Jade Shamrocks

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sunday in Nanchang, Jiangxi

Weather is sunny and muggy here today. We were
supposed to go to a museum this morning, but one guy
(great guy) kept hinting at a park instead of a
museum. Good suggestion. It was a nice Sunday stroll. We get asked to be in pictures a lot, even without the baby
people will stare and talk about us. Sheila
was in someone's wedding pictures this morning.
People are very friendly and like to touch the babies'
faces. The people of China have been very friendly and gracious to us.

Yesterday we went to a 1000 year old village. Sheila's taking 100's of pics – they will tell a better story. It made quite an impression on all of us. Dad, you would have loved it. Mom, not so much. This is likely what the place Lily would have lived in is like. The children in our group of 8 families traveling together are all hardy little country girls raised in foster care out near Fuzhou, in Jiangxi province. The village was very simple. Stone buildings with dirt floors and stone pathways with drainage underneath. There was electricity – as we saw a TV in one home - but clothes are still washed in springs by beating it with a stick and scrubbing it clean. Quite mind blowing as we walked through with our little ones in fancy carriers with cute new outfits and bottles and toys for the one hour bus ride out of the city. (If Sheila’s pictures aren’t in this posting, we’ll add them soon.) We’re very glad to have had this experience. It reminded us of some of the villages we saw in Ireland in the 70’s, but the fields surrounding the village were rice fields not pastures.

What a full trip. I have to say that in my opinion this is pretty advanced parenting for me. We have had Lily for 5 days and have been to meals in restaurants about 7 times, on 3 tours on buses, and have made 20 plus bottles
without a kitchen (but those electronic tea pots are quicker than microwaves.)I'm going to go out on a limb
and say that I would barely have left the house for 5
days if I received her at home - even if she was 9
months old.

Helpful things include: someone else doing my laundry (sewing little paper tags in my underwear is just a cute
bonus), not one dirty dish to wash, two nannies (aunties) in residence, calling people to bring us more clean
towels and ice (and being a hero for tipping them 40 cents). OK, It's a tough call on whether this is the
way to go or not – but I'm feeling the 11+ hour flight might tip the scales. We'll see.

We also had amazing chinese clothes made in Nanchang, Jiangxi. We have met the ultimate entrepreneur – Tiffany. She has a TINY shop just across from the hotel we are in here. The clothes are the kind for celebrations. We kept pinching ourselved if we had any doubts as to whether to get them. They take your measurements, you pick out the fabrics, and in 24 hours they produce the custom made the items. I bought myself a beautiful jacket for future Chinese celebrations for about $40!! The price of a boring work sweater. I had two outfits made for Lily too, for about $28 each.

It's hard to grasp. You find cute shoes and buy them. Then you get back to the hotel and figure out that they are your favorite thing in the world, and they cost about $2.20. Augh!! Wish you bought a dozen!!! They whole world should indeed have our problems!. Then you get a crummy meal in a hotel and realize you paid $50! Augh. So much calculating to do. Same with "no tipping" or negotiating down prices. You stress about it and suddenly realize that you are hot, tired, and standing in China ~ not speaking a word of Chinese, spending time debating a $4 decision like it was your last.

Nanchang has been good to us. Lots of “real” China and Chinese people to experience. We are all now comfortable in stores and have each ridden in a cab, and survived. No small feat. I received Lily's Chinese passport today, so we're all set here. Off to Guangzhou tomorrow to start the process to get us from China back to the US.


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