Toy Mall

posted Aug 23, 2010, 6:43 PM by Charles Boling

Monday 2010-08-23

Jonathan didn't wake us up until 8:00 – which was really nice since we didn't get to bed until 12:30 last night. We had a leisurely morning, then headed downstairs with the intent of getting him a roll to munch on at 7-11 before his doctor's appointment at 11:00. But, we saw some other families in the lobby from our group and from another group. We ended up staying and chatting with them for a long time. It was almost 11 when we hurried out, grabbed the roll and came back to the lobby to meet our guide. She took all three families (ours, the other from Brush Prairie and the one from D.C.) over to the clinic (just a short walk). We just had to go to officially check the TB test on Jonathan's arm. It was beautiful – no problems with that at all. It took a while to wait in line, but all they had to do was glance at this arm and said “looks great!” and we were on our way. The other two families in our group were the same way.

We then wandered down to Lucy's for brunch. We sat down there and then realized we needed more money. So we walked over to the other hotel on the island here, the White Swan, and used the cash machine. (By far the easiest way to do money here is to just bring a debit card. We didn't bring any cash at all with us; you just use the debit card in the lobby of most hotels and it just spits out whatever you ask for.) Then we went back to the restaurant.

After breakfast we wandered around the island more (ran into Judy and said hi! again – she's the Chinese shop owner we spent 3 hours talking to last night). We were pushing Jonathan in the stroller trying to get him sleepy enough for a nap. It worked great. We walked for about 15 or 20 minutes and he was out. So we came back to the room and let him sleep. Charles worked on the computer while Michele read. Once he got up and he couldn't stand being cooped up any more, we packed up for the afternoon walk. We left about 4:00 and didn't get home until after 7:30.
We wandered around a different part of town. We found a park and an amusement park (didn't go in – just looked) and a HUGE mostly toy – vendor mall. Picture a 4 story building. In it, on the first two floors, are a hundred or so vendors on each floor, each with their little space, crammed together with walk ways just wide enough for two people to pass. The third and fourth floors were the larger toys and nicer, pricier items in stores more similar to an American mall. Wow. That was pretty incredible. We were in there for an hour and a half (a little later on we found another one down the street a little ways, but we had had enough of that and didn't go in). Most of the items were toys. Second most common was jewelry. We bought some little, light weight toys to entertain Jonathan on the trip home. Without knowing his personality, it was difficult to know what to pack from home. But now we know he likes things that he can make do things. Not things that do things by themselves just for him to watch, and not just plain things like blocks. But things that he can turn or twist and they move or light up; or things that he can put together to make things. He also likes coloring, but in that entire mall – and anywhere else we've been for that matter – I haven't seen any crayons or colored pencils!

We wandered around after that and meandered our way home, grabbing food as we went. We've really gotten lucky when it comes to the weather here – we've never been caught in a huge rain storm. Today there was a bit of thunder and wind, but no rain. The forecast all week is a 60% chance of thundershowers with highs in the 90's and lows in the 80's. The temperature is right, but it hasn't rained that much (except for the time in Judy's shop). Our sense of what is hot and not so hot has changed a bit since being here. Now we walk outside and it's in the upper 80's we say “oh, it's not too bad out here!”.

After getting Jonathan finished eating and ready for bed, Michele set out his toys, and much to his disgust, started working on the computer. He complained bitterly for a few minutes, and finally consoled himself by laying his head on her lap. He was actually happy like that for about 15 or 20 minutes as long as every minute or so Michele would reach one hand down and rub his back or head briefly. Then he laid down on the floor and she rubbed his back with her foot. Then he made a noise, she looked over and he patted his bed. So she went over, helped him lay down and get comfortable and covered him up. He was asleep in less than 10 minutes – with no fuss at all! That was sure easy. Michele thinks the transitional part of this is easing up a bit. He might not be quite such a handful in a month or so. We'll see... :-) That allowed us to actually get to bed around 10:00. Unfortunately, he still wakes up (or actually doesn't really wake up) yelling several times a night. He didn't actually wake totally up at all this time – he just yelled at the top of his lungs and then was quiet (twice it startled Michele so much that she sat straight up in bed – once around 11:30 and once around 12:30).

Some interesting things of note. First off, is that the humidity is making Michele's hair curly and frizzy and it's driving her nuts :-/. Not the long part – but any where that is short, just won't behave!

Second, is that we really wish we had brought just half a dozen plastic forks with us! It was one thing in Hong Kong to play around with chopsticks and have it take three times as long to eat. It's another when all you have to pick up slimy spaghetti noodles to feed a starving cranky toddler is two sticks that are slimy themselves and keep slipping out of your hands, it's not fun anymore. At one meal Michele resorted to just picking up the noodles with her hands and putting them in Jonathan's mouth. Not exactly proper etiquette, but while trying to do it “properly” she ended up splashing sauce in his eye :-(. We've since bought a couple of pre-packaged dinners, and they actually came with forks. We've latched on to those and wash and save them like silverware. Just one of those things we never thought of!

I'm am just continually amazed at how hard the Chinese people work here. Their work-ethic is so high. Street peddlers are the norm here and it makes us feel good to buy some bananas from the old man selling them, rather than from a supermarket (not that those even exist here) because you know that the money is going directly to help him and not into some rich manager's pocket.