2009 so it wasn't new for us but it was a new change of scenery for us now. It is a gorgeous park with historical buildings and such but yesterday we just wanted to see some grass. We stayed in the park and lake area and enjoyed not having to dodge cars every few feet. We found a spot where Hope could get out of her stroller and run around. Actually, we found a spot with a park bench for us and it happened to have grass nearby. We all won. Hope loved having some freedom to run and play. We loved that she could run without us worrying that she'd crack her head on the concrete. She's had her share of falls so far...Great Wall, hotel ceramic floor, sidewalk, off of chairs at meal time, you pretty much name it, she's fallen on/off it. But grass counts as pillows around here so she fell a ton and all was well.

We attracted a ton of attention at the Summer Palace. Think Angelina/Brad attention. Andy said, "I think this is how celebrities must feel," to which I thought, "No. Celebrities get whisked away to the pretty toilet section here, I'm sure." I had been searching high and low for a decent bathroom to use and couldn't find one. So, for the first time this trip, I used the "squatty potty." My kids have been asking if I've used one yet and I've been happy to say no. Until yesterday. And I won't give details here but I will say that I considered for several minutes peeing behind a tree. That's how utterly disgusting they were. I held my breath for longer than I thought humanly possible and almost fainted. When I finally walked out, I saw Andy standing there smiling and surrounded by several Chinese people who were posing with him for a picture. And I think, "Really? I just had one of worst bathroom experiences ever and you're out here posing for pictures like you're Brad Pitt?" Yes, he was. He's nice like that and wouldn't tell them no.

You see, apparently Chinese people rarely, if ever, see white parents with a Chinese girl. Andy thinks that they thought he was an NBA player. Uh, ya. The Chinese are obsessed with the NBA and Andy did have his Pacer's hat on so maybe so. Uh, double ya. Whatever the reason, we saw our share of stares, glares, snickering, whispering, not-so-whispering, and nudges they all gave us or each other. We get those all everyday while walking around our hotel but at the Summer Palace, it went to a whole new level. The park was at capacity, I'm sure. That's how crowded it was and nearly early every single one of them gawked at us. And then they would try to discreetly take our picture by either standing somewhere near us and acting as if they were taking a photo of themselves but the camera was pointed at us, not them. Or they'd take the more direct approach and grab our arms and motion and point as if to say, "Can we take our picture with you?" Or, best yet, was when we were eating lunch. We were sitting near an open window area overlooking a pathway, a crowded pathway that was filled with people who were looking at us as if we were in a zoo. It felt like we were there on display. And people would whip out their cameras and take photos of us like we were a new baby panda exhibit. So a whole lot of Chinese people will have photos of Andy eating a hot dog and me eating dumplings in their "My trip to Beijing" album.

We were back to our hotel in time to try and have Hope take a nap. She's a strong one and won yet again. No nap, take 3? 4? I've lost count of how many "no nap" days she's had now. We walked to the WuMart again. Exciting stuff. Ate dinner. Oh, dinner with the best Asian noodles I've ever had and a new Chinese dish that is something like an eggroll in the shape of lasagna. "Meat Pie" is what it was called and I'm eating it again before we leave. Walked. Day done.

Click here for pictures from today

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