The week started off lots of fun. Adyn loved playing in the snow and I was extremely entertained watching him (and others) slip and slide on the patches of ice. After 3 days of fun in the snow, we both ended up with colds which was convenient as the hotel was hosting a government conference (with more to come) and was busy and crowded so Adyn and I were happy to hibernate in our room for a few days until it was over. It was also very smoky (not ideal with little ones around).
I have mastered ordering a taxi and getting to and from town. This has enabled us to explore more of Zouping city. Every taxi driver seems to take a different route home so we’ve got to see more of the surrounding area and lots of little villages. Today we drove through a little market (yep through the market). I’ve even grown enough courage to cross the roads (busy ones too) so we no longer have to walk the same block over and over.
We (finally) found a supermarket so we could stock up on snacks and yogurt for Adyn. You name it they sell it!! Feel like fresh frogs?? Yep got them too (still alive and kicking)! They even have apples with love messages branded (not sure if that’s the right word??) into them, You know how they burn names onto cows/cattle? Well, like that, but apples! They look pretty cool but I’m not sure if I’d want to eat them. Finding snacks was a wee bit of a challenge. I can’t read Chinese/Mandarin so I relied purely on pictures and the little bits of English writing (if I was lucky).
Our ERGObaby carrier is our essential on outings now. While Christmas shopping, I had about 5 ladies (sales staff of the shop we were in) arguing on how to ask if I can take Adyn out so they can play with him. We had about 10 of them playing at one point. It was funny when the managers came through the door… all 10 of them scattered away so fast I had to run to catch Adyn before he fell over. Eventually they all returned to play again, this time with cameras to take photos of us. Well, of Adyn, but they did ask me to appear in a few. When I finally got him back in his ERGO they all pulled their cameras out again as they wanted photos of our ERGO and Adyn in it. We got a couple of Chrissy presents, so it was worth the effort.
On Sunday we (meaning Jacob, Adyn and I; Mr Lee (driver), Mr Lees wife and son, Kevin (Jacobs translator) and Peter (a colleague of Jacobs)) all went on a tour of Zhoucun. Zhoucun is a town inside Zibo city. It was interesting exploring old streets and shops, it covers an area of (approx) 17 hectares. We visited the shop where the first Chinese flag was made (many nice silk scarves too). They had lots of displays set up. We also saw some old Chinese shoes and what the women used to do to make their feet stop growing (apparently small feet were a sign of beauty… wonder what they would think of my size 8.5s???). We also got to watch a couple of shows. One was a magician (not sure what the other was… an entertainer maybe). He did a trick where he spun a bowl on a spoon which was spinning on a bigger spoon. Once again Adyn was ambushed by the paparazzi (not real paparazzi, just people insisting on photos with/of Adyn). Our ERGObaby carrier is often requested to feature in these photos too (which is handy when he is already in it). The guide and everyone with us were a little shocked at what we go through when we take Adyn out. It is starting to get annoying, especially when it affects the people we are with. But its not long until we’re lost in the crowd again.
This image was taken to illustrate one of the stories we were told on our tour: The upstairs rooms were for the females of the family. They would throw silk balls out of the window to potential suitors below. The one who caught it would become their betrothed.
We also visited ‘Thousand Buddhist Temple’ which was somewhat disappointing (maybe my expectations were a tad high). We found it somewhat ironic that they leave money on the shrine that you pray to “for” money… maybe that’s why they say you need to give to receive? We didn’t enter any of the buildings, mainly because we didn’t want to offend anyone, but some were also being used for prayer and I’d hate to interrupt them.
On Sunday night we decided to do a bit of late night shopping. It was awesome as it was too dark for anyone to notice we look different. Never thought I’d say this but, I actually miss being ignored when I enter a shop. They literally follow you in shops. Some are trying to sell you things which is good. Others are following so they can get a closer look at Adyn (I usually stop so they can get it out of their system and leave me to shop. Occasionally, it gets annoying and I walk faster and turn him away from them (yep I can be a meanie when I want to).
I can’t believe how the time is flying!! We’re looking forward to Christmas – hopefully a white one. We’ve all got tickets to the Christmas party in the hotel (on Christmas eve) so it will be interesting to see what they put on for us. Hopefully this Sunday we can visit some more ‘must see’ sights before we head off to Hong Kong.