Back In Time

posted Aug 18, 2010, 7:31 AM by Charles Boling   [ updated Aug 18, 2010, 7:46 AM ]

Wednesday 2010-08-18

Today we were able to do some sight-seeing. After breakfast down in the cafe (and talking to all four older kids on the phone!!!) Helen met us in the lobby and grabbed a taxi for us. She took us a couple of miles away to a historic landmark. The buildings were in a sectioned off block that was dedicated to museums, small shops and old houses. The houses we walked through were from the Ming Dynasty (about 600 years ago). It was interesting. We also walked through a museum of things carved from a special type of very colorful sandstone. It was neat how the artists used the colors in the sandstone to bring out pictures (like a white section would be come a tree and a brown section below it would be a river flowing). We also did a little souvenir shopping. In one of the stores I found a little wooden puzzle for Jonathan (and the other kids when we get home) plus a few other things. The ladies in the store liked Jonathan so much they gave him a little kaleidescope to take home.

By the time we finished it was quite hot out again and we were pretty hot and sweaty. So we headed back to the hotel for Jonathan's nap time. Michele ended up taking a nap too while Charles worked on the computer. In the afternoon later, Michele and Jonathan took another walk outside and found it to be much cooler than expected. A thunderstorm was moving in (first time this trip) and the clouds and wind made the temperature much more bearable. It was only in the upper 80's. Michele and Jonathan came back, grabbed Charles and all went back out got another walk. We enjoyed the cooler weather and not too shortly after getting back the storm hit – with lots of lightening and thunder and a drenching downpour. It was pretty impressive – it didn't last very long though (compared to Washington standards). It rained and then it was done (none of the drizzle we are used to). Dinner was a very expensive Papa John's pizza in the hotel room and then we took another walk – much longer this time – in the evening. Evening is definitely the time to go outside here. It was warm but not too unpleasant (upper 70's, but still very high humidity) and the three of us walked part way around the lake near the hotel. A large part of the lake has a nice boardwalk system around it. So it makes for nice stroll – there were actually a surprising number of people on it in the evening. About 1/3 of the way around the lake from our hotel is a small amusement park. The ferris wheel there lights up in all sorts of fun and bright patterns in the evenings. Out front of the park is a large cobblestone-type area and there Jonathan found a friend. There was another little boy just his size there, with his family, who had a bouncy ball that lit up when it was bounced hard. It took a little while for Jonathan to relax, but eventually he enjoyed running after the ball and bouncing it too. It was hard to drag him away when it was time to go!

It's interesting, the water here is all green. The lakes, the ponds, everything is the same interesting color green. Maybe it's an algae peculiar to China that does this? The water doesn't look like it has algae, and there are NO mosquitoes at all – in fact there doesn't seem to be any type of biting bugs (at least that go after Charles).

Other things of note. Goldfish (or Koi as we think of them) are highly valued and respected here – they are in a lot of the art and stories. Bats are as well. As we were walking on the boardwalk, there were dozens of bats swooping all around, just above people's heads. Noone even seemed to notice. In America the women would have been running screaming...

We got back from our walk a little after 9:00 (the nice thing here in the city is that there are lights everywhere, so it is quite bright for an evening stroll). Jonathan should sleep well (and so should his parents!). It takes quite a bit of energy to keep him occupied here. We are SOOOO looking forward to getting him home (to a bigger house, more toys, more playmates and fewer breakables...).