Tuesday, November 2, 2010

People Watching Mecca

We've spent the last several days in Guangzhou, a southern China port city, along the Pearl River. The area of the city where we are staying is a beautiful, peaceful part called Shamain Island. It's connected to the mainland by a bridges and pedestrian walkways. It's development has been heavily influenced by European culture, since it's historically a trade city. The architecture is beautiful, with huge banyan trees everywhere. When you leave the Shamian Island area of Guangzhou, though, it's full-on China again! People, noise, foreign smells, more people, more noise, honking, staring ... we ventured out to a modern local shopping area today, not so much for the shopping but for some serious people watching. You will see it all here! We saw old men in their underwear at the edge of the river, washing their clothes, people doing Tai Chi in the middle of the sidewalk, street after street of vendors selling traditional Chinese medicines, streets of pets of every kind for sale ... We went to Carrefour, a supermarket kind of like Wal-Mart today to get diapers, formula, and chocolate chip cookies (Dex likes them!) Real estate is limited, so new things build up. There were four levels to this supermarket, and you just took your buggy on a flat escalator. Interesting. When we went to the the pedestrian shopping market this evening, we went to a place that sells only jewelry -- a huge building that's six stories tall of jewelry. They ship it out all over the world, so everyone was packaging things up to be shipped all over the world, as well as selling it retail at the counters. Crazy! There were some shops that sell high-quality jade, pearls, and other precious and semi-precious stones, but most of it was just costume jewelry.
Dex is enjoying exploring the city with us in his borrowed stroller. All of the shops here on Shamian Island will lend you strollers to use while you're here, in hopes of getting you to buy more stuff when you bring the stroller back. All adoptive parents have to come to Guangzhou because that's where the U.S. Consulate's office is, and most stay on Shamian Island because it is more Western, many people speak English, and it is very safe and quiet. So, all of the shops nearby capitalize on that by doing laundry (it's near the end of everyone's China journey and clean clothes are limited), lending strollers, and selling baby items. Dex is great at riding in the stroller, which is surprising, considering how much he likes to move! The hotel we're staying in has a playroom for the kids, so we take him down there a couple times of day to let him run. H'e met several new "friends" there, and especially liked playing with a couple of 3-year-old boys tonight. I think he's gonna fit right in at home!

It's nearly home-coming time! We've very much enjoyed our time in China. I'm very glad we got to experience the Chinese culture, learn a little about the language, history, and traditions; however, I will be so glad to be home and back to "normal." We will leave for our flight to Beijing at 5:30 Thursday morning, stay overnight in Beijing, and fly out of Beijing at 8 a.m. Friday. After the longest, most torturous day of our lives, we will be in Ft.Smith at 3 p.m. Friday! Please pray for safe travels for us and for Dex to be manageable on the flights. I can't even imagine what that will be like after the 1 1/2 hour flight from Fuzhou to Guangzhou! I'm thinking Divine Intervention and an overdose of Benedryl are our only two options.


Kathryn said...

Hoping and praying he surprises you on that long flight home! Annabelle did. :) Travel safely and know many are praying for you.

Reba said...

Oh, Mischelle, he is just precious. And what beautiful travel you had! I am so excited for this new part of your journey of life!