Sunday, December 12, 2010

The zoo, the cruise and more

Today started with a rush. We overslept...way overslept. Stef woke up and said, "I think it's a quarter till nine". We were supposed to meet our guide at 10 after eating at the breakfast buffet that also closed at 10. I couldn't believe we slept so late. We never sleep anywhere close to that late. Maggie even tends to get up around 6 or so. I guess we've been running ourselves ragged, and needed to catch up. I admit, last night we were all on edge. Must have been lack of sleep. Advice to those who will make this trip...take a nap once or twice when your kid does. I know, you won't think you need it...neither did we. I'll call for a wake up call tomorrow morning as soon as I'm done with this post.

I didn't take a poll or anything, but I think we all enjoyed the zoo. Like I said last night, there are all sorts of cool things to see and do...I mean, your in China...but you've got a 2.5 year old with you that you adopted a couple days prior. They kind of slow you down. Some places are good places to go with them, some aren't. The zoo is a good place.'s a zoo, and as long as the good animals show up...and by that I mean the elephants, tigers, hippo's, etc...not the goats, birds, gophers or other small've got a good outing. They did for us, and we got to see them close close up it seemed staged...even the tigers got into a roaring contest with each other. I couldn't imagine how intimidating that would be if you heard it on the plains of Africa at night. Pretty cool in a zoo in China though. It is also a place where the kids can run a bit, be loud and generally burn some energy. Maggie seemed to like it too. She really liked looking at the animals...and running, being loud and burning energy...which she has in bucket fulls.

Tonight, we did the Pearl river dinner cruise. This is not a good place for kids to run, be loud and burn energy...unless you want to really irritate the other guests and risk jumping overboard to save a kid who can't swim. Maggie apparently didn't get the memo. Note to families...the cruise really, is pretty...well, pretty. It is pretty, cruising up the river and looking at all the neon lights of the city. For a moment, you forget the smog and haze that seems to settle over China permanently, and all you see are the bright lights cast against the night's black sky. The dinner is slightly below average...I mean, your going to eat it, but it's nothing to write home about...wait...I just did that. Also, it's a buffet for maybe a hundred people, and it's set in a really tiny horseshoe arrangement, and once the food is set, it's a free for all. The locals descend on the food like vultures to a dead horse. I was a bit intimidated...then I felt challenged and I began to nudge a bit thinking my family isn't going to eat...ok, I was really worried about myself. Then everyone gets their food, and guess what...they bring out all sorts of other dishes. Just crazy, in my way of thinking anyway. Almost lost a hand to a little Chinese kid, probably 12 years old...but I showed him who was boss and got my fried rice before he did...hope his dad wasn't watching.

Maggie decided that she needed to stick to desserts, and threw a bit of a fit when we told her that the 3rd trip the the dessert table wasn't necessary. You see, you're in charge of parenting a child who doesn't recognize you as a parent...doesn't understand you...and is in a developmental stage where they are testing boundaries, and maybe even seeing if they can convince us to let her stay with someone a little better and of her choosing. Put that together with a generally rambunctious kid, and you suddenly have a...well, long cruise. She then wanted to run up stairs and down stairs...up the length of the deck, and down the length of the deck. Oh, and she refused to hold my hand on the steps...which were wet and overlooked a inky river. She was going to do it her way, or else....I was patient for a while...but eventually I took away her control. I picked her up and found a quite area on the boat where she could cry...and scream. I felt good...just being honest...I had regained some control. I'd skip the dinner cruise if I did it again.

Maggie is a lot of fun. She seems to be a kid who enjoys life. Sure, she gets sad, really sad. And she gets mad, really mad. But she gets over it pretty quickly, and then she's got that mischievous smile on her face again....she's looking for a good time. She's reaching over the car seat to tickle my shoulder and bursting out laughing when I turn around and make a funny face...she's reaching for her brother to try to start "something"...anything to have some fun. And she's tough...and fearless. I mean, why walk on the sidewalk, when you can walk on the raised edge of the sidewalk. Fall and bump your head...hey, no big deal. Just go a little faster next time.

She plays sweet too, I don't want to make her out too bad. She loves her tea set and play dough. She plays pretend well...she'll roll the play dough into little green dumplings, put them in a cup, swirl them around with her spoon, dish them out and "eats" them for a mid afternoon snack. She'll share too. I've eaten her dumplings, and washed them down with her tea. She thinks it's hilarious. She plays great like this for a long time. I bet she and Corinne will play with Corinne's kitchen in their bedroom a lot.

We're all getting along better and better too. Again...I'm a distant third in the batting order, and probably will be for a while, though I'm making up ground. This morning, she warmed up to me much faster than before. She was reaching out to me and touching me affectionately, and she's not done this before....the hit she tried to deliver later was the yen, to the affectionate touches yang, I guess. I think she realizes she's falling victim to our "spell" and fights back.

A couple quick notes...she sleeps with her pink blanket all the was a great gift. She'll have her TB test read tomorrow, and according to Stef's professional opinion, it's negative. The air here is horrendous. Beijing and Guangzhou have been a little better than Guiyang, but Stef and I have been dealing with bad allergy and sinus problems and we don't usually have those problems that bad. We've done OK at the local pharmacies, but if your inclined to those problems (Eve...we're thinking of your kids) you better come over prepared. Let's see...Stef probably told me to say a few other maybe check this paragraph later because we might add to it.

Oh, and we're putting up a few just takes forever to get them uploaded. The one up now, we posted just so you can see her play. She has so much fun. In the next video...which will be up later...she started looking at a picture book of all of us, and she was explaining to herself, I guess, who all the people in the picture were...she called me Ba Ba, Stef Ma Ma, Graham, Gua Gua, Davis, Gua Gua, and Corinne Je Je (probably mispelled the words, but point is she was saying it correctly). It was really cute, she even said it with a bit of conviction...and we really appreciated hearing it. Stef grabbed the camera, and got her to repeat what she was saying.

Hey, thanks to all who have helped with Corinne and Davis while we're away. It means a lot to us and you all have gone out of your way...we know it, and we are so thankful.


How can I get over this railing?

Everyone loves the elephants

I figured out how to get Graham to look at me...not giving away my secrets

Guess I have to take my own pictures

Even the giraffes stare at us...are we that funny looking?


  1. Brook, Your descriptions of everything are hilarious! Thanks for sharing and I hope you guys feel better soon.

  2. So awesome to talk with you tonight and have a chance to watch Maggie interact with you and see Graham as well. We can hardly wait till Friday to see all of you back home. About 4-5 inches of snow up here on the hill. It was heaviest around Dickson.
    -10 windchill and -8 in Nshville. Temp is about 12.
    Love and Prayers,
    Dad and Mom(Pop and Saucy)

  3. Caught up with the past couple of days tonight---been doing "moving" things. Love reading your post, Brook, your thoughts /comments are so funny and so right on.
    Maggie is just delightful (from where I sit, read, and not having to cope with some of the things you guys are dealing with--love the way Stef. handled the situation in the restaurant. And you on the cruise). Tell Graham that I want to hear all about China and his thoughts when we see you all in a few weeks. Stay safe, healthy, and know you are being prayed for and loved much.
    Aunt M.