Archives of Thom

Too Much Fun Too Little Time

Sorry to keep everyone on the edge of their seats but we’ve been going a mile a minute and haven’t had a lot of downtime to reflect. Right now we are in Hengfeng, Jiangxi Province (you can find it by searching on a map for Shangrao, Jiangxi, China) and heading back to Nanchang, the provincial capitol of Jiangxi.

We visited the orphanage (SWI) yesterday and far too many thoughts are bouncing around in each of our heads right now to put them down. We’ve been enjoying lots of good meals – so far our only casualty is Catherine who was brought low by a viral bug yesterday. We don’t think it was the food since we’ve all been eating the same local foods. Some are great and we are trying to figure out how to recreate them, and others well may be an acquired taste.

Unlike our last trip to China we don’t have the built in down-time that having an 11-month baby brings you. On our previous trip we’d take an afternoon nap each day and then be back in the hotel room by 7 or 8 pm each night. On this trip we’ve been out late each evening with little hanging out time – that wasn’t spent catching up on jet lag.
We are taking lots of pictures but uploading them is problematic to say the least. We’ll try to post more later this week. For now here are a few pictures from our time in Beijing.

The big trend right now in Beijing is for both men and women to wear barrettes with plastic sprouts and flowers on them.

The big trend right now in Beijing is for both men and women to wear barrettes with plastic sprouts and flowers on them.

The crowds are a bit overwhelming and what's really scary is this isn't seen as crowded.

The crowds are a bit overwhelming and what’s really scary is this isn’t seen as crowded.

 

Li Li and Poppy out for an early morning walk in the Hutong.

Li Li and Poppy out for an early morning walk in the Hutong.

 

Riding the bus was an adventure to say the least - for only 10 Yuan (about $1. 60) 5 adults and Li Li got to experience a classic part of Beijing life and get shouted out at with equanimity by the three bus staff.

Riding the bus was an adventure to say the least – for only 10 Yuan (about $1. 60) 5 adults and Li Li got to experience a classic part of Beijing life and get shouted out at with equanimity by the three bus staff.

Li Li and Rocky (the class raccoon) outside of the Forbidden City.

Li Li and Rocky (the class raccoon) outside of the Forbidden City.

Quick Update

Between the vagaries of internet access and our jam-packed schedule we haven’t been able to update the blog. But we are having a great time, eating some amazing food (even if we don’t know what it always is) and meeting some very fun people. OUt time in Beijing was too short, as will be our time in Xi’an. We leave tomorrow for Nanchang and visit Li Li’s orphanage (formal name is Social Welfare Institute, abbreviated as SWI) on Thursday and then fly to Chengdu on Saturday. Hopefully we’ll be able to upload some photos and put some of our thoughts and observations down on paper. I’ll leave you with this image showing both the scale and the crowds at the Forbidden City. -t

Forbidden Shadows

We’re Here

The cavernous arrival hall is a bit surreal after the long flight.

The cavernous arrival hall is a bit surreal after the long flight.

After a very long and unusually uncomfortable flight we’ve made it to Beijing. After checking into our hotel in the hutong, we went out for Li’s Li’s favorite food – Dumplings. It might have been 50 feet from our room. The dumplings were tasty and the beer was cold. Pretty much a perfect dinner after a long flight.

Our hotel is very nice – a boutique hotel in the center of one of the hutongs. Very chic. As we were cearing customs, i Li worked her magic once again. After we got off the plane Li Li said “I have to go to the bathroom”. And the only bathroom was on the other side of immigration. After waiting in line about 15 minutes she began to do the leg crossing dance and I went over to a security to ask where the bathroom was, pointing to Li Li and he pulled us out of line and put us in the Chinese National line which had no wait. We quickly cleared the line and the agent let Li Li through before even starting to do mine. I’ve never seen anything like that before – our daughter can charm a nameless immigration official.

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The alley leading to our hotel – The Orchid.

The traffic and smog lived up to their billing – although Beijing drivers would have no problem adapting to Boston roads. I love that discombobulated feeling of being driven in a new country and just gaping at all the new sites and noticing things. For one Beijing has so many electric scooters – they are fast and silent sneaking up on you without any warning. The countdown timers at the intersection just seem to exist to let the driver know that to speed up before the light changes. Public restrooms smell about the same no matter where you are.

Li Li is fascinated by the women making the dumplings at dinner this evening.

Li Li is fascinated by the women making the dumplings at dinner this evening.

Random person on the street English skills have greatly improved, or my Chinese is significantly better. Odds are much, much better on the former.

Finally my normal wired excitement at being in a new place is as present as ever. I went walking for an hour after the Catherine and Li Li went to bed and I’m still wired. Tomorrow we’ll head off and do touristy things – Forbidden City, hutongs, Lama Temple, and dinner of course will be roast duck. Could it be anything else?

That’s all for now although I’ll leave you with one final picture. -t

Li Li and Catherine digging into Ma Po Do Fu - quite good with a robust salty flavor.

Li Li and Catherine digging into Ma Po Do Fu – quite good with a robust salty flavor.

 

 

 

 

Sleeps came easily

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Somebody was super tired on the flight to Chicago. Fastest she’s ever fallen asleep on a plane.

Beautiful day in the air.

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Lan Tian Bai Yun - Blue Skies White Clouds

I’m learning how to use the WordPress mobile app so bear with me. More updates to come.